Joseph Rositano
27 Aug, 2009

The Conduit Review

Wii Review | The definitive Wii shooter?
The Conduit has had an incredible amount of hype to live up to. From its initial unveiling right up to the days before its release, developer High Voltage Software has promised Wii owners the game would define the FPS genre on the console. And to their credit, High Voltage has half-met that promise. The Conduit is easily comparable to Metroid Prime 3 with its control scheme and customisation options, but at its core the game is nothing more than a generic shooter.

The game has a typical B-grade Sci-Fi plot. Players assume the role of Michael Ford, a Secret Service agent who is renowned for once saving the President’s life. One day Ford is contacted by John Adams, the leader of a shadow organisation known as The Trust, and is assigned to retrieve a stolen artefact called the ASE (All Seeing Eye). What seemed like a routine mission, however, quickly becomes more problematic as Ford discovers aliens are invading Washington D.C. Players must now put a stop to the threat as well as discover the truth behind John Adams and his ties with the alien invaders. The single-player campaign is relatively short and won’t take more than six to seven hours to complete, but the developers have kept things interesting by having frequent conversations between Ford and his superiors. In addition, players can listen to radio and television broadcasts to see how the outside world is viewing the events.

We see Barack Obama has been renovating the White House.

We see Barack Obama has been renovating the White House.
The principles of the game are fairly standard. Levels consist of multiple rooms and your main objective is to secure your location by killing all the bad guys. Enemies range from human agents who are working with the aliens, to various alien grunts and foot-soldiers. The main difference between the enemies is the type of weaponry they use. Humans typically use machine guns while the aliens have strange energy-based organic-like weapons. At any one time Ford can hold two weapons and swap between them, and because almost every enemy you kill drops their weapon, you won’t have to worry about running out of ammo. You’ll also have access to a number of different grenades ranging from flash grenades which stun enemies, the usual frag grenades which bounce and explode after a few seconds, and even an atomic variant which explodes and leaves a small atomic blob that damages anything near it.

For the most part The Conduit is nothing more than a run and gun shooter, but the developers have tried to add a little more depth to the gameplay via the ASE artefact. The artefact acts as an interactivity tool that lets players activate switches, uncover secret messages, collect pick-ups, solve puzzles and detonate ‘ghost bombs’. Unfortunately, the device isn’t integrated into the game as well as it could have been. Firstly, when the ASE is activated you don’t have access to your weaponry which leaves you vulnerable. Also, generally speaking there’s little reason for you to take out the ASE on your own free will. With the exception of collectible items, the game always prompts you when something nearby needs to be activated by the device. Its been integrated this way to keep the gameplay moving at a fast pace, but in the end it just makes the ASE feel like a cheap gimmick that quickly loses its appeal.

There are a few more things going for the single-player campaign that will directly appeal to the completionists out there. Some of the levels contain collectibles in the form of data disks, and by finding them all you’ll unlock concept art galleries. High Voltage has also integrated an achievement system, though the achievements mainly involve shooting 'x' amount of enemies with each weapon or finding all the data disks in a level. In other words, it’s all standard flair and unimaginative.

The spotlight's on you.

The spotlight's on you.
The one area where The Conduit truly shines is its control scheme. By default, players control their movements with the control stick and aim their crosshair by pointing the Wii remote at the screen. Grenades are thrown by gently shaking the Nunchuck, while the Z button lets you lock on to an enemy. The B button on the Wii remote is used to fire, the A button is used to jump, the D-pad lets you switch between weapons, the Minus button lets you reload, and the Plus button lets you take out the ASE. It takes a little getting used to at first, but after an hour or so it feels completely natural and suits the game perfectly. What High Voltage should be praised for the most though is the variety of customisation options available to players. You can change everything from the mapping of buttons to the sensitivity of the Wii remote. This is exactly what more developers need to do, and it also ensures the player enjoys the game to its full potential.

The Conduit also features an impressive amount of online multiplayer modes that support up to 12 players. The modes are generally different variations of team and solo death matches, though there are a few more unique experiences on offer. One example is Bounty Hunter which sees you score points by killing your designated target or anyone who’s hunting you. There’s also ASE Football where all the players fight for control over a single ASE unit, with the player who holds it for the longest period of time at the end of the match being the winner. During our experience the online play was very enjoyable, though it got a little boring with extended play sessions. Still, there’s certainly not a lot of online games available for the Wii, so it will directly appeal to anyone who hasn’t/doesn’t regularly play Halo 3 or Killzone 2 on other platforms.

Another feature the developers boasted quite regularly during development was the game’s graphics. While it certainly puts the Wii hardware to good use, if you were to compare The Conduit to the likes of Metroid and Super Mario Galaxy it clearly doesn’t standout. The soundtrack features average rock tunes/guitar riffs that won’t be winning any fans, but it does get the job done and suits the style of the game. Voice acting is also very solid and suits the personalities of each character.

Play him off, keyboard cat.

Play him off, keyboard cat.
At the end of the day, High Voltage Software only half-met their promise at defining the FPS genre for the Wii. The developer nailed the control scheme by giving players the ability to change button mappings and the sensitivity of the Wii remote. Sadly, when it came down to gameplay, The Conduit is nothing but an average run and gun shooter with a few cheap gimmicks that try to make it look like more than it really is. The online multiplayer modes are a nice touch, but if you already regularly play online shooters on other systems, it will seem rather redundant.
The Score
Although it sets a new standard by giving players the ability to change Wii remote sensitivity and button mapping, at the end of the day The Conduit is an average run and gun shooter.
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

Related The Conduit Content

Check out The Conduit's multiplayer mode
09 May, 2009 More images surface.
More The Conduit screens
16 Apr, 2009 This time showcasing the multiplayer feature.
The Conduit swings into view
15 Apr, 2009 Shaping up quite nicely by the look of things.
4 years ago
2 words: Blind spot. That really killed the game for me. Impart from that it was pretty fun. Multiplayers cool.
4 years ago
To be fair, it probably DOES define the FPS genre on Wii: Weak. Hardcore FPS nuts will never look to the Wii for their games, so The Conduit probably does a good enough job to cater to more casual FPS players that don't have a PS3/360/decent PC. Seeing as the genre is so tiny on Wii, this will probably sell decently well.
4 years ago
FPS games suck balls on the 360/PS3 compared to PC and Wii (when done right on this one, i.e. The Conduit). I thought that was pretty bloody obvious by now?

Sure you can rabbit on about Conduit being "generic" but I've yet to play a 360 FPS that isn't generic (except Condemned, but I'm skeptical about calling in a FPS).
4 years ago
I've read some pretty bad reviews about this game. Zero Punctuation had it spot on, for a Wii game its alright (mainly because of the lack of FPSers on the system), but compared to its rivals (PS3, 360, PC), it pales in comparison.
4 years ago
It may appeal to the folks on the Wii that want a FPS.

Fairly obvious that the hardcore amongst us isn't going to be electrified by this but every console needs fps genres. The Wii is "plagued" by very generic family oriented games. Maybe Dad would like this for Father's day (not this one though icon_wink.gif).
4 years ago
Sin Ogaris wrote
FPS games suck balls on the 360/PS3 compared to PC and Wii (when done right on this one, i.e. The Conduit). I thought that was pretty bloody obvious by now?
4 years ago
Sorry, but it's true, I've played a lot of games both on 360 and then their PC counterparts, PC wins hands down. CoD:WaW on Wii plays beautifully also, whereas I found CoD4 on 360 (granted, haven't played 360 WaW) to be quite sluggish in comparison.
4 years ago
Sin Ogaris wrote
FPS games suck balls on the 360/PS3 compared to PC and Wii (when done right on this one, i.e. The Conduit). I thought that was pretty bloody obvious by now?

Sure you can rabbit on about Conduit being "generic" but I've yet to play a 360 FPS that isn't generic (except Condemned, but I'm skeptical about calling in a FPS).
You should totally play The Darkness sometime.
4 years ago
I have and it was really good, though I stopped playing it halfway through for God only knows what reason. Very adventurey moreso than just shooting.
4 years ago
i almost quit The Darkness halfway through too. it was a great game, but the backtracking you had to do was ridiculous.
it would've fared MUCH better, imo, if they got rid of the illusion of an open-world, and just made it a regular linear, corridor shooter.
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  Pre-order or buy:
    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Australian Release Date:
  16/07/2009 (Confirmed)
Standard Retail Price:
  $79.95 AU
  SEGA Australia
Year Made:

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