High Voltage Software’s “The Conduit” was trying something no one else seemed to be bothering with. It was a FPS title on the Wii and it wasn’t ugly or hard to control. In fact, there is much to praise about “The Conduit,” but mostly in relation to the potential it squandered. High Voltage Software came up with some impressive techniques to apply to the genre on Wii and with there being virtually no shooters on the Wii (certainly none worth playing) it seemed like it would be an instant hit, but became the game to avoid. As of this writing “The Conduit” is the best shooter on the Wii, but it was so heavily publicized as an attempt to fill the void in a near empty genre that it stood out like a sore thumb for all its faults. The game was not great.
“Conduit 2” is HIgh Voltage Software’s attempt to right some wrongs and based on the single player demonstration they definitely seemed to have taken past criticisms to heart.
The sequel features a more varied single player experience with some easily noticeable improvements made to the enemy’s AI. Enemies will dive away from grenades, seek out cover (maybe even flip over a table or two), and really come at you. By comparison, in the first title, they pretty much just stood there and shot at you, crouching every so often. As initially impressive as the first game’s technology was, the experience became a bore that was a struggle to play through. 2 definitely seems like it has a better chance of keep a player’s attention. And the AI changes aren’t all about combat either. Effort has been put into making the AI do things when you’re not interacting with them. They’ll have conversations with each other, fiddle with control panels, and the like rather than wait in a room for you to come and kill them. It makes for a better experience over all, even if it’s not something you actually notice until it’s pointed out for you. It improves everything on a more subconscious level, but any improvement is a good idea.
Multiplayer is virtually unchanged other than the new weapons and tweaks made to the single player game. All maps from the first game are returning with some tweaks to be listed along side the sequel’s new deathmatch maps. Multiplayer was the strong point of the first game, being an absolute blast for the most part save for that which was out of their control (Nintendo’s awful online infrastructure). But in addition to various deathmatch modes is Team Evasion, which is akin to Gear of War 2’s Horde Mode or Halo 3 ODST’s Firefight. This mode, and all multiplayer, supports four player split screen (something the first game lacked) and online play.
So the game is improved, certainly, but is it enough? I am weary because as much as I like High Voltage Software “Conduit 2” seems to be playing catch up to other FPS experiences. It doesn’t try to do its own thing other than with the story. And that story… well I can’t judge it based on the demonstration I have. The first level took place on an oil derek, which was cool, but then I found out that oil derek was in the BERMUDA TRIANGLE RIGHT OVER ATLANTIS.
I understand that the franchise is about aliens and secret organizations and aliens and double crosses and aliens, but let me just say this: There’s no such thing as a bad story, just bad presentation. But after the first game’s failure in telling its story I’m really afraid this title is going to annoy me. It seems like a story I would have come up with as a kid. The Bermuda Triangle… ships keeps disappearing there…. Atlantis… no one can find it!… The Bermuda Triangle is the path TO ATLANTIS BAM!