The genre-versatile High Voltage Software finally has its follow-up to one of the very few FPS titles for the Nintendo Wii. While coming out in a week overshadowed by sequels on other platforms, this sci-fi shooter has a number of things going for it with features that followers of this now-series will appreciate.
- Solid Wii first person shooter
- Well-implemented Wii Motion Plus functionality
- Variety in locales
- Unpolished multiplayer
- Little incentive to try out new weapons
- "Chase" style premise
Conduit 2 Review:
When High Voltage Software released the first Conduit, it helped fill a genre void for Wii shooters. It didn’t hurt that it was a new IP and in a market space where it’s hard to think of other similar non-ports aside from say, the Red Steel series. From a pessimist’s point of view, the adequate quality of Conduit 2 is another glaring reminder of what a shame it is that more FPS developers haven’t given the Wii a chance.
The Other John Adams
Continuing right from where the last game left off, lead character Michael Ford is in pursuit of the maniacal John Adams, leader of the secret government organization known as The Trust. Having laid waste to Washington D.C. with the aid of an alien army in the previous game, Adams looks to carry out his plans for more unsurprising destruction. For better or worse, it’s weekend SyFy material.
I was never really a fan of “hey you just missed him” videogame story narratives and that is pretty much how Conduit 2 plays out. I pretty much had to forget that I was pursing Adams from a motivation standpoint and just focused on clearing out Drudge soldiers wherever the game told me to go, knowing that that I would most likely catch up to Adams near the end anyway. I also couldn’t decide if I liked Ford’s new, more vocal personality. Often his sense of bravado sounds like Nathan Drake trying to do Duke Nukem impressions.
Now, Come The Bullets
Not counting the Atlantian hub area you reach in the second chapter, the majority of the game is traditionally linear for a first person shooter. That said, the levels are definitely not straight lines. This is best exemplified in the Siberian level, an area that features mountainside caves, outposts with inconveniently placed ladders, and bases placed on cliff walls. The only real break from the linearity is in a brief section in China where you need to investigate multiple adjacent rooms in order to progress. While the overall journey didn’t feel especially original, I certainly wasn’t bored. It does help that the game throws it share of curveballs, mostly in the form of unexpectedly large waves of enemies from time to time.
In terms of taking down the Drudge, you’ll never be short of weapons, ones that can either be found in storage rooms or from fallen enemies. Fans of Resistance will enjoy the Shrieker, a weapon that fires a guided projectile as well as the Hive Cannon, the obligatory rapid fire gun that shoots around corners. The only downside is with the SCAR Assault Rifle, a weapon effective enough that even after trying out the other weapons, I kept coming back to this gun as it gave me a solid firing rate and all the headshots I needed. There’s even a weapon that can hit enemies through walls and cover, but it doesn’t prove much worth when it takes time to enable a lock-on and the enemies move out of cover regularly anyway. It was a very nice touch that you got to keep your current pair of weapons as you transitioned to the next chapter, a benefit even some of the best first person shooters do not provide.
It's A Shooter On The Wii!
As additional options to the player, Conduit 2 to supports both the Classic Controller and the Wii MotionPlus. The benefits of using the Wii MotionPlus can be felt almost immediately when compared to the Wii Remote, although killing AI-controlled aliens is more often than not much easier than fragging real life opponents via multiplayer.
With no preemptive Wii Friend Code exchange needed, the fact that it’s so easy to jump into to a game once again make me wonder why there aren’t more online competitive Wii games. High Voltage Software does make the opportunity count; there are no fewer than 14 modes to choose from and improves upon the multiplayer from the first Conduit. Many are the trusted and familiar formats like Capture The Flag, Deathmatch and taking control points. Where the game does get creative is in integrating the ASE, the little ball that Michael Ford carries in the story. In multiplayer you can play a match involving throwing the ASE into the opponent’s goal. That’s not to say Conduit 2’s multiplayer is a stellar experience. When it performs well, it conveys a frenetic old school shooter vibe in the spirit of Quake Arena. When the performance drops (which will happen once in a while) you’ll have to contend with disappearing opponents and frame rate issues. Unsurprisingly, the latter occurs most likely when the matches are at full capacity.
This Is The End
These issues are certainly not deal breakers, and are made up for the fact that there is still a satisfying amount of content to enjoy in both the story and multiplayer. More than anything, Conduit 2 plays like a gift to those who took a chance with the first game. Much of the multiplayer feels like it was designed with community feedback in mind and the story is obviously much easier to appreciate by having the frame of reference of the first game. It would be a sad if this was the last decent shooter to grace the Wii, but at least the planned follow up on the 3DS will carry on the story.