Review by TheRedneck14
"The kind of Wii game we have been waiting for"
I, like many other Wii owners have been seriously disappointed by the games we have been getting. Instead of a mixture of games made specifically for the Wii to innovate old genres with the Wiimote, and stuff to ease non-gamers into gaming in order to get them to play the tougher stuff, we have been forced to suffer through the last 3 years with crappy minigame compilations, shovelware, lazy PS2 ports, and the few good games that were made by Nintendo and the other companies who were trying to support the Wii and the gamers who owned it. But, thanks to High Voltage Software and SEGA, Hardcore Wii owners finally have something that fulfills the promise of how a classic genre can be innovated and improved with the Wiimote. So, lets light this candle and find out how good The Conduit really is.
The Conduit takes place in the near future, and you play as Michael Ford, a Secret Service agent who is inducted into a secret Government Agency called The Trust after stopping an assassination attempt on President Thompson that was carried out by his own Secret Service agents. Washington D.C. has also been infected with a flu like virus, the Washington Monument was attacked by terrorists, and a Presidential Candidate was assassinated.
The story is told with cutscenes before each of the missions.
When the game starts off, you are sent into Reagan International Airport by Mr. Adams, the leader of The Trust in order to recover a prototype device called the ASE from a terrorist called Prometheus, but when you get there Trust Agents have turned against you, and you have to fight through them in order to recover the ASE on the D.C. Metro. Mr. Ford is then sent to a Bunker Prometheus had taken control of, and has to use the ASE which is a "universal cipher" in order to download all of the information on Prometheus' computers, and he also had to destroy the Neuro-Toxin that was being used to control the minds of the Trust Agents you have fought so far.
But after all of that is done, Mr. Adams betrays you because you have gotten the information that he wanted, and he had no further use for you. Then The Drudge, an insect like alien at the Jefferson Memorial, attacks you. Then you are contacted by Prometheus who is really the good guy, and after you kill all of the Drudge and destroy the portals that they used to get inside the Jefferson Memorial he sends a helicopter to get you out of there.
Prometheus then reveals that he was a member of The Trust who became disillusioned with what they were trying to do and recruited some people from inside the organization to fight against it and steal the ASE. And you agree to help him stop The Trust.
I won't reveal any more, I will say that although the story is a generic Government Conspiracy/Alien Invasion thing that we have all seen before, it is not bad in any way. And, like in Metroid Prime the story gets better if you explore all of the levels instead of blowing through them as fast as you can. You can find Radios where you can hear the Military, Rush Limbaugh parodies, George Noory parodies, hippies who want to befriend the Drudge, and the survivors of the invasion. Listening to these also helps you understand the story better, and knowing about some of the Conspiracy Theories that are mentioned also helps. There are also a few plot twists near the end, and the story did end on an annoying Halo 2 esqe cliffhanger, but that just made me want to play the Sequel even more.
The Conduit seems more like an homage to classic FPS games like Goldeneye and Perfect Dark than some of the newer ones. Most of what you do is run and gun blowing the crap out of Aliens and Trust agents. Most of the levels are corridors, or streets in part of Washinton D.C., and you get to fight in places like the White House, The Pentagon, the Jefferson Memorial, and Trust bases.
Like in Call of Duty games you get through most of the levels by fighting through the Drudge and Trust agents in order to reach the area where they respawn and destroy the portal or egg sacks that the Drudge come from. And there is usually one big battle in each level, or once major objective like saving the Presidents life in the White House level.
You also have to use the ASE to solve puzzles by finding nodes on the wall in some rooms and scanning them in order to open a locked door. And some levels have ghost mines that you need to scan to blow them up or they will explode when you walk into them. The ghost mines are more annoying than the nodes, but only when there are a lot of enemies coming at you while you are trying to scan it, but overall none of these are too much of a hindrance to be annoying.
The weapons are very well done. There are basic human weapons like the MP5, a pistol, the SCAR, and a Shotgun. But the Drudge and the Trust have some cool weapons. Drudge weapons look very organic and they shoot some kind of bio-mass energy. The Strike Rifle was the best weapon they had when I played through the game, it is a semi automatic rifle with a scope that can also be charged up to fire a shot that will disintegrate almost anything it hits. The Trust used more futuristic energy weapons. The weapon they had that I liked the most was the Deatomizer, which is a gun that fires normal rounds like the Strike Rifle, but it can be charged up to fire a couple rounds that will explode and it can be used to kill enemies hidden behind cover.
The enemy AI is pretty good. Sometimes they will just stand out in the open, but they are smart enough to use cover, and they will charge at you if you are reloading, and they will try to gang up on you if there is a big group of enemies, but they will run away if they are alone.
Overall, the singleplayer campaign is very short [5 or 6 hours if you don't try to find everything, not counting the time where you were killed in a level], and it doesn't try to do anything new. But, it is a solid campaign that is fun enough to play.
The Conduit isn't too hard, but on the normal difficulty the enemies put up enough of a fight to keep the game from getting boring. Although a few parts of the game like the ambush at the Jefferson Memorial and the last two levels are pretty tough to beat. And there are 5 difficulty levels, like in most games the highest level will be really tough to get through, and I still have to beat it. But, you are able to beat levels with a one shot kill and endless ammo cheat so if you leave those on it won't be very hard.
Finally, a Wii game that uses the Wiimote the way it was supposed to be used.
The Conduit has fully customizable controls, and you can also adjust the dead zone [where you will turn while moving the Wiimote cursor around], how fast you can move, you can move everything on your HUD around, and you can basically customize the controls as much as you want until you find something that works right for you.
Aiming is easy to do, and you can also lock on to an enemy like you could in Metroid Prime 3 but you still need to be able to hit them. There are also motions for throwing Grenades and Melee attacks that work pretty well.
These are some of the best controls for an FPS I have ever seen, and I hope every Wii FPS will allow you to do customize everything soon. The only way the controls will be bad is if you screw up with the settings [and it you do then you can change them during the game, and you can adjust the dead zone in real time], or if you are too lazy to hold your arm up.
For the Wii, The Conduit looks incredible. And it is nice to see a 3rd party developer put an effort into making a Wii game look good.
The detail of the guns, your hands, the ASE, and all of the soldiers and Aliens you are killing surpasses almost everything on the Wii. Although the environments don't have the same high quality, don't get me wrong they still look good, but the texture quality is not as high as the character models are. The engine that the developers created allowed them to do some pretty advanced particle effects, lighting, and bump mapping that I haven't seen in very many Wii games, and I commend them for that.
The artistic quality of the graphics isn't that high, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing because technically it looks incredible for the Wii. The environments do look dilapidated, and everything looks different enough depending on where you are so I'm happy.
The only thing that looked bad to me was the backdrop for some of the levels, although that was only in places like the Library of Congress or the White House where when you looked out the windows the backdrop was very close to you.
The framerate also stays at 30 frames per second most of the time, and if the framerate does drop it isn't anything too serious.
Overall, The Conduit is one of the best-looking games on the Wii although it does not look as good as Metroid Prime 3 or Super Mario Galaxy. I would consider it to be the 3rd best looking game on the system, and its graphics are slightly above Halo 2, which I thought was the best looking game on the Xbox [besides how long it took the textures to load].
I was very impressed with the audio quality in this game.
It was hyped before the release of this game that Mark Sheppard [Ivan Erwich from season 5 of 24, and Badger from Firefly], his father William Sheppard, and Kevin Sorbo [Hercules] were voicing Mr. Ford, Mr. Adams, and Prometheus. And all of them did a great job with their roles; although I thought that Mr. Ford sounded too raspy sometimes but that's just a minor nitpick. I was impressed the most by Kevin Sorbo's performance during the game. The rest of the voiceovers are pretty good, the stuff that you hear on the radios was well done, and the Drudge sound like they were ripped from Halo but they still sound alien like.
I was also very impressed by the soundtrack for the game. The menu theme was one of the best main menu songs I have ever heard in a video game, and the composers [including Rick Nielson from Cheap Trick] did a great job with the soundtrack.
The rest of the sound effects were pretty good, the noises that come out of the guns sound good, explosions sound like explosions, and everything just fits very well.
This game does a good job at setting up the standard conspiracy atmosphere, and like in Fallout 3 the developers did a good job creating something that looks like a destroyed Washington D.C. [although not to the same degree as it was in Fallout].
Although the singleplayer probably won't keep you playing for a long time, this certainly will.
Basically, there are 7 levels based on levels from the game, and 13 modes [although some are copies of each other] and you can play in the Team Deathmatch, free for all, or Objective game categories. The Deathmatch games pretty simple to understand so I won't go over much of that, and there is a Capture the Flag [with the ASE] mode along with Oddball [again, with the ASE]. Bounty Hunter is the most unique, each player has a target and they can only kill that person to gain points, if they kill anyone else they lose points and it is a pretty fun game to play online. I normally play the Team Deathmatch games online because I prefer games like that.
Connecting to a match is easy; it normally takes a few seconds to connect to a match, although sometimes you have to wait a while for the game to load. You can also join matches while they are in progress. Before a match starts, everyone in the lobby is also able to vote for the gametype [the ones you can vote for depend on the category you are playing on], weapon set, and map that they want to play on and the game plays on whichever one got the most votes. The matches have also generally been very lag free for me, and it seems like the only people who have had lag were the ones who have a crappy connection.
I have had a couple glitches, one of them is where the match starts and I have a black screen with a quarter circle, and I have also spawned outside the map and I could not move around at all in both of those. And the entire game has frozen when I started a multiplayer match and the Wii started buzzing. But, those glitches have been rare for me so far, and I assume that they are just server glitches that will be fixed soon.
Overall, The Conduit is the best multiplayer game on the Wii, although considering some of the lag fests on the Wii that isn't saying much. I just wish that they would have had split screen but that might be in the sequel.
The singleplayer campaign is very short, but there are achievements, you can unlock cheat codes, you can find all of the Data Discs and Conspiracy Messages that are hidden in most of the levels, and of course you have the incredible multiplayer mode that is almost as good as some of the best multiplayer games on the 360. The Conduit will probably wind up being one of the most played games by anyone with a Wii, especially if it is the only console they own.
Great graphics, great soundtrack, decent campaign, best multiplayer on the Wii, finally an effort from a 3rd party Developer, cool weapons, excellent voiceovers, fully customizable controls.
Short campaign, no local multiplayer, minor glitches online, environment graphics not as good as character models, Halo 2 ending.
Should you get it:
Anyone with a Wii, especially if it is the only console they own, should buy a copy of The Conduit.
The Conduit is one of the best games on the Wii, and although the campaign doesn't do anything new, it does it right, and it does it well enough to be fun, the Quantam 3 engine provided some of the best graphics on the Wii, and High Voltage Software will only continue improving it with games like The Grinder, Gladiator A.D., and the inevitable sequel for The Conduit. The controls show how good an FPS on the Wii can really be, and the multiplayer is the best on the Wii. Overall, The Conduit is an excellent game that should restore the faith of the hardcore gamer in what the Wii is capable of. And other Developers should learn from High Voltage Software and take the time to listen to their fans so they can make their games better.
Also, I would just like to say in case anyone is wondering why some of the flaws I had with the game still merited a 9 that I spent a while trying to decide how major some of the problems I had with the game were, and if I should give it an 8 or a 9. But overall, going by a point scale like the one at IGN I decided that The Conduit was closer to a High 8 [8.6/8.9], so I just gave it a 9.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 06/29/09, Updated 07/01/09
Game Release: The Conduit (US, 06/23/09)
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