Conduit 2 Review

Game Review: Conduit 2
Release: April 19, 2011
Genre: First Person Shooter
Developer: High Voltage Software / Sega
Available Platforms: Wii
Players: 1-4 Split Screen / 2-12 Online
MSRP: $49.95 US
ESRB Rating: T for Teen

First person shooters and the Wii are strange, and infrequent bed-fellows – and when this formula has been tried in the past, it has been disappointing and far short of hardcore gamer expectations.  While I typically would stick to other consoles for shooters, this game stands apart on the Wii – especially considering the hardware limitations.  There are probably few hardcore gamers out there with only a Wii at their disposal, but this game may be a good enough reason to blow the dust off and put some fresh batteries in the Wii-mote.

Our story takes up where the first game leaves off, although knowledge of the first game is not needed.  As Michael Ford, we pursue John Adams through a portal-like gateway (or Conduit) in an attempt to stop a plot involving aliens wanting to take over the Earth.  Our faithful companion, Prometheus, an alien consciousness that resides in a talking sphere, is also along for the journey to assist with hacking locks and translating alien graffiti scrawled on the walls.  The storyline is kept loose and light, with some toned down Duke Nukem style one-liners sprinkled throughout.  There’s just enough plot to let you know what to do and where to go, but not so immersive as to make you learn the economy and social structure of a dozen alien races.  It’s a shooter.  It something moves, shoot it.  Enough said.

The graphics are top notch when compared to everything else I’ve seen on the Wii.  Game play is smooth and the load times are very short – making death quick to recover from.  Level design feels just right with checkpoints all placed appropriately, even though there is some repetition.  Even the NPCs comment about the architecture being inspired by levels in a video game.

The single player storyline provides around eight hours of game play, give or take, with replay value fairly low.  The multiplayer online is simply dismal unless you have up to twelve friends with the game – and your friend code.  The local multiplayer is a refreshing couch sharing experience with up to four players in split-screen which makes up for the lack of online community.

The enemy AI in Conduit 2 is not going to win any awards.  The movements feel scripted rather than reactive much of the time, removing all elements of surprise during a second run through from any checkpoint.

The controls are awkward but interesting.  The game requires players to use a nunchuck attachment – using the joystick for movement control (forward, backward, strafe left and right).  Aiming and turning are both done with the Wii-mote by pointing at the screen – and this is where it gets wonky.  There is a “dead zone” in the center of the screen where the controller is used for aiming, but pointing outside of the “dead zone” causes your view to turn up, down, left or right.  With some fine tuning, I was able to find my sweet spot and feel somewhat in control, but it still felt clumsy and slowed me down considerably.  The Nintendo Classic Controller is supported and may be the best way for gamers from other platforms to experience Conduit 2.  MotionPlus is also supported and helped stabilize the controls noticeably.

Conduit 2 is a leap forward for hardcore gamers on the Wii and with the classic controller support, it appears that High Voltage Software is trying to accommodate the fence-jumpers who normally play on other consoles.  Even with the motion controls, the game is a fun run-and-gun experience once the controls are tweaked.

  • Above Average Graphics
  • Four-way Split Screen Multiplayer
  • Classic Controller Support
  • Awkward Motion Controls
  • Slow and Predictable Enemy AI

Final Score: 7 out of 10

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