Today I made good on my quest to spend time with the single player portion of High Voltage’s “The Conduit.” It didn’t wow me as much as it did in multiplayer, but it’s still a sharp game. Level design throughout the demo (which, if the title screen is to be believed, was mission 07) was the shining star, which certainly jives with my earlier thoughts on the multiplayer component. High Voltage has some top notch guys over there. The game is essentially a shooter version of Prime 3 with some Perfect Dark thrown in for good measure. Aiming and maneuvering is as fluid as it ever was in Nintendo’s grand First Person Adventure and you even lock on to enemies. I can somewhat echo Cory and Kevin’s feelings regarding the alien weapons now that I’ve had some time with two of them. They’re just not as fun as the human weapons. However, they’re not THAT bad. They’re very gimmicky in that one will vaporize enemies and one will shoot a sort of alien missile ball that you can control the path of. They’re effective for their purpose and enjoyable, but don’t feel as solid or “real” as their human counterparts. But then I suppose that’s a more psychological thing and I felt the exact same way about Perfect Dark, although I will say their alien weapons SUCKED and “The Conduit” at least edges them out there.
Enemies do a better job of looking like they’ve been hit by you than in most FPS titles, but it’s still nowhere near the wonderful detail that GoldenEye and Perfect Dark brought to the table. It seems that if I continually shoot an alien in the legs it won’t even animate in an appropriate manner, simply falling back as if I had hit it in the chest. This isn’t a strike against the game at all, how can I be mad when all other games are like this? Still, you’d think someone since Perfect Dark would let me shoot a guy in the foot and have the enemy react appropriately.
The demo took me through random streets of Washington DC with plenty of crafty dumpsters and craters in the road to hide in. The AI doesn’t seem to be particularly special, but it does an adequate job. I’m almost disappointed that the most noteworthy thought I had after playing was how good the game looked. I really wanted to be blown away by the gameplay. However, don’t let my somewhat low tone throw you off. It’s still a very competent shooter and easily the best thing on the Wii for the genre. Even if the multiplayer wasn’t around it’d be worth looking into. It’s just not going to push the industry as much as I had hoped. On the fly control customization (more on that in the multiplayer impressions) continues to be excellent, though, and I hope other companies will realize that GAMES SHOULD DO THIS.