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.
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.
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.