Review by Reaper115
Let me just say that I am a HUGE FPS fan. I was also born a Nintendo child. All of the systems I have ever owned have been Nintendo systems, and this did not go well with being a FPS obsessed dude. For years, I have had to watch FPS masterpieces pass by the Nintendo 64, Gamecube, etc. with the occasional exception like 007: Goldfinger or Metroid Prime. While these games where certainly enjoyable, they could never come close to measuring up to the Half-Lifes or Halos that graced other home counsels.
then I saw a short preview article of the Conduit in my monthly Nintendo Power. I almost had a heart attack, I was so excited. The Wii will finally be able to live up to its potential and deliver us something that was truly special. That plus the deliberate Halo-like story was a dream come true for one such as me.
I followed the development for months, and when it finally hit stores, I was first in line. I unknowingly bought the "special edition" at my local Gamestop as well, which was a pleasant surprise. This is the version that I will be reviewing... the version that broke my heart (and not in a good way)
the first thing I noticed as I opened up the menu was the music. THIS got me excited. It was fantastic, and made me think of a certain high-octane shooting masterpiece on another system. Unfortunately, the main menu music is the extent of the fantasticness. As the game progressed, my enjoyment over the music decreased drastically as my ears were assaulted by forgettable and generic tunes that did little to add to the atmosphere of a war-torn Washington DC. For me, the atmosphere of a game is influenced almost exclusively by the soundtrack, not by lighting effects, so this was a huge let down for me and my excitement quickly ebbed.
The only reason that this category gets a 5 and not a 2 were the radio broadcasts that could be found throughout the game. These mark the only real attempt at voice acting, and actually help add to the mood of desperate hopelessness this game tries to strike in the hearts of its players. This does not save the category from the other voice actors, however.
Mr. Ford, the main character, is the worst. He sounds bored in almost every mission briefing, even when he is supposed to be pissed off at the underhanded trickery constantly orbiting him throughout the game. Mr. Adams sounds like your typical and generic bad guy, making him sound just as boring as Mr. Ford acts. Prometheus completes the triangle of mediocrity. Yes, it is only a triangle. These three are the only main characters IN THE ENTIRE GAME.
Other characters, thankfully, sound better. the yells of soldiers sounds incredibly realistic, and the Drudge sound genuinely other-worldly and frightening with their battle cries and yells. These sound bits get repetitious VERY fast, however.
All of this plus the clatter of guns that all sound the same and Ford grunting EVERY time you jump make for one mediocre sound show.
I give this part of the game a 7 because I searched for the story beyond the mission briefings. The mission briefings are the only part of the story that you will receive without working your butt off, and these by themselves are predictable and over-used by other games of greater caliber. The twists will leave you yawning, and the only way you can possibly enjoy the story is if you work extra hard to find the "secret messages" scattered throughout each level and/or read the instruction booklet first. The messages shed light on the background of the Drudge, and help to make the story more interesting as their background and motivation become apparent. It would have been nice if these revelations weren't so painstaking to find, however.
The new engine the developers crafted for this game was meant to bring the graphics of the Wii up to PS3 and X-Box 360 standards. In this it fails, but not epically as one might expect from the Wii's inferior hardware. Though the graphics are about as good as one from the worst X-Box 360 game, the Conduit still easily surpasses all of the other games graphic-wise for the Wii, and every Nintendo system ever, for that matter.
The only thing is, you don't get to enjoy them as you trudge down hall after hall of the same exact layout as the ones before it. The idea of a war-torn Washington DC was great, but gets bland very fast. Some variety would have been nice... some different staircases or library rooms would have sufficed, but I was left wandering the same hallway ten times in a row blasting the same enemies. No wonder Mr. Ford always sounds bored.
The gameplay was the biggest selling point that this game had to offer, and it was also the only part of the game that truly delivered what it promised. Gameplay-wise, the Conduit is a milestone for FPS games on any system. The HUD is completely customizable, as are the controls, brightness, character running speed.... it is hard to imagine a more customizable gaming experience. You can even change the difficulty level of the game on the fly!
This last part comes in handy, considering the fact that this games difficulty is horribly skewed. In some parts, you can easily clear a room of Drudge and Trust soldiers on the hardest of difficulty levels, and in other parts it is hard to beat a part of the game on the easiest difficulty setting.
I do not have Wi-Fi. Multiplayer is the most enjoyable part of a FPS, and this game's lack of split-screen support made it so people like me were forced to enjoy only the awful campaign missions. Would I have enjoyed it better if I had Wi-Fi? Who knows.
Special Addition stuff- 2/10
The special addition extra "features" that are only available at Gamestop are a joke. The concept art consists of five pages total, and the codes they give you to unlock a different All-Seeing Eye and character skin works on the main game as well, and you can easily look up those codes anywhere. Good thing they didn't charge me extra... the special addition still only costs $50.
All things considered, the Conduit was a mediocre game that was nothing special and a huge disappointment for people who where waiting for it anxiously like me. I look forward to the future, however, because the FPS has a new standard for control. Lets just hope the next one isn't a disappointment like this one was. Rent this game for the controls. Buy it for the multiplayer. If you don't have Wi-Fi, just pass it up and don't get suckered like I did.
Reviewer's Score: 5/10 | Originally Posted: 08/10/09
Game Release: The Conduit (GameStop Exclusive Special Edition) (US, 06/23/09)
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