Review by TheOmegaShen

"While it may have held a lot of promise, this shooter never ascends beyond "Mediocre"."

Back in the summer of 2009, a company that goes by the name of High Voltage Software released The Conduit, a shooter that was meant to show people the true power of the Wii console. It was praised for its great controls and of course, its graphics which were considered amazing for a Wii game. However, things such as the campaign and bland multiplayer were criticized and many players felt it was just an "Okay at best shooter". Little did they know at the time though, High Voltage Software was working on a sequel to this game, determined to fix every single problem. Fan feedback was greatly incorporated into the game this time around and it was definitely shaping up to be the best shooter on the Wii, which is great since the Wii was greatly lacking in good shooters. As the months went by, the fans were anticipating the game greatly, and then...it finally released. So, how good did it turn out to be? Well...lets find out...

Campaign

The weakness of the first game's campaign was one of it's main complaints so how does this game's campaign hold up? Honestly, its the same deal here. While it is a whole lot less linear than the first, you will still be going through one main path throughout each mission, with an occasional secret room. While the first game had you going through Washington D.C., this game has you traveling through several different locations all around the world. This definitely adds more variety and a much better feeling of adventure than the first, but you will soon find that every level plays almost exactly the same. You shoot down some enemies, scan items with the All-seeing-eye(A device that can scan terminals and the like) and it just goes on and on and on. Its fun for awhile but it starts to feel like a chore near the end of the game. The enemy A.I. has been improved a little but its still very lackluster. Enemies will just stand there, begging to be shot sometimes which really takes away some of the challenge in this game. The campaign lasts nearly six hours if you just go through it, but if you try to find all the hidden stuff, it will add a few more hours of gameplay. All in all, the campaign is okay. Nothing to write home about but its worth at least one play-through.

Story

The plot picks up right from where the first ended, which may confuse people who haven't played The Conduit. Mr Ford,(the main character)after entering a Conduit, finds himself in a Trust oil rig off the coast of the Bermuda Triangle. Inside the All-seeing-eye is Prometheus, a alien who uploaded himself into the ASE. He basically gives information to Ford throughout the game and doesn't do much else. After walking through the oil rig for a bit, Ford meets up with the first game's antagonist, John Adams, who leaves Mr. Ford and Prometheus to battle a serpent like creature known as the Leviathan. After battling the Leviathan, it swallows Ford up and he ends up in Atlantis. He is given a new suit of armor from a capsule and awakens Andromeda, a woman who runs Atlantis. She tells them to go around and the progenitors that Adams is coming for them. Mr. Ford ends up traveling to different places around the world to find the progenitors and warn them about Adam and...thats basically it. While you can add more to the story by scanning hidden conspiracy messages, this is the overall basic plot for the game. Kinda lame but it serves its purpose. The characters in this game are very boring. None of them have any interesting characteristics and there is zero character development here.

Oh and I forgot to mention, all the voice actors from the game were changed in this one( Mr Ford. is now voiced by John St. John for example)and well...its pretty bad. Characters will constantly say the most cheesiest things I have ever heard in a video game and its almost unbearable. You do have the option to mute them though, but that makes the cutscenes and stuff even more boring then they already are.

Controls and Customization

A major feature of the original, the fluid and precise controls of the first game are perfectly intact here. You are still free to customize nearly everything about the controls, from the turn speed, even to the size of the deadzones. The customization allows you to find your own perfect control scheme, greatly enhancing the playing experience. You also have the option of using Wii Motion+ but the difference is very small and its not required. You are also free to fully customize the HUD by rearranging all the elements to your liking. The customization was fantastic in the first game and its great to see HVS didn't drop it.

You also have the option to use a Classic Controller as well, but some have had problems with the layout of the buttons. It's still usable, but the Wii Remote is clearly the better option to use when playing this game.

Graphics

Powered by High Voltage Software's Quantum 3 engine, the graphics in this game do a good job of showing what the Wii can do, as well as giving this game its own unique style. Textures are nice and the locations can look great. Character models are nice and animated well enough, although the lip synching leaves a lot to be desired. There are a few spots here and there that aren't as good graphically as the others, but nothing really looks horrible here. A lot of the areas are also very colorful which is great since most shooters nowadays prefer drab, realistic colors. For example, the Atlantis level looks almost breath-taking at times, and the Trust Platform doesn't look too bad either. There is a noticeable drop in texture quality as the game progresses, but the game manages to look good most of the time. The graphics are probably the main highlight of this title, as they really blow away other shooting games available on the Wii.

Weapons

All of the weapons return from the first game and most are slightly improved. You have your standard human firearms as well as various alien and technological weapons. For example, one gun is a living bug that you strap to your arm to fire larva-like bullets. No weapon in this game plays the same, which offers a great deal of variety when you blast your opponents. One of my favorite weapons is the ARC-Eclipse, a gun that allows you to cloak yourself and turn invisible. This may sound cheap but the gun overheats very quickly and the gun itself is rather weak. As far as weapon balance goes, HVS has done a mixed job with this game. It's obvious that some weapons are better than others, while some weapons don't do much of anything.

Multiplayer

The best part of "The Conduit" also returns, but it's pretty disappointing. While there are many game modes to choose from and various options, the multiplayer never goes beyond "decent". You have your standard Team Death-match and Free for All modes, as well as the unique ASE Ball and Bounty Modes. The former requires that you hold the ASE as long as you can, and the latter assigns you a specific target to kill. Killing people that aren't your target will penalize you, but killing someone that is after you won't affect you at all. While some of the modes can be fun, most of them aren't very interesting. In addition to the standard lock-on modes, this game includes playlists that disable lock-on. These playlists also remove the radar and the player count is reduced to 8 players(6 if you are playing the Hardcore FFA playlist). A feature that is new in Conduit 2's multiplayer is the ability to create custom load-outs. While this may seem like an improvement from the first game, being able to carry around a SMAW and Phase Rifle whenever you want can be pretty cheap. Achievements were added to the game, awarding you for accomplishing specific tasks. Character customization was added, allowing you to create the soldier or alien of your choice. You can also buy weapons, perks(Which give you certain enhancements when equipped), and armor parts from the in-game store, using credits that you earn from playing the campaign or participating in online bouts. Friend codes return, but you also have the option to flag opponents in lobbies and add them to your "Rivals List". Rivals are the same as friends, who can enter Custom lobbies that you set up. In custom matches, you're allowed to tweak several things, such as the gravity and running speed. You can even assign a specific load-out that everyone has to use. Custom matches also seem to run much smoother than the lag fest of Big Team Grab Bag. Oh, and speaking of lag...it's horrible. Players will teleport across the map and sometimes you will be firing at them and they won't take damage until a few minutes later. I guess High Voltage Software was too busy patching out the multitude of bugs to even consider improving the net-code. And yeah, this game is really buggy. This is very disappointing too, because this game would be a lot better if the bugs and lag problems were ironed out.

Overall


In conclusion, Conduit 2 is an upgrade over the original, but it pales in comparison to other shooters available on the Wii. The bad net-code and multitude of glitches hold the multiplayer back from being enjoyable, and the mediocre campaign won't turn any heads. Still, I want to think that HVS will learn from this game and improve on certain things in a sequel. I anticipate seeing what they can do on a next-gen system, even though I expect the results to be mixed. I like HVS as a company, because I think that they consider fan feed-back more compared to other companies. The chances of them improving in the next game seem fairly high, and I hope they try their best. I guess the only thing we can do at this point is wait and see what they have in store for us...


Reviewer's Score: 5/10 | Originally Posted: 06/29/12, Updated 05/22/13

Game Release: Conduit 2 (US, 04/19/11)


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