The Conduit (Wii) Review

ShoppingProduct Reviews

  • Author Steve Braude
  • Published October 5, 2009
  • Word count 1,101

The Conduit is one of the first true First Person Shooter (FPS) games for the Wii console. With great graphics, superb controls and good online play, this game does a lot right. But as a general First Person Shooter game, it definitely has a few issues.

A number of industry critics have highlighted the fact that as a FPS game, it doesn't break any new ground, and FPS fans who have played these games on other consoles may be a little disappointed. But as this is a Wii exclusive game, I'm going to cut it some slack against its FPS competitors on the other consoles, and review this game in the context of its impact on the Wii.

The game begins when your character, Michael Ford, is sent on a covert mission to stop a terrorist attack on Washington DC, and capture the terrorist leader, Prometheus. It soon becomes clear that this is no terrorist attack but an alien invasion by a species called The Drudge, and Michael Ford is involved in a battle to save Washington and the US from a full alien invasion.

First Person Shooters have always worked well on video games consoles where their controllers have two joysticks. One joystick has traditionally been used to allow players to look around their environment, while the other joystick has been used to move around. On consoles with only one joystick though (like the Wii's nunchuck) these games have always struggled to provide a realistic first-person experience.

Despite its flaws, nobody can argue that The Conduit boasts outstanding controls, and plays exactly like a FPS game should. The joystick on the nunchuck controller is used for moving around, and the Wii remote is used for looking and turning. Looking around is as easy as moving the Wii remote left and right, up and down. This is a really clever use of the Wii remote to simulate movement, and will surely lead the way for future FPS games on the Wii.

The game's camera also works seamlessly with the character movement system, and there were no instances of the camera and the action being out of synch, although I did find some problems turning left or right when I got into corners. The great control scheme is a real technical achievement for a console with only one proper joystick.

The Conduit's controls also have a range of highly customizable options that lets you completely change the button layout and movement speed of the Wii remote and nunchuck controllers. This is one of the few FPS games across any console that lets you customize the controls to this level.

Like most other shooting games on the Wii, the Wii remote's aiming system works really well and movement across the screen when shooting at multiple targets is smooth and accurate.

The game also makes great use of the cover system, where hiding behind objects provides cover from enemy fire. The Drudge aliens use this cover system equally well so you'll need to draw your enemies out into the open to get a clear shot.

Enemy AI throughout the game is a bit of a mixed bag, though. Some enemies will take cover and force you to draw them out, while others will run right up to you without firing a single shot. This mixed bag does keep you guessing at how each enemy is going to react, but more consistent tactics would make for more realistic battles.

Despite the AI level, The Conduit's graphics are some of the best yet seen on the Wii. Although the Wii doesn't have HD graphics, the level of detail in the environments, characters and weapons is a match for FPS games on the Xbox 360 and PS3 consoles. This is another great feat from the game's developers.

Wii games with online play are usually fun and easy to use, and online play for The Conduit is no exception. As one of the only FPS games on the Wii, the multiplayer features provide players with a great experience.

Online gameplay is lag-free and matches are easy to get into. The online games are fairly standard for shooting games, such as Free for All, Team Deathmatch (called Team Reaper) and Capture the Flag (called Team Objective), and although they don't break any new ground for a FPS game in general, these games are fresh and fun on the Wii.

With a fairly short single player campaign at only 7 hours, online multiplayer is probably where you'll spend most of your time with the game. Although it doesn’t do anything new compared to other games in this genre, like Call of Duty, it still gives hours and hours of great fun.

Although it has many technical successes, gameplay in the single player campaign is where The Conduit doesn't come close to reaching its full potential.

Progression through the game is very linear, and you'll play through the game by going down corridor after corridor. There aren't any puzzles to solve to progress, and there isn't anything to explore. In each level, the corridors look exactly the same and the scenery only changes at the start of the next level.

Between the corridors that all look the same and enemies that all play the same, there isn't much variation through the game and the game can begin to feel repetitive.

On the positive side, The Conduit has lots of different weapons which definitely adds to the thrill of the gameplay. Michael Ford also carries a device called the All-Seeing Eye which acts as a kind of super-torch for finding hidden objects and alerting you to danger. Finding these hidden objects helps to unlock items and weapons, but having no side missions stops this unique device from fulfilling its potential.

My final gripe about the single player campaign is the lack of depth of the characters and the plot. Even though Michael Ford works for a top secret agency, Michael Ford's history and questions about the secret agency are never expanded on during the game. Even dialogue between Michael Ford and other characters in the game happens over a communication link, and you never meet these characters in person.

Despite the linear game play and shallow story, though, The Conduit on the Wii is a real technical success. This game proves that First Person Shooters can be perfectly suited to the Wii. Now that the controls and graphics have been perfected, the next goal is improving the action and the story.

With excellent controls, great graphics and fun online play, The Conduit is worth a look for any shooter and action game fans.

Steve Braude runs the website Nintendo Wii Explained.com. Like the Nintendo Wii, this website is fun and vibrant with articles that explain all the features of the Wii console, its games and accessories.

Read more about The Conduit and other great Wii games at http://www.nintendo-wii-explained.com/wii-games.html

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