Review by HungoverHero777
"A solid, yet very underrated shooter."
(This is my first review, so keep that in mind)
High Voltage Software is a very broad company, making everything from Nickelodeon party games to gritty M-rated games. They don't have many original IPs, so when they began to work on an original shooter dubbed The Conduit, (the story of one Michael Fords journey to find the truth about a secret government agency), they suddenly got the attention of many Wii owners, due to the lack of top-quality shooters on the console. A game like this most likely wouldn't get a mention on the other two home consoles, so the Wii would be the ideal place to develop it.
When The Conduit was released, it received mixed to positive reviews. On the bright side, The Conduit was credited as having some of the best graphics on the Wii console, as well as intuitive and fully customizable controls. On the downside, the 12 player online multiplayer(which was also rare on the Wii) suffered from lag, but also from hackers, which plague the game to this day. From what I've heard, the story was engaging at times, but was ultimately lacking, and also ended in a cliffhanger.
Because of this, many loyal fans clamored for a sequel, and that's what they got. I've never played The Conduit, but because I was curious and HVS supposedly made everything better than the first game, I figured I may as well give the the sequel a shot. So here goes....
Conduit 2 picks up directly after the end of The Conduit, where Mr. Ford chases John Adams, the main villain behind the Trust (the government agency I mentioned earlier) through a Conduit, which is basically a teleporter. If you've never played the first game, you won't have any idea what's going on, but I personally didn't really mind. Mr. Adams wants to (surprise surprise) take over the world with his Trust agents and the Drudge, a breed of human/alien hybrids also created by Adams. To become strong enough to take on Adams, Mr. Ford must use the All-Seeing Eye(ASE), an alien device capable of hacking computer terminals and scanning objects, to absorb the spirits of Progenitors, Adams' "cousins" so to speak. Did I mention Adams is also a Progenitor? Well, I did now. The ASE also happens to house the spirit of one of Michaels friends, Prometheus, who helps Michael by giving him advice throughout the game.
Mr. Ford must go to places all around the world, from China to Siberia to meet with these Progenitors, some benevolent, some not. The variety is nice, and there are even multiple settings within one place, such as both a snowy tundra and a laboratory in Siberia. It's a shame the campaign didn't last too long though, it's beatable in around 7-8 hours, depending on if you rush or not. I can't finish this review without mentioning the voice acting, which is okay for the most part (Prometheus is a particular standout), but is laughably terrible for Mr. Ford. He sounds like a bad Duke Nukem ripoff, with his very cheesy one-liners and his voice itself. Being the main character, this hurts the game's credibility somewhat.
Like its predecessor, Conduit 2 sports some of the best graphics on the Wii. Places are shiny where they should be, and there's even a convincing glare from the sun in some spots. Some of the textures look blurry upon close inspection, but you'll often be too busy paying attention to the actual gameplay to care or notice. Also, as you might expect, they take a hit during Splitscreen, making them less-than-impressive.
As a first-person shooter, gameplay is pretty standard. Shoot anything that moves and progress through the level. Occasionally there's something different, such as a turret-gunning portion on the back of a jet, shooting harpoons at a mechanical Leviathan, or just finding a way out of Siberia.The boss battles, while few and far between, are generally enjoyable, save for the final boss, which is a complete letdown, regardless of how you look at it. The ending however, is truly surprising, and also hints at another game in the series.
The weapon designs are simply fantastic. From standard human weapons to the technologically advanced Trust arms to the, er, "alive" Drudge guns, every weapon is completely unique, from firing explosive bees to an energy shield to a giant laser. The balance, for the most part, is fine. Every weapon is weak to at least one other weapon type. They're so varied that it might as well be a different game whenever you pick another one up. In addition, they're all enjoyable to use, which is probably the most important thing.
This being an FPS, the first choice would naturally be the Wiimote and Nunchuk. The default controls work fine for me, with jabbing the remote for a melee attack, etc, but as I've said before, everything is completely customizable, so you can tweak anything from your turning speed to the placement of the HUD. You can also use a classic controller, for a more traditional feel.
I don't think any of the music is very memorable (except for the oil rig title screen), but the different tracks do their job, so I guess there's no harm. The gunfire sound effects are very crisp and satisfying. Overall, there's nothing wrong concerning this aspect of the game, but it could have been better as well.
This is such an integral part of the game I thought it merited its own section. If you're new to the game, let me put it simply, you will be beaten. A lot. Just accept that so you know what you're getting into. Once you get more experienced and get more practice, plus experiment with the sheer variety of weapons, you'll get better in no time.
The online is divided into 4 sections:
Big Team Grab Bag: 12 players max, with radar and lock-on.
Free-for-all Grab Bag: 10 players max, radar and lock-on.
Hardcore Team Games: 8 players max, no radar or lock-on.
Hardcore Free-for-all: 6 players max, no radar or lock-on.
Unfortunately, all but the first option is pretty much dead, but kudos to you if you actually manage to find a game in any of the other three! Also, you could visit the board of this game to set up matches with the people there, who are very nice.
This game utilizes friend codes, so that you can see if a friend is online and join their game. However, there is also a Rivals option where if you meet a person in-game, you can send a Rival request. If they accept, it's pretty much the same as if they were a friend. Conduit 2 also supports the HeadBanger headset, where you can chat with friends and rivals alike.
Like the last game, there are some hackers, but thankfully they are very rare this time around. The main problem this game is lag. Sure, there are good days, where there are no flaws whatsoever and you have a great time. On a bad day the game is almost unplayable, with players flying across the map, "ghost" players, and disconnections aplenty. If you stick with it, however, you'll begin to appreciate how much fun the game can be when it works.
Conduit 2 is definitely a step up from the original. The graphics arguably surpass those of the original and the online is very improved. The story on its own is alright, but if there is to be a C3, please, HVS, get someone else to be Michael Ford.
Overall, this is an extremely solid, fun game and one of the best FPSs on Wii, with an equally robust online system. If you can get a copy, give it a shot!
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 09/26/12
Game Release: Conduit 2 (GameStop Limited Edition) (US, 04/19/11)
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