reviewed on WII
Playing The Conduit was a unique experience. During my time in the game I saw it change from mediocre to outstanding, frustration turned to elation. Let me tell you my story with a game that made me feel like Dr. Jekyll when I started, and Mr. Hyde when I finally saw the end credits.
Story-wise, The Conduit does not do anything groundbreaking. A government agency is trying to track down a terrorist named Prometheus and sets one of its top covert operatives to the task. Prometheus is not your average terrorist, trying to blow up a plane or drive a truck into a middle-eastern embassy. No, Prometheus is ambitiously planning to bring chaos and destruction to the entire planet. You play the lead character named Michael Ford, who looks as generic as his name.
Getting to know each other
As my introduction suggested, the game and I didn’t start off very friendly. The game was enjoyable at times, but it lacked any real challenge and had some utterly frustrating qualities. The enemy AI, for instance, had a lot of A, but very little I. They would just stand around, waiting to be shot without any response at all. Yet as puzzling as the AI’s behavior was, it was the controls that really started me worrying about The Conduit. It seemed to me that the developers had gone too far in trying to make use of the motion controls, and had forgotten that a game actually has to be playable.
A shake of the nunchuk causes grenades to be tossed at your enemy. As you can’t control their direction, grenades rarely hit their mark so why implement them at all? A forward motion of the Wii Remote handles melee combat but your moves cause your aim to become disoriented, which means you can’t really follow up on your attack. What fun is that?
There are other things that detract from the overall experience. Much of the difficulty factor lies in the sheer amount of enemies that the game occasionally throws at you. This wouldn’t be so bad if you would have lots of firepower, but most weapons in The Conduit are grossly underpowered for this sort of mayhem. Oddly enough, I was still enjoying the game despite these obvious mood spoilers and kept on playing. I am glad I did.
At one point, I was left to fend for myself at the Jefferson Memorial with an onslaught of enemy alien invaders pouring in. This was the climax of my frustration as I just could not seem to win. At this time I made an effort to mess with the controls. Most Wii games don’t allow you to remap the controls, but The Conduit is a positive exception to this rule. With the default controls, many functions were mapped to motion. I remapped some of the often used ones, hooking up the grenades with my left index finger and melee to the minus button. From that moment on, everything changed for the better.
With a few adjustments, the game changed from mediocre to almost outstanding. There were still a few moments where it slowed down a bit too much for my liking, but on average the pace really picked up and many of my frustrations were no longer an issue. Suddenly, The Conduit turned into something that resembled a shooter!
The bright side
After having ‘fixed’ the game, my experience with The Conduit was much more positive. I had time to notice that the scenery changes very often. There are tons of different locations in the game and they all look very unique. The same variation can be found in the different enemy types and weapons selection.
One thing I did learn from The Conduit: pointing a remote at a screen to aim is a much more intuitive mechanic than doing it via an analogue stick. While precision is an issue with the standard Wii Remote, the game can adjust itself so that new players can pull off cool headshots that would normally take ages to master with a standard controller.
And with that, The Conduit turned out to be a pretty decent game after all. With some adjustments, the game is a great entry level First-Person Shooter. It has a gentle learning curve and a high fun factor. While its story is simple, it does have a cool plot twist somewhere along the line that is sure to surprise and add some shine to The Conduit. Now that I have played through the game, I can’t help but wonder where Wii games will go from here. The Conduit certainly shows the console’s potential.
No Pros and Cons at this time