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Review: The Conduit

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By now, I’m sure many of you have read various reviews on this game. I see the word ‘generic’ used a lot to describe the experience The Conduit offers. While I can agree with that to a certain point, couldn’t it be said most games are ‘generic’? Finally, fellow Wii owners, we get an awesome first person shooter that easily hangs with Metroid Prime 3, king and queen of the Wii FPS genre (not that there are many other contenders to the throne).

The first thing I want to dive into is this notion of The Conduit being ‘generic’. What isn’t generic these days? You can boil down games like Killzone 2 and Halo 3 to the following: save someone/something from aliens. Many games fall into that category; The Conduit is one. Does it make it generic? Sure, if that’s the criteria you’ll use to label games with the same basic premise. Does it take away anything from the game? Not at all! Save the President from aliens seems to be the story, but it’s not quite so simple..

So why is this game on the Wii? Motion controls! No really! The Conduit really does use motion controls! Why would I point out something so obvious? Well, it seems many people, myself included, are not too impressed with what motion controlled games on the Wii offer. For every game that uses motion controls properly (meaning at least as interactive as Wii Sports), there are seemingly ten games that use motion, but in a non-engaging way. The recent Indiana Jones game is an example of that; crack your whip by holding B and flicking your wrist, punch by flicking your wrist, etc – waggling instead of using at least semi-realistic movements. If done correctly, motion controls can be an amazing way to interface with games. That’s what is special about The Conduit; it feels like an FPS should and the motion controls become so unnoticeable, you don’t realize you are using motion controls. I think this is where people lose sight a bit. That you don’t notice the motion controls is an achievement on it’s own! Do you realize how good that is and what a compliment it is to the developers? Do you realize what a slap in the face it is to all the developers making bullshit, half-assed motion controlled games? Face it, the Wii is drowning in shit titles, regardless of how good sales are. Titles that really utilize the capabilities of motion control are much too few and far between. Thankfully, The Conduit is one of the few gems. At this time, no other system can offer motion controls; I have a feeling other developers will be looking at High Voltage for tips on how to do motion controls right in an FPS. As a side note, this game does not support Wii Motion Plus, but, as you’ll soon find out once you get used to a control scheme, it’s not needed. You’ll have no problem aiming and doing whatever you’d like, so Motion Plus is not missed.

By now, I’m pretty sure people do not expect XB360/PS3 quality graphics from the Wii, so there’s no need to go there. However, that does not give developers the OK to bypass even trying to make quality graphics the system is capable of. I assure you, though, that High Voltage is not guilty of this. In fact, they built their own engine for this game, and it shows. The graphics are definitely solid. Sure, some wallpaper is used during outside levels, but, as in life, it’s important to focus on what you have rather than what you do not have. The great thing about this engine is that slowdown seems to be non-existent. While slowdown these days is generally unforgivable, FPS games are the worst if they are laden with hitches in the action. Thankfully, The Conduit tosses around numerous enemies, explosions, and the like with no problem whatsoever!

The music is well done, with suspenseful tunes as you creep down hallways, upbeat and lively notes when in the middle of heated combat, and so on. I’m glad the music wasn’t an oversight in The Conduit. The other various effects are fitting; neither outstanding nor poor, but definitely fitting. I generally don’t spend much time discussing music, as that is a pretty subjective element. Either it fits for the type of game or it doesn’t; in this case it does.

Using your ASE is pretty cool, as its purpose is to locate and activate hidden sensors for opening doors and such. It also can be used to decipher hidden messages scrawled onto walls. Mostly these messages are historical references, from somewhat standard knowledge to the conspiracy theories. With the smooth controls, it’s not at all cumbersome nor does the process of using your ASE interfere with the flow. Attempting to find all the hidden messages and discs is a cool little ‘achievement’ (yes, they really call it that), so fans of hunting for goodies will enjoy!

When it comes to multi-player, it seems that most people are enjoying what The Conduit has to offer. While my experience with online play was limited, I did notice the pretty standard modes of play existed. It wasn’t too hard to find a game, whether it was local or worldwide. What I did check out was pretty lag-free, so that’s always good news. Even though I’m not really into multi-player shooters online, I’d definitely recommend what this game has to offer.

If you miss out on The Conduit, then I don’t understand why you even own a Wii (unless you just really don’t like the FPS genre). Go buy this game now and show publishers/developers that the ‘core’ really wants the Wii to be more than a waggle-fest!

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