The Conduit: A Drudge From The Past

By Louise Yang . July 2, 2009 . 1:11pm

con1

The Conduit is High Voltage Software’s contribution to the FPS genre on the Wii. It starts off with a convoluted government conspiracy plot that takes itself way too seriously. Never one to pay attention to plot in an FPS, I just skipped through most of the voice-overs so I could get right into shooting crap up.

 

It took a rough couple of minutes as I grew accustomed to the controls. The analog stick of the nunchuck is used for movements like strafing, while the wiimote’s movements are used for aiming and turning. I had to tweak the sensitivities a bit to feel comfortable. It ended up being a hybrid between an FPS and light-gun game. This way, small movements with the wiimote would move the crosshair around the screen while larger movements resulted in turning. I also switched the mapping of the default zoom and crouch buttons.

 

After adjusting the buttons and sensitivity to my liking, I found myself enjoying the controls. They’re certainly not as accurate as my favorite form of FPS control, keyboard and mouse, but I liked the Wii’s setup more than the dual analog sticks of the 360 and PS3. Having to physically aim the wiimote to aim the crosshair in a 1:1 relationship made the game feel more authentic. I even liked the fact that I had to jolt the nunchuck to throw a grenade and stab the wiimote forward to execute a melee attack.

 

con3

 

Unfortunately, the game went downhill as soon as I got used to the controls. The Wii lacks the graphical capabilities of HD consoles, but boy the graphics in The Conduit are ugly. They are so low-res, I thought I was playing Goldeneye on the N64.

 

The enemies are not that much better. Their movements are stiff, they all look fairly generic, and they’re as dumb as a sack of destroyable wooden crates. Most of the ones I ran into just headed straight for me as soon as I walked within their activation range.

 

I was unsatisfied with the single player experience after only a few hours, so I hopped onto multiplayer and gave that a try. Luckily, there’s basic matchmaking and I wasn’t restricted to only playing with people whom I traded friend codes with. It only took a few minutes of searching to jump into a regional match.

 

con2

 

Remember multiplayer FPS’s like Quake in the mid 90s? That’s what multiplayer feels like in The Conduit. Player models are jerky and move around awkwardly. The environments are uninspired and empty, and it all boils down to a bunch of people running around in bland rooms and corridors. It worked in the 90s, but this blast from the past just feels too dated now.

 

Yes, the FPS department is barren on the Wii. Yes, beggars can’t be choosers. But, The Conduit just isn’t the answer for anyone hankering for some fast-paced shooting action. While I liked the control scheme, I couldn’t help thinking that the rest of the game should be better, or at least, less generic. One thing playing The Conduit did is make me crave a new Metroid Prime game on the Wii. This is one game that could easily have been judged from its cover, which is atrocious by the way.


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  • lostinblue

    I don’t think controls have to compete with PC gaming, I think though, they’re more immersive. For me, anyway.

    For instance, a mouse has to be more precise when, if you stop moving the cursor stops… but isn’t it sort of more realistic that the aim moves arround a little? perhaps not “ideal” but more realistic/immersive/interactive?

    That’s the feeling I had with Metroid Prime 3 at least (haven’t played any FPS on the Wii, other than Red Steel since launch)

    I think FPS’s on the Wii have been menosprezed for no good reason, hopefully High Voltage can change that, but their game has a lot of artistic flaws, IMO. I’m on the fence, wether to buy it at launch or not. (I’m in europe, not out here just yet)

  • David Witter

    “The Wii lacks the graphical capabilities of HD consoles, but boy the graphics in The Conduit are ugly. They are so low-res, I thought I was playing Goldeneye on the N64.”

    Take off those rose-colored glasses, Louise. While The Conduit might not be on the same level as Metroid Prime or Super Mario Galaxy, comparing it to Goldeneye is just silly. This is especially evident on the later levels, though I suspect you never saw those since you apparently stopped the campaign after an hour.

    “The enemies are not that much better. Their movements are stiff, they all look fairly generic, and they’re as dumb as a sack of destroyable wooden crates.”

    You DEFINITELY didn’t play the game for more than an hour, then. At least turn the difficulty level up a notch or two before dismissing the AI…

    • http://www.nakedsushi.net/ Louise

      HVS doesn’t have to make something on par with Super Mario Galaxy, but they could definitely do better in the art department. I write the review in the perspective of a player. If I’m not hooked within the first few hours, what’s going to keep me playing? With so many good games out now, just the mere promise of “it’s going to get better” is too flimsy to keep a player going.

      As for turning the AI on a higher difficulty, will that make them move more smoothly? I played on the default difficulty, which I assume is what most players would be doing.

      • David Witter

        The enemies on the default difficulty are pretty basic in the early levels. Later in the game they get smarter and use squad tactics, flush you out with grenades, shoot more accurately, the whole kit ‘n kaboodle. Since you apparently couldn’t be bothered to play through to the later levels, raising the difficulty is another way to see the AI strut its stuff sooner.

      • Dorf

        “I write the review in the perspective of a player. ”

        as opposed to all the reviewers who don’t play the game at all.

        This is garbage. It smacks of the same crap as when that one game mag gave Paper Mario a lower score because they thought it wouldn’t appeal to readers of their magazine.

        • http://www.nakedsushi.net/ Louise

          Let me clarify.

          If I were a regular player, picked up the game, played a few hours and didn’t like it, would I keep playing? Of course not. I would put the game down and go play something else.

          Also, don’t forget opinions are just that: opinions. Ultimately, that’s what all reviewers have. It’s not gospel. It’s just one person’s thoughts.

          • Dorf

            1. So you’re under the impression that siliconera is being read by “regular players”?

            2. An opinion is often made much more valuable by critical insight, which this review….could probably be said to lack.

  • http://www.nakedsushi.net/ Louise

    You’re right in saying the controls on the Wii makes an FPS more immersive than the keyboard and mouse. I think that’s why I liked it.

    If you’re on the fence about it, I’d suggest holding off for a price-drop, unless you’re really hungry for an FPS on the Wii.

  • rob

    Great game, but horrible review. Graphics actually are way more than decent, Wii remote is one of the more fun ways to play an FPS and much more accurate than thumbsticks, the game’s actually a lot of fun, there actually is fast-paced shooting action.

    You really could have just said “i didn’t like it” – you didn’t have to make negative things up just to pretend there were reasons.

    • http://www.nakedsushi.net/ Louise

      I wouldn’t call the game fast-paced. Something like Q3 is fast-paced.

      As for making negative things up, not sure how that applies?

      I liked the controls. I didn’t like like the art direction (too many inconsistent styles) and the Wii hardware can handle a lot more than people would like to believe, so there’s no excuse for how enemy models move.

      There were times where enemies looked like they were SLIDING toward me instead of running because their model was stuck.

  • daizyujin

    Boy these comments are getting ugly. A review is an opinion and in her opinion the game is not that good. I have been playing now a couple of hours myself and frankly, I found that a lot of what she has said to be true. It isn’t awful but especially if you have access to one of the HD consoles, this is far from a GREAT game. The controls are awesome but that can’t make up for lackluster game design.

    To LostInBlue:

    Maybe I can help you. Keep in mind that the single player is REALLY short. At 1 hour I was 27% complete if that gives you an idea. If you are getting this, it better be for multiplayer (especially as expensive as games are in Europe.)

    Also one other thing. I was stoked about the fact it uses WiiSpeak since I have not been able to use it much but you have to share friend codes for this to work so it really does limit it’s use.

    Overall, not bad, but not great. Put this control in a better game and you could have game of the year. It is immersive and plain awesome. This isn’t a problem based on the hardware, it just isn’t a very fleshed out game.

    • http://www.nakedsushi.net/ Louise

      >Put this control in a better game and you could have game of the year. It is immersive and plain awesome. This isn’t a problem based on the hardware, it just isn’t a very fleshed out game.

      This sums up my thoughts about the game completely. While playing, I just kept wishing the rest of the game had the same polish the controls had.

      • TurkeyPotPie

        How do the controls compare to Metroid Prime 3 or Medal of Honor Heroes 2 (if you have played that)? I like the idea of waggle for FPS, but the implementation on those two games didn’t live up to the hype IMO. MOHH2 was okay, but in MP3 I ended up just wishing I could go back to the earlier games’ controls.

        • daizyujin

          It generally works but in my experience, the tossing of grenades can be iffy. It works, but there are hickups with it.

          In my personal opinion, it would have been better with a button press, but this seems to be something that the reviews are pretty evenly split on so it is more likely just a personal preference.

  • Tom Cribbins

    Are you insane Louise..? Graphically this is the best looking game on the Wii. Just about everything is bump mapped and it also features gloss and diffuse mapping, add to that the focus blur and real-time water reflection, and what appears to be HDR lighting effects as well as some nice particle effects – and all from a console without pixel shaders. Whilst your review is an opinion, criticising the graphical quality and comparing it to an N64 title is just plain ridiculous.

    If you just run and gun you’ll complete this in 7 hours, but the single player campaign has a little more to it if you take the time to explore and find the various hidden secret weapons, data discs and alien writing.

    The online multiplayer is a blast and is definitely one of the title’s strong points. I can personally see myself playing this online for months.

    This is by far the best FPS game available on the Wii, and will be until High Voltage Software finish The Grinder.

    • Dorf

      cool can you sign me up for this ad program too

    • http://www.nakedsushi.net/ Louise

      >Graphically this is the best looking game on the Wii.

      Whoa, whoa. Maybe they sent me the wrong copy of the game. My copy definitely didn’t look like what you claimed. Please, can I have that version?

      As for online multiplayer, it was fun until some people hopped up who were using the zoom-in and quick-firing shotgun exploits.

      You’re right that it’s probably the best FPS available for the Wii, and I love the console, but even so, that’s not saying much for the game. There aren’t that many FPS games on the Wii.

      • http://robosheep.tumblr.com/ RoboSheep

        What exploits are you talking about here?

        • http://www.nakedsushi.net/ Louise

          I don’t want to encourage exploits in multiplayer by describing how to do it here, but you can increase the default firing rate of the shotgun by doing something. It’s pretty easy to figure out once you get gunned down by some rapid fire shots.

          • http://robosheep.tumblr.com/ RoboSheep

            alright, fair enough, sounds like there is an actual exploit. A lot of time people just suck at a game and scream “hacks” but if there’s actually a (il)legitimate exploit that’s seeing widespread use that’s a damn shame. MarioKart DS because unplayable due to snaking for instance.

            That said, I recognize that you might be going for some hyperbole or comparing the quality of the area textures and not the models but you sound like you have played neither game when you boldly state,
            “The Wii lacks the graphical capabilities of HD consoles, but boy the graphics in The Conduit are ugly. They are so low-res, I thought I was playing Goldeneye on the N64.”

            http://images.google.com/images?q=golden+eye+n64
            Now honestly say the above line again if you can.

          • Mist

            Thank You for posting that comment! This game was compared to Golden Eye 64 what kind of smut is that?! The environment on Golden Eye looks horrible compared to the Conduit’s environment!
            Louise I’m sorry for this outburst I’m having but comparing this game to a N64 game really ticked me off I just hope you don’t say their upcoming 2010 games, The Grinder http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_W0Om58C-nM
            and Gladiator A.D. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eglbYJLmruI
            Look like Game Boy Advanced games!

    • http://www.mikegotgame.com/ Mike

      There are two aspects of visual beauty: technical and art. The Conduit is a great technical feat with its pretty “next-gen” effects, but its artwork isn’t very good.

      I think what Louise was trying to say is that The Conduit’s art direction is pretty bad.

  • Mist

    You compared this to a N64 game you’ve got to be kidding me I don’t even know why Go Nintendo bothered posting this review on their site this review is as garbage as you say the game is. If you didn’t like the A.i. than you should of turned the level up higher HVS said it themselves! What you say about the game’s graphics is ridiculous you sound exactly like those stubborn fanboys (or girl) this isn’t even a review this is like a troll post! You say the game is generic well of course it is and so is every other FPS games Halo 3 is generic, Killzone 2 is generic, Gears Of War 1 and 2 are both generic all FPS games this generation are all generic nothing is going to change! I do realize this is just opinion and what you and doesn’t matter and isn’t right but I don’t like this review its not good its horrible its ugly and its as disposable as disposable batteries!

    • daizyujin

      You know that is the problem with the designation of “troll,” it tends to be overused by people to describe somebody who they simply just don’t agree with. Just because you say you don’t like something doesn’t mean you are a “Troll.” Lets see you try to write a review for a games site and see if it is any better. I guess reviews are only supposed to be positive and conform to your personal opinion.

    • http://www.nakedsushi.net/ Louise

      How meta, a review of my review. I love it.

      I’m quite fond of my Wii and was genuinely interested in the game. It just failed to deliver. It’s as simple as that. No need to take it so personally.

      I agree, Halo 3 is generic and I don’t personally like playing it, but it has an established fan-base, I’ll give it that. If a developer wants to put out a brand new game, it needs some sort of hook. Gears of War (which isn’t technically an FPS btw) did that by introducing the cover system. The Conduit doesn’t have much of hook. Some would point out that the ASE in the game is unique, but it just seemed derivative of the visor in MP3.

  • Malek86

    I don’t agree that the textures are N64-level (maybe you don’t remember exactly how bad the N64 was), but it’s true that I’m not impressed in the least with this game’s graphics. Judging from all the screens I saw around, Serious Sam 2 on the Xbox looked tons better than this, and it even had lots of enemies on screen at a time. So the Wii should be able to do that much, I believe.

    Say, how are the controls compared to MOH2? That’s the only FPS I have on the Wii, and to be honest I wasn’t totally convinced by it – the motion worked well in some cases, and not so much in others (the sniper rifle, blergh).

    • http://www.nakedsushi.net/ Louise

      I believe the controls are similar to MOH2, but I haven’t played it. Wiimote to aim, nunchuk to move. I didn’t have any problems with controls in The Conduit once I tweaked it to my liking. The fully customizable controls is one of the best things about the game. I had no problem using the scope in weapons either.

  • Matthew

    The big problem with The Conduit is people’s inability to differentiate between graphics engine and art design. Sure with all kinds of fancy tech, High Voltage’s Quantum engine is capable of things many other Wii game’s aren’t. Problem is, High Voltage have not one jot of artistic skill – they give us corridors, they give us characterless foes and alien weaponry that look like brown smears. The Conduit is one of the ugliest games on Wii, enabled by some of the smartest tech.

    Why people defend it so fervently is beyond me. Sure, we want developers to treat the Wii seriously, but a bad developer remains a bad developer. High Voltage talk the talk, but their game don’t walk the walk. Louise is bang on about this one.

    • http://www.nakedsushi.net/ Louise

      Yeah, I could have explained that better. I was complaining mostly of the art design. One thing I can think of off the top of my head are inconsistencies in style between the background (walls, corridors, tables) and things like enemies. The background looks flat, while the enemies look like they were placed on a green screen, if that makes sense.

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