Review by MGSDizzle
The Conduit: A superior Wii FPS
The Wii is filled with shovelware crap that has been spewing out since Day 1 of it's arrival. In the past 2 years more quality titles have finally come down the pipeline, but their still hasn't been a definitive FPS to show what the Wii can produce. Call of Duty: World at War was a fine game with solid online multi-player, but it lacked design and core functions and looked weak compared to it's PS3 and Xbox 360 counterparts. It was a dumbed down port, albiet a solid one. High Voltage Software decided that it was time to unleash a FPS game for the Wii that would engross the player with customizable controls, solid graphics, and solid online multi-player, built for the ground up for the Wii. Did they suceed?
In a word, yes, they did. The Conduit is a fun, solid FPS for the Wii. And only the Wii. You play as Agent Michael Ford, sent into debunk some deep government conspiracies. The story on the surface looks a bit lacking, but through reading the hidden messages, listening to the radio frequencies, and paying attention to your surrondings, you find a deep, complex story of betrayal, aliens, invasions, conspiracies, and much more. The more you pay attention and think about things, the more the story evolves in your mind. A lot of it is open to interpretation, which I feel adds to the quality of the story writing. Next thing you will notice is the Quantam 3 graphics engine developed by High Voltage Studios, an independent company. Rippling water, particle fragments, and extensive lighting add effects that most people didn't think could happen on the Wii. The character models are excellent, with fluid motion, and lots of detail. This game looks especially good in 480P, and while maybe it didn't live up to "It's going to look like a Xbox 360 game" moniker that people gave it, I think it looks just as good as something like F.E.A.R. or Perfect Dark: Zero.
Most importantly, the game has the best controls of a console FPS. Period. Everything is customizable. Your button layout, your sensitivity, your dead zone, your cursor speed, your movement speed (in single player), hell even your HUD is customizable. No other game has given players this depth and range of options to control their games. If you don't like the default controls, change them. It took me about 15 minutes to find an acceptable and comfortable control scheme, and after 25+ hours on multi-player, I can safely say that the only thing stopping anyone from enjoying the control scheme is yourself, because anything can be changed.
Multiplayer is very well done too. Although lacking split-screen, the online is very robust for a Wii game. Although friend codes are intact, you can send friend invites via your Wii Console ID, or via someone elses friend code. You can join your friends games in action, and also set up games to play private matches. There are 13 different online modes, ranging from Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch, to Capture the ASE and ASE Football (the ASE is the All-Seeing-Eye, used to solve puzzles and decode hidden messages in Single Player). Character customization is pretty solid as well, with 5 base figures and you can customize their color scheme. Up to 12 players can play in a room at once, and most of the time you will have mininmal lag, depending on your internet connections. There are a few hiccups with framerates, and the 7 online maps are a little light, but the robustness of the online settings make up for it 10 fold. Stat-stracking along with rankings make you play for something to achieve, and it's just really well done.
The Conduit is not perfect. I'm not claiming it is. There are a few gripes I have, such as single player felt a little short, the environments tend to blend together and be a little montonous, there's hardly any destructable environments, the ASE isn't used to it's full potential, the story ends a bit abruptly, there are a few hackers online (which is being addressed by HVS, I've encoutered 3 in 25+ hours of gameplay), but for the most part, I can't say enough positive things about this game. Everything just seems well done and feels like a "next gen" (I hate that term) title that Wii owners have been looking for. If you are a Wii owner who enjoys shooting games, pick this up. If you like multiplayer games, pick this up. If you have a Wii and a 360 or PS3, you still may want to pick this up because of the robust control scheme. I am a PS3 owner as well, and for the past 3 weeks the only shooting game I've touched is The Conduit. It ups the ante for Wii FPS games, in terms of visuals, gameplay, and multiplayer, and is the start for hopefully a long and fruitful franchise.
Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Product Release: The Conduit (GameStop Exclusive Special Edition) (US, 06/23/09)
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