Game Name: Conduit 2
Platform(s): Nintendo Wii
Developer(s): High Voltage Software
Genre(s): First-Person Shooter
Release Date: April 19, 2011 (US) April 21, 2011 (AU) April 21, 2011 (EU)
With a dry season in full effect for the Nintendo Wii, Conduit 2 has now come in to bring some much needed action to the motion-based console. Conduit 2 is High Voltage’s successor to The Conduit which debuted on the system in 2008 and brought about a unique style for the first-person shooter genre on the Wii. The first title had quite a few minor issues but still managed to gain quite a cult following due to it’s narrative and easy to pick up and play gameplay, and thankfully just about every aspect of this sequel have seen improvement in one way or another. So how does this growing franchise fare in today’s vast market of shooters? Here is my review for Conduit 2.
Being honest, I didn’t really have too much memory of the first Conduit’s story, but thankfully that really didn’t harness my enjoyment of the second as Conduit 2’s narrative is rather simple to follow for the most part. You start out where the first story left off, with the main protagonist Michael Ford following John Adams through a conduit. Things start to unfold shortly after as you end up in the Bermuda triangle, get swallowed by a Leviathan and then end up running into a female by the name of Andromeda who is to aid Ford as he aims to take down Adams once and for all.
If all of this sounds a bit over-the-top, you would be correct as the plot in the main campaign is absolutely insane…but in a good way though, as it certainly feels original and was a lot of fun to actually follow. Conduit 2 never takes itself too seriously when it comes to telling a story yet it still presents a good amount of depth to better place the player in this twisted world. If you have ever watched one of those cheesey movies on the SyFy network, you might be in familiar territory as when I was playing through and watching everything unfold, that was the first thought that popped into my mind. Yes, it won’t win any Oscars, but Conduit 2 straps the player in and just goes wild with twists and turns around nearly every corner of the game.
While the story is a lot of fun and quite out there, one thing I found to be a mixed bag was Michael Ford himself. One minute this tough guy is all business and ready to go in and battle, the next he is shouting out quick one-liners that could make Bubsy cringe. This back and forth personality of Ford may have been intended to provoke a laugh from time to time (and I admit, there were some pretty humorous moments of dialogue), but for my personal taste the forth wall was broken just a few too many times and eye rolls replaced laughter shortly after. That said, there is still a lot of personality and charm layered throughout the game which makes the trip through memorable and unique to the genre.
Conduit 2 is a first person shooter first and foremost and amidst this twisted plot comes a vast array of weaponry and gadgets to help Ford along the way. The Wii however has never truly been known to be a very good host for the genre due to the motion controls which have always provided somewhat of a learning curve as the actual remote can make even the most standard procedures overly complicated. Thankfully though, Conduit 2 sets a better example with it’s control scheme and is actually a rather fine-tuned experience. Simple things such as shooting an enemy require little thought or frustration as an enemy can quickly be targeted and taken out in the blink of an eye. The WiiMotion Plus also plays a factor for accuracy as the added in functionality makes a noticeable impression when it comes to performing melees or simply focusing on a set enemy. That being said, I still found myself enjoying the classic control layout a bit more as I am personally more comfortable with the feel of a standard controller. There isn’t too much of a difference for the classic controller, but aiming can be a bit of a hassle as the high sensitivity made actually targeting an enemy a more tedious process.
Conduit 2 has a pretty basic loadout with shotguns, sniper rifes, and the standard shooter fare all in Ford’s arsenal. The variety of weaponry though comes in with the high tech alien weapons which are found scattered thoughout levels or that can simply be taken from a fallen foe. Not only do these weapons look different and add new ways to destroy enemies, but each give off a distinct feel which keeps the game from feeling overly repetitive and usually each are fun to use in their own way. For instance, the hive cannon is acquired fairly early in the game and shoots a steady stream of insects into a foe. Ford’s arsenal changes depending on the player’s choice and this interesting array of toys to play with fit perfectly into the B-Movie atmosphere that is given with Conduit 2’s story.
Ford’s most useful item in the game is the A.S.E. (All Seeing Eye) and this time around, the device is used a bit differently. The A.S.E. works a bit like a scanner with the ability of solving certain puzzles, unearth new information for the plot, and find the game’s many secrets.
The first Conduit suffered a bit with it’s actual level design as at times it felt a bit linear and almost like you were just walking through a hallway, going from one area to the next. High Voltage have improved this greatly though as this sequel features many well detailed environments to explore that are more open and larger in size. These larger areas also now hold many secrets and easter eggs which make exploration a rewarding experience and in my case lengthened the game greatly as I spent a lot of time trying to find collectibles and discover the small details that were added in.
From knocking over tables to provide some quick cover or shooting up a car to take out a group of enemies in one explosion, the environments all have many interactive features which can give a bit of an advantage in the players favor. Unfortunately, there isn’t a ton of variety with interactivity as it usually is the two methods I mentioned, but both work well and actually come in handy during some more hectic battles in the game.
For the most part, Conduit 2 runs rather smooth and I didn’t encounter any graphical glitches during my time with the game, but there were still a few bugs that can be literally game-breaking. During my first hour of play I hopped right into the campaign. After entering a door to the outside of the first area, I was completely blocked in with two dead ends on each side and since the door locks behind you in that part, I was rather stuck. Thankfully, High Voltage seem to have caught this issue quickly as after a quick update, the path was open and everything was smooth sailing from that point on. This does make me believe that players who do not have the ability to actually download an update may want to be wary of this title though as there is literally no other way to proceed without that patch. I do give High Voltage a lot of respect though as the team seems to be dedicated to providing update after update based on feedback alone to better the player’s experience.
One of the most defining features of Conduit 2 is the multiplayer. Not only is this mode full of options and modes that could give heavy contenders a run for their money, the engine used actually provides useful rewards for simply playing the game. There are many different options to customize your profile which include a store where you can use in-game currency to upgrade your armor and character. The Wii Friend Code system is still very much in play, but this title has a unique option to add previous players through a “Rivals” system, allowing you to play with that person again. It isn’t a friend code shattering method really, but it certainly is a refreshing sight to see on the Wii’s online front.
The basic FPS fare of modes can also be found in the multiplayer, however there are some interesting additions that truly set things apart from other shooters on the Wii such as a A.S.E basketball mode. An extra option I really liked seeing was the ability to vote on which map to play on, similar to what we have seen in Halo and Call of Duty. The headbanger headset is also fully compatible, letting you talk trash to other players as you battle it out, but I didn’t find too many actually using the device. Still a nice addition though. For local play, up to four players can team up in a split screen presentation for Invasion mode, in which they must take out waves of enemies at a time. Multiplayer is a bit more bare-bones than the campy campaign, but in my opinion there really isn’t another online title on the Wii that can beat the depth and variety that Conduit 2 brings to the table.
When it comes to actual visuals, there is quite a lot to say about the presentation value that is in Conduit 2. Each environment’s textures are a bit bland when it comes to scenery such as walls or plants, but that is fully made up for with the sheer amount of little details that bring life to every area such as well detailed rubble, pictures and posters plastered on walls, you get the idea. The actual character models in the game are also pleasant to look at and while not perfect, each fit their role well and animations all run fluently and smooth.
The music within the game is usually fitting for each area and consists of some more high tempo tracks which set the stage for the more intense battles ahead. Each weapon’s sound effect also does a fantastic job of setting guns apart from one another and flow perfectly with combat. Though the voice cast is new this time around, Jon St. John fits the role of Ford perfectly and while some of the actual lines of dialogue are a bit annoying at times, there is still a lot of actual quality to they way it is presented.
Conduit 2 is a great improvement over the first title we seen nearly three years ago. The story presents itself like a fantastic B-flick and provides quite a bit of humor as you jump between locations with a easy to use and simply fun engine that the game runs on. Now there are certainly some problems that take back from the full experience of the game such as a some overly corny dialogue and a few bugs, but there is no doubt that those who own a Wii and are looking for an online experience, Conduit 2 is the choice title on the system as of now. You can literally feel the love that High Voltage have tied into each pixel within the game and while there are certainly some areas that still could use some polish, Conduit 2 is not just a step in the right direction for the franchise, but also for the genre as a whole on the Wii.
I Give Conduit 2: