Gamer Limit Banner
Avatar ImageGamer Limit Review: The Conduit
By: | July 12th, 2009 | Wii
Review |Wii

conduitheader

Ever since The Conduit was revealed last year, it has been heralded as the FPS savior for the Nintendo Wii. It has also been touted as a true hardcore game for a console that drowns in shovelware and self-help games.

Well, The Conduit is finally upon us and we’ve taken a taste of the hype-basted buffet. Was it worth the wait or does this motion controlled FPS leave us with motion sickness?

Beginning High Voltage’s The Conduit’s single player campaign, you are thrust into the shoes of Secret Service Agent Michael Ford. Complete with awful Kiefer Sutherland impression, we follow Ford through his adventure which involves everything from fighting fellow agents who’ve been brainwashed to evil space aliens. The plot of The Conduit is an exercise in mediocrity, and not long into the campaign you’ll be rolling your eyes.

After a brief narrated introduction, you find yourself immediately assuming the role of Mr. Ford. There’s no truly compelling intro cinematic, and you wouldn’t even know what Ford is supposed to look like if it wasn’t for the boxart. This is when your crash course how you’ll be playing The Conduit begins.

conduit11

You can lock onto enemies, but the effect is useless

Imagine someone took an Xbox or PlayStation controller and cleaved it down the middle, installed motion control in one side, and handed it back to you. Strafing and forward movement are mapped to the Wii Nunchuk, with aiming and turning controlled by the Wiimote. If you’ve playing any Wii on-rails shooter, you’re already familiar with how aiming works in The Conduit. Look sensitivity, aiming “dead zones,” and even running speed are all available for customization. But that doesn’t save the doomed control scheme.

Every step of the way through the game you feel like you’re playing an on-rails shooter that has somehow derailed. You are forced to aim towards the side of the screen in order to turn your character, but this intrinsically makes you compensate for the movement and drag your reticule back to the center of the screen. Meanwhile, you’re being pumped with lasers and lead. No matter how much you finagle the options, it’s always going to feel too jittery or too sluggish.

When you’re not battling botched controls, you’ll be facing off against special ops forces and aliens called the Drudge. The bastardized aliens feel like they’ve been pulled straight from Halo. The main infantry shouts in the same low timber of Halo Elites. There are even scurrying, shrill voiced enemies which emulate Grunts, and the list goes on.

conduit3

Enemies are incredibly generic across the board

The weapons take obvious cures from other FPSs, bringing no real originality to the mix. There are three classifications of weapons. Human weapons include military inspired armaments from an assault rifle to a rocket launcher; Drudge weapons are orange laser shooting firearms that appear to be living organisms; and Trust weaponry consist of high tech, futuristic plasma energy weapons. Each one requires its own set of ammunition, but is never in short supply.

Some of the game’s weapons are so overpowered that at moments the experience seems broken. Rarely are enemies swarming you from all angles, so you’ll usually have time to charge up certain weapons which deliver one-hit-kills, rendering the enemy forces benign. Assuming you’re able to maintain aim with the Wiimote while shaking the Nunchuk to hurl a grenade, and you’re downright unstoppable at times.

The enemy AI is some of the worst I’ve encountered this generation, and rather than colorfully explaining it, I’ll give you an example. At one point enemies poured into a room full of exploding barrels. I watched in confusion my foes began taking refuge behind the combustible cover. Like shooting fish in a barrel, I began exploding container after container. That is, until I took aim on one sorry sap who decided he wasn’t going to take me alive, aimed at the barrel in front of him, and blew himself to smithereens.

The Drudge traverse through portals called "conduits."

The Drudge traverse through portals called "conduits."

Though the difficulty of the game is quite tame at many points, later in the adventure there is a ridiculous challenge spike. In one particular level, you are to exit an elevator and face off wave after wave of enemies without any cover. You basically have to ignore every FPS instinct you have and run past them like a coward to find impromptu cover, hoping you don’t die in the process. The level design in The Conduit is the main thing stopping it from being a Halo clone, as it is uninspired, ludicrously linear, and generic.

The shooting is broken up by scavenger hunt diversions with Ford’s All-Seeing-Eye, or ASE. The small orb is basically an alien relic that allows functions to find hidden switches, detector/disable invisible mines, and beep annoyingly at you. The gimmick seems novel at first, but after awhile it becomes a cumbersome chore.

The presentation of the game initially looks passable. Weapons are detailed, certain textures look very convincing, and enemy units have a glossy coat of paint on them. However, as you progress beyond the game’s confined corridors into broader environments you quickly remember this game is on the Nintendo Wii. This game looks like it’s a PC game that was released five years ago, and truly doesn’t fit among this generation. Many Wii games have compensated with limited graphical punch by having a unique art style, but The Conduit is not one of them.

Switching back and forth from the ASE gets old fast

Switching back and forth from the ASE gets old fast

Once you’ve finished simultaneously dry-heaving and scratching your head after the game’s ridiculous conclusion, you might find yourself tempted to try. What you’ll find is the best online setup the Wii has to offer. The game customization and matchmaking falls in line with multiplayer on either the PS3 or 360, and makes the tedious friend code system defunct. The ingenious of the multiplayer ends there.

Actually sitting down for a multiplayer match, however, is an exercise in boredom. With matches being limited to only twelve players, rounds feel more like hide-and-seek. Even with the radar constantly on, determining exactly where your enemies are is difficult. The one saving grace here is that you’re facing enemies that have the sense not to commit self-immolation. Using the control scheme to face off against human enemies fosters a semi-rewarding experience, which is quickly snuffed the moment you attempt to turn around and track them. There is some fun to be had here for people who love pointing the Wiimote to aim, for the rest this aspect of the game is pointless considering the far superior options that exist this generation.

Sometimes the game looks pretty good, but it's rare

Sometimes the game looks pretty good, but it's rare

The Conduit is a courageous effort at a next-generation FPS on a console that’s technologically underpowered. The game may very well be a dream come true for those who only own a Wii. However, there are better games to be played on the console, and much better FPSs to be played on other platforms. To quote Rob Schneider, “You Con-duit!,” but you shouldn’t.

Rating Category
5.0 Presentation
This game looks pretty rough at times, even for a Wii game. There were better looking games last generation, even.
How does our scoring system work?
4.0 Gameplay
Playing this game varies between passable and frustrating, with not much middle ground in between.
7.0 Sound
Repeated lines, cheesy dialogue, and stock sound effects bring nothing new to the experience.
5.0 Longevity
If you can finish the campaign you are a patient person. Multiplayer may provide a little replay value.
5.0 Overall
If Nintendo expects to be a contender is the FPS market, it’s going to have to come up with something a lot better than this.

  1. “Forcing a square peg into a round hole” comes to mind when FPS gaming on the Wii is brought up.

    It just doesn’t work without being on rails, which in turn, makes it a glorified shooting gallery.

  2. Interesting review, I had heard god things about the graphics, but generic art design will always drag a game down.

  3. avatar Aeon

    Well, I enjoy the game. Anyone who thinks the game is generic in story, go here: http://www.gamefaqs.com/boards/genmessage.php?board=947068&topic=50295705

    If you don’t like the game, though, that’s fine. Everyone’s opinion’s different, but I don’t see how you can knock something that gives you the option to do whatever you want. If the dead-zone annoys you that much, make it as small as possible. And the lock-on helps if you know how to use it properly.

  4. This was brutal… you should have compared it to Far Cry, the only other FPS on the Wii.

    … and Prime 3 doesn’t count! It’s an adventure game, not a shooter!

  5. The screens remind me of Prey, which I loved!

  6. avatar Nat

    Wow, you really rag hard on such a good game. This is the single best controlling first person shooter I have ever encountered, the AI is not the best, but it is passible, it’s better than Halo’s AI by a margin.

    The nature of the story and aliens encountered being somehow an issue for people completely surprises me, people spoke highly for Halo’s use of even more generic story and just as generic of enemies, I will never understand the hyprocritical nature of game reviewers these days, attacking pretty much anything that is coming out on the Nintendo platforms, just because they want to dismiss it.

  7. @Nat
    From what I played, I wouldn’t compare any facet of it to either the fun factor of Halo, or the impact it had on the gaming community as a whole. This is a bit of a niche title.

    Also, from the information I can gather, all of the people who love the controls are not previous PC/Xbox 360 FPS fans, and only have the Wii.

  8. avatar hdshgyh

    A 5.0 WWHHAATT THE HELL. THIS GAME DESERVES BETTER THAN A 5. I KNOW ITS NOT THE PERFECT GAME BUT IT AT LEAST DESERVES A 7.5 OR A 8

  9. avatar Nat

    Chris, you obviously are not trying to find data, rather giving your own. Halo had a high impact because of the Xbox’s hypemachine, the game itself was rather dull and unoriginal in all manners, not a huge surprise considering it was largely the same game as the previous three Marathon titles.

    Having played Marathons one through three, Halos one and two, Half-Life in many of it’s iterations and it’s consequent modifications and sequel and it’s sequelettes, the Metroid Prime trilogy, Quakes one and two, various Duke Nukems, Serious Sam, Heretic and Hexen, Wolfenstien 3D and Return to Castle Wolfenstien… I can honestly say that none of them make huge revolutionary moves, they are iterary steps.

    The Conduit’s control is a positive step forward in evolution of gameplay towards the fluid and natural control of your first person shooter avatar. I would have loved to have the game make use of the grand evolutionary step of Half-Life 2′s physics gameplay, the ability to warp gravity.

    The AI is not revolutionary, but it is a high mark above that of many other games, the enemies work to surround you, which is better than many others. Hell, in Halo the AI pretty much lets you peck at them if you’re far enough away.

  10. @Nat
    I’m not talking about the theoretical impact: just the social impact it had on the gaming public at large. Halo sold millions on a brand new console; The Conduit, at the moment, is only in a select amount of the Wii population’s homes, despite the fact that the Wii is the best selling current gen console.

    Time will tell if sales will skyrocket someday, but at the moment, the amount of people who actively enjoy The Conduit is a small percentage.

  11. avatar M-Dan

    Why do people insist on comparing FPS games on Wii to the ones on the 360 and PS3? Even though all are classified ‘next-gen’, you will never get the graphics and control on the Wii that are present on the other two consoles. Credit where it’s due, they’ve made a pretty good game given the limitations that the console provides, and it’s certainly better than a 5/10 rating when compared to other Wii games in the same genre.

    If you don’t like the Wii, why bother reviewing titles for it?

  12. avatar romar

    wow. a 5? you kidding me. you need to actually play this game longer than 10 minutes. you just give it a 5 because you suck at this game because of the control.

  13. avatar you arent even using current screen shots, it was praised on actually good sites like ign and gamespot for its technically amazing graphics and amazing control, and at your last statement NINTENDO didnt even make the game!! the only thing close to an fps

    your an idiot

  14. avatar Anonymous

    you arent even using current screen shots, it was praised on actually good sites like ign and gamespot for its technically amazing graphics and amazing control, and at your last statement NINTENDO didnt even make the game!! the only thing close to an fps nintendo has made is metroid, which scored high even probably on this amateur site

  15. avatar dominationdj99

    Hey idiot if you actually played the game and beat it you would know if those aliens known as drudge where rip-offs of HALO or not because I beat The Conduit and Conduit 2 and I know that they are DEFINANTLY NOT SO SHUT YOUR FACE HOLE UP WOULD YOU!

Leave a Reply