Review by FelixFelicis
"Despite obvious flaws, The Conduit is a good buy for Wii fans."
This is a game Wii fans have been waiting for, it being one of the few shooters available, and one of the very few worth buying. It was our one chance to stand up against the numerous titles for other consoles, but is it really as good as we thought it would be? That depends on how you weight the pros and the cons. There are plenty of both. I'll dive right into the review.
This has been one of the driving features for the promotion of the game. It's reputed graphics were said to rival that of Nintendo's competitors. Well, looking at them now, they're not quite as good as expected, but still impressive. Some of the textures seem to be a little sloppy whereas others are very detailed. The enemies,weapons, and environments all look stunning, and I guess those are the most important parts. The gameplay is so intense, you won't really notice the subtle lows of the graphics.
Very well done. The music becomes a very important part of The Conduit, with a musical range form upbeat techno fight music to more mellow, sophisticated tunes. The composers have done well here. The sound effects seem a little recycled, but most are unique and effective, especially those of the weaponry. But let's keep in mind that this isn't exactly the game-changing part of the review...
Arguably the most encompassing part of any game. The level design is interestingly original, including layouts of famous American monuments, intricate tunnels through ruined cities, and secret research labs. Although there aren't nearly as many missions as I would've liked, The Conduit does not disappoint. Enemy design is also a big success here. Although the creatures you face do seem a little too similar to the aliens from, say, Halo, the experience remains entirely new. My favorites have to be the recklessly funny Medi-Mites, and the ominous (and invisible) Storm Scarabs. Unfortunately, there don't seem to be enough enemies to help keep the game from growing repetitive. Also worth mentioning is the game's overdependancy on enemy spawners. It seems that half of everything you shoot is an egg sac or portal that keeps sending the aliens your way. The weaponry of The Conduit is very fun, and very new. They might also remind you of other sci-fi shooters, but rest assured, this is top-of-the-line weapon design. You have the simple and efficient human arsenal, the brutally effective Drudge alien weaponry, and the high-tech arsenal of the secretive Trust. They all look, sound, and feel good.
This is where the single-player suffers. There is little or no plot here. There's more than in Left 4 Dead, for example, but not enough to satisfy your average futuristic FPS fan. I hopefully won't give too much away here. Well, there are very few characters in the game, and although you communicate with them via radio, there is little or no emotion, and no cinematics at all. That's not to say the acting was bad, because it wasn't, but the makers obviously weren't focusing on the plot here. The ending is also quite sudden, but at least it sets up a sequel. The saving grace of this game is that the premise is very unique and very interesting. It's unique in that rarely are government conspiracies and invading aliens involved in any way. The concepts in play here are factual in many cases, and through hidden messages and radio broadcasts, you can learn about several hidden subtleties in the overall plot of The Conduit. still, there is much to be desired.
Another iffy one. Regarding, controls, I think we're all happy. They are perfect, even without worrying about customization. Very easy to use, very fun to pull of headshots with. But when you look more at the actual mission structure and overall game mechanics, there's a lot to think about. First, the game is very much a run-and-gun arcade-style shooter. You go right from one level to the next, interrupted only by a couple minutes of briefing. The action is intense, no doubt, but features such as the All-Seeing Eye are not at all as innovative as we were led to believe. Also noticeable is the lack of extras and unlockables in the game. There are a couple fun cheats to exploit, and a list of "achievements" for bragging rights, but that's about it. All this in mind, the gameplay still serves as very fun and drawing, despite some flaws. Replayability is questionable.
Now, we all know that Nintendo's Wi-fi connections aren't exactly perfect, but this game takes it to a new low. Multiplayer is fun, when it works, but rarely does it work without some glitch or bad lag. Multiplayer is quite conventional on the surface, offering a selection of modes, maps and weapon sets, as well as a basic ranking system and character customizing system. But the trouble begins as soon as you see "Looking for available match". You usually manage to find one, but the waiting times are almost unreasonable. All this aside, there are other things to deal with, once in the game. Lag isn't all that bad at most times, but certain glitches like appearing stuck in a wall, and taking 40 seconds to respawn instead of the usual 5, can be subtracting from the experience. In any case, sometimes the bad connection is worth it for the intense and addictive fighting you'll encounter. Multiplayer is still very fun, especially with the original maps and weapons available to you. And nothing is as satisfying as the skull symbol on your screen combined with the joy of a melee kill.
Although things like story seem to be missing entirely, the game itself is very impressive, boasting wonderful graphics and overall design. Multiplayer may or may not be frustrating for you, but in any case, the game is original and innovative, and above all, wonderfully fun. I can't imagine playing The Conduit years afterward, but it is certainly worth a buy if you're a Wii gamer looking for a good shooter. But if you've already got another console with some good titles, take a closer look at some videos before you decide.
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 07/15/09
Game Release: The Conduit (US, 06/23/09)
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