Review by Archmonk Iga
High Voltage improved nearly everything for this sequel, but compared to all the other great FPS's out there that's not saying much.
The Conduit was an exclusive first-person shooter for the Wii, with heavy emphasis on action and control. And while it was a solid FPS that hit the notes right enough, its run-and-gun gameplay flooded the entire experience along with sluggish motion controls. With their release of Conduit 2, developer High Voltage did a great job of listening to what we all had to say about what the original did right and what it did wrong. The real question, however, is this: its 2011. With the Wiis limitations and the 360 and PS3 going as hard as they are, is Conduit 2 good enough to match their sensational FPS lineups?
I hate to start on a sour note, but Conduit 2s story is much weaker than I expected it to be. Ford and Prometheus were extremely boring leads in the first one, and here the creators have seemingly blessed them with senses of humor in the sequel. This would have been great had it existed in the original, but it didnt and it makes our protagonist one of the most inconsistent and weakest Ive seen this console generation. Not to mention that most of his one-liners are, well not even that funny. It just makes it less thrilling to play as this guy.
As for the overall plot, we pick up exactly where the first one left off. If you didnt play the original then you will likely have no idea whats going on here. There is no recap anywhere in the game, so newcomers are going to be thrown into this adventure with no clue about whats going on.
There are some interesting things happening, however. Ford has officially become The Destroyer, since he is now wearing sweet new armor. A woman named Andromeda has been awakened to aid him, adding a little depth to his mission. There are also some crazy locations that Ford travels to during his chase for AdamsChina, Siberia, D.C. (again), and even the legendary cities of Atlantis and Agartha are a part of the itinerary.
Its such a shame, though, that Conduit 2s story turns out to be nothing more than a game of cat-and-mouse. Adams is looking to take advantage of an alien race to gain power, and Ford is trying to stop him. There are very few interesting twists, and after you view the terrible ending it makes you feel like most of the game is pure filler.
I read the Game Informer review and it said that Conduit 2s graphics can be equated to a Nintendo 64 game. Well let me just say that that is total bull, because that system is pretty darn old. The character and enemy models are actually very cool looking, and the detail is almost good enough to be 360 or PS3 quality.
The environments are a little bland though, which is disappointing because the settings are so cool. Textures vary from vibrant to blurry, and at times they are even hard on the eyes. There is also some surprising slowdown now and then.
The same voice actors from before return for Conduit 2. They werent that convincing before, and now with this random (and weak) humor thrown between characters throughout the story, it just sounds wrong. At times the music was good, especially during the more intense parts of the game, but other than a few instances its quite forgettable.
Conduit 2 does a good job of righting many of the wrongs from the original while trying to retain what we liked. The controls are once again fully customizable, which is great (WiiMotion Plus and classic controller are both compatible too), but I hate to say that movement is still very sluggish.
The run-and-gun element that filled the first game has taken a backseat to more exploration and ASE use. There is still a lot of mindless shooting as you progress, but its balanced much better this time around. The enemy variety is also better, though there are parts during the campaign where I got SERIOUSLY frustrated by those annoying spider-things. Every game is allowed the stereotypical annoying nuisance enemy, but it gets almost unbearable in Conduit 2. Other enemy types are very cool, and the AI is a little better than before though its still pretty dumb. Theres also a boss fight in the very beginning of the game that was a fantastic challenge and an amazing spectacle.
Despite the contradiction of cool location/bland graphics, the great thing about the levels is that many of them are more open-ended compared to the single pathways from the original. Sure, many of them involve hitting a switch then backtracking, rinsing and repeating, but what little variety we have here is nice compared to before.
Guns are much better balanced this time around as well, and some of the new ones are a total blast. The Hive Cannon is super-cool, and theres a neat new invisibility gun that can be pretty helpful in certain situations. The ASE is also back with improvements, and it works more efficiently in nearly every aspect.
The multiplayer modes are also a big step up from before, though I personally think that GoldenEyes multiplayer is more fun. There are a lot of maps and some very clever gameplay modes, along with a great friend system and voice chat. A match can also hold up to 12 people, which is awesome. I also love how you upgrade your online character with all the great customization options. Add on the fact that High Voltage are kind enough to keep a close eye on the multiplayer through strong security and patches, and youve got some of the strongest online multiplayer the Wii has to offer.
Conduit 2 indeed has many improvements over its predecessor. The thing is, its predecessor was so generic in the first place that all these improvements shouldnt even come into considerationthe original should have played this well, and this sequel should be phenomenal if it wants to stand up against Crysis 2, Gears of War 3, and other 2011 FPS hits. Conduit 2s gameplay is solid, so I cant say that its too little, too late. But as you read my words above that praise all the gameplay improvements over the original, Im sure you also could have been thinking yeah, but all the other FPSs do that too. This game just doesnt have anything to make it stand out other than the motion controls, but thats nearly a five-year-old gameplay attribute that weve seen before on the Wii.
The campaign is terribly shortless than eight hours for most. Thankfully, there are secrets and achievements to find throughout it, making multiple playthroughs a possibility. The multiplayer is what will bring you back, however. Building up your character and blasting away at others in Conduit 2 is a good alternative to Wii owners who are sick of GoldenEye. Again, the multiplayer is about as typical as it gets (and it doesnt come close to the heavy-hitters available on the other two systems), but thankfully its smooth and fun enough to keep you coming back.
REPLAY VALUE: 7/10
Conduit 2 improves upon a game that was extremely generic in the first place. Its got some great weapon choices and the multiplayer is excellent, but it just cant compare to many of the other FPSs that are on the market.
Thanks for reading =)
Rating: 3.0 - Fair
Product Release: Conduit 2 (US, 04/19/11)
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