The Conduit Review
The Conduit box art
System: Wii Review Rating Legend
Dev: High Voltage Software 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: SEGA 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Jun. 23, 2009 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-12 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Teen 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

If you’re a Wii owner like myself, you likely have a fair amount of dust amassing on top of your little white wonder. When the console was first launched, the idea of motion controls seemed so promising, especially for genres such as first-person shooters (FPS) that could take full advantage of the pinpoint accuracy provided by the sensor bar. Unfortunately, in reality the potential for the Wii’s motion controls to revolutionize how we play games has still gone largely untapped in most of the console’s third-party FPSs. Anybody remember Far Cry Vengeance or Red Steel fondly? Nope, didn’t think so.

The Conduit screenshot

Now there are likely some exceptions to this reality, but for the most part, if you’ve wanted a quality FPS title that made respectable use of Wii’s motion controls, you’ve had to exclusively rely on the Metroid Prime series. This is partially what has spawned the massive hype tornado that has been following The Conduit, sucking up every Wii owner looking for a decent FPS on the system that isn’t Metroid-based or on rails since it was shown at E3 2008. It is a game that has been built from scratch with the Wii in mind by High Voltage Software that looks to take advantage of the console’s strengths and prove that third-parties really can make a good FPS on the Wii. Did they succeed in the way that most Wii owners were hoping for? Not entirely, but in many ways, yes they did.

With controls being so crucial to the overall enjoyment of most Wii games, I’m pretty happy with how The Conduit handles itself. While the default controls frustrated me quite a bit for reasons I’ll get to in a second, nothing is set in stone. Instead, High Voltage took the “if you don’t like it this way, then figure it out for yourself” approach and it works for the most part. The biggest problem is that the Wii-mote and Nunchuk don’t have enough easily reachable buttons between them to ensure you won’t need to waggle one or the other for something important. The default controls place grenade tosses as a Nunchuk waggle and melee attacks as a Wii-mote one. Tell me, how are you supposed to perform a melee attack when you need to be able to see and precisely shoot enemies? The answer is poorly, as you’ll wind up disoriented and pointed every which way by the time it actually registers, resulting in many needless deaths.

The Conduit screenshot

However, like I said, everything can be tweaked to varying degrees, so you can try to account for some of these issues. Players can move heavily used abilities such as melee attacks and grenades to buttons and replace them with less critical things such as pausing the game or switching between different grenade types, although you’ll still probably have to make some long reaches to the one and two buttons and D-pad directions for some stuff. Getting more intricate, players can also adjust their bounding box, walking speed, control sensitivity, waggle sensitivity, and just about anything else you can think of. Perhaps the best part of this is how some of these are presented. When making adjustments to how quickly your character will turn during the game, you do so with your character still moving around, allowing you to tweak it until it feels just right without having to go in and out of menus.

Graphics that verged on Xbox 360 and PS3 levels were also supposed to be a major selling point of The Conduit, but the visuals are somewhat of a mixed bag. There are definitely certain things in the game that will leave you questioning which console you’re playing, but far too many that will instantly remind you. Things like the All Seeing Eye, your weapons, your hands, cinematics, lighting effects, and water all look phenomenal. However, the environments you make your way through are mostly generic-looking and are comprised of blurry and bland textures, you’ll see the same few enemies and death animations the whole way through, and sometimes the blur effect utilized when reloading or zoomed in with a weapon is overly drastic. Still, the bright spots are definitely well done, though, and really leave me wanting to see more upcoming Wii titles making use of the impressive Quantum3 engine used in the game.

The Conduit screenshot

Screenshots / Images
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