Posted 2 years ago By EastonAssass1n - Luke Brown
The Wii should be the perfect console for first-person shooters. But for whatever reason, the genre just hasn’t taken off on Nintendo’s home platform like I thought it would. Although, that small detail hasn’t stopped developer High Voltage from releasing a sequel to their 2009 title, The Conduit. Though the first game was only mildly received, the cliffhanger ending made it appear as if a sequel was definitely coming. Despite being delayed, Conduit 2 (they dropped the “The” for some reason) has finally arrived, and it has been well worth the wait. Well, that is, as long as you’ve been waiting for a mediocre game with lackluster graphics, a convoluted plot, and only one redeeming quality. If that’s what you’ve been anticipating from Conduit 2, then you’re in luck. If you’re like me however, and you were hoping for a game that finally showcases the possibilities for shooters on the Wii, then you will be very, very sad...
Picking up immediately after the conclusion of the first game, Conduit 2 continues the story of Michael Ford and his battle against the Drudge. Though all the major players remain the same, gone is the super-serious tone from before. In its place is a campy, 80s action movie plot; complete with over-the-top dialogue and action set pieces that are more compelling than anything the narrative presents. That’s not saying much though, as the only thing the narrative presents is a convoluted mess of plot points involving a dying race of aliens, thousand-year-old grudges, and one of the most absurd endings you’ll ever see. It’s clear High Voltage was trying to address some of the issues the first title had with its story, but they overcompensate greatly and the game feels like a PG-13 Duke Nukem. I by no means mean that in a good way. One of Sega’s other shooters to appear on the Wii, House of the Dead: Overkill, had a bit of success with its B-movie vibe, but Conduit 2 refuses to commit all the way. The narrative is caught somewhere between a SyFy original movie and a Roger Corman “classic”. And as such, it is a drastic departure from what came before that it’s hard to believe The Conduit and Conduit 2 are the same franchise.
Fortunately for the plot - but unfortunately for gamers - what’s transpiring within the cutscenes is nowhere near as awful as what’s happening while you’re in control. To be fair, Conduit 2 controls very well. It did take me a bit of adjusting to get used to playing with the highly sensitive Motion Plus option, but once I settled in, I could immediately see why so many PC first-person-shooter players enjoy the accuracy and speed of a mouse. I’m still more comfortable with an actual controller in my hand, but trying to play Conduit 2 with the Classic Controller was like trying to swim through a lake of molasses. Sluggish, unresponsive, and inaccurate are words that come to mind. I suppose it is nice the option is there, but you’re honestly better off using the standard Wii controller or one equipped with Motion Plus.
While the level design has been greatly improved from its predecessor, the enemy intelligence is comically bad. Sure, High Voltage has added the ability for the computer, and you, to kick over a table or soda machine to provide instant indestructible cover. However, when the guys you’re shooting at continually follow the same ducking in and out of cover pattern until you kill them, it’s a bit distracting. I kind of felt bad for the AI controlled foes. Forever stuck in some eternal dance of the damned, squatting and standing in some strange synchronicity that can only be heard in ones and zeroes, they tried to stop me from completing my objectives. I saw myself more as their savior; ending lives out of mercy, rather than vengeance. Even worse are the soldiers in heavy armor that cannot wait to have their lives ended. Rather than following the dubious routine of their less-armored brethren, these giant oafs come at you straight on, hoping for the torture to stop once your bullet passes through their minuscule brains. It’s impressive how terrible the AI is in Conduit 2. There have been so many advances in first-person shooters over these past few years, it’s hard to believe any developer would want to take a step back.
Even though Conduit 2 has more than a few failings in the single-player campaign, the multiplayer is surprisingly good. Up to 12 people can play together online, and you also have the option for four people to play locally via split-screen. There’s a nice variety in game modes (including CTF, deathmatch, annex, and more), and the game automatically cycles through the various match types when you’re in an online lobby. Where the multiplayer really shines, though, is through its customization options. Whether you’re playing the story mode or online, you always have the ability to earn in-game currency with which to purchase new armor, character models, weapons, and perks. The Wii doesn’t have achievements or trophies, but that doesn’t mean developers can’t include their own in any given game. Getting a requisite amount of headshots or completing a chapter of the story, amongst other things, will earn you some credits to use in the multiplayer store. You can also hunt down Conspiracy Objects in the campaign, which will also earn you a decent amount of creds, though it should be noted that this particular aspect of the game is incredibly tedious. There’s a nice leveling system in place, though the match-making is essentially worthless as you’ll be thrown together with whoever else is playing online regardless of rank. Nothing ruins a night of multiplayer more than getting thrown into a match with a bunch of high level players with better armor, perks, and weapons. I don’t know whether that’s an issue with the online community on the Wii or with High Voltage’s match-making system, but the flaw is present regardless of who is at fault.
No matter which mode of the game you’re playing, the weakest aspect is definitely the presentation. Even though the art direction is actually pretty good, the execution of those ideas are lacking. The futuristic tech and alien weaponry all look fantastic, and have a very unique look and feel to them. Unfortunately, character animations and bland looking locales keep the game from feeling more than a bit generic. There’s really is a nice bit of level design at work, with many levels having multiple paths to traverse. Sadly, it doesn’t matter how many corridors you cover with garbage, as they’re still covered in garbage. The other humanoid characters you interact with have really terrible lip syncing and the voice work is so over the top it hurts. Conduit 2 was delayed a bit, so why they didn’t spend a bit more time on ADR is beyond me. When some characters are talking, it’s almost like you’re watching a bad anime dub from the 70s. I’m curious about what High Voltage spent their time doing between the game’s initial release date in February, and when it finally shipped in April, because it sure doesn’t feel like they spent any time polishing it for release.
Despite improving over some aspects of the first game, Conduit 2 feels strangely like a first effort. The rough AI, the bizarre and laughable story, and the lack of graphical polish give the impression that this was the first time High Voltage worked on the series. Though Conduit 2 has arguably the best console controls for a FPS, and the game features plenty of multiplayer options, the title’s negative aspects end up dragging it down. There are plenty of other shooters on the Wii that provide a more entertaining experience, and honestly that’s a shame. Conduit 2 had an opportunity to set a new bar for what High Voltage could do, but the developer fall short of creating a memorable title. If you’re absolutely dying to play a multiplayer shooter on the Wii, Conduit 2 will serve you just fine. Those of you hoping for something more substantial should look elsewhere.
+ Large, multi-path levels
+ Deep and varied multiplayer
- Terrible enemy AI
- Graphics are unimpressive and full of glitches
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Release Date : 2011/04/19
System : Nintendo Wii
Publisher : SEGA
Developer : High Voltage Software
Category : Action
ESRB : M
7.0 / 10
8.5 / 10
8.0 / 10
8.7 / 10