Cubed3 Nintendo gaming, Wii and DS

Conduit 2 (Wii) Review

Review for Conduit 2 on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

When you ponder the Wii line-up, you probably imagine bold, bright and joyful palettes, action adventuring, platforming, party games, RPGs and the range for the casuals. Shooting games, one of the more obvious genres that could benefit from the Wii Remote and Nunchuk, have been here and there, though oddly it’s not one of the system’s stronger genres despite the potential for Nintendo's motion and pointing control scheme. There have been few, but notable, standouts like Treyarch's sublime Call of Duty series and Eurocom's re-imagining of the Nintendo 64 classic Goldeneye that offered a comprehensive first person shooter experience on the Wii, but there is still a large hole to fill. High Voltage Software attempted to add to the roster with The Conduit to mixed fanfare - have they now cooked up a meaty sequel for Nintendo in Conduit 2?

Just under two years ago American studio High Voltage put together what they had hoped was a perfect formula for the shooting enthusiast Wii owner starved of games that dominate on the high definition brothers. The result was a mixed affair. We praised The Conduit for its robust and flexible control scheme, but were disappointed in the lack of variety in the game's level and enemy design. Past the five minute mark you'd venture into familiar territory. An hour in and it was as if we were playing through the same budget Hollywood production up until the rather anti-climactic end.

But what was appealing was the attention to detail in the Wii's control. Even without Nintendo's MotionPlus adapter, gunning down enemies, albeit the exact same ones, was a treat to the point where using the Wii Remote and Nunchuk together felt more natural and certainly more accurate than traditional dual analogue. Whilst High Voltage aren't masters of originality, they are kings of control, particularly on the Wii.

The same can be said with direct sequel Conduit 2 - the game has near perfect controls for a Wii first person shooter, and it's even tighter than the original. When brandishing secret government Agent Ford's pistol for the first time upon a murky oil rig there's an instant sense of near pixel perfect accuracy; moving around to aim, walk and talk is fluid and refined. The only thing that would top the system would be popping real bullets into your television - though this isn't recommended - or taking lessons from 007's Baron Samedi, but he's dead. This is without the MotionPlus attachment. Slot in Nintendo's extra sensor and there's that ever-so-slight extra level of precision - not as essential as you might think, but certainly worth using if you have access to the tech.

Screenshot for Conduit 2 on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Those who aren't comfortable or simply prefer a traditional setup can go for the Classic Controller, but oddly enough, there is no option for those with GameCube controllers, so finding four Wii Remotes and Nunchuk/Classic Controllers might be a slight chore. Nonetheless, it does seem as if support for dual analogue has been tapped in last minute - or perhaps we've spent slightly too long pointing at our alien foes.

There are a handful of control additions that go, pardon the pun, hand-in-hand with the level design this time round. High Voltage have borrowed conventions from Call of Duty, Halo and other current first person shooters, such as the ability to lower your weapon to sprint, leap across compatible ledges, build cover from surroundings and customise weapon loadouts, appearance and abilities.

There's a greater feeling of space to manoeuvre. Rooms are less linear in design, especially when venturing into the more organic and less building-driven settings. There still is a fixed path, but with larger areas and more random enemy placement, it's less of a blast-everything-in-sight affair and more considered design. It leads to more intense, varied shootouts intertwined with voice over work between player and off-screen helper. Enemies are also less clumsy and aren't all conveniently waiting for you to leisurely stroll through the front door. Instead our gun-toting foes are having heated debates about carbon dioxide levels and global warming. Once you stumble in, it results in three distinctive actions: run for cover, turn around and shoot or, if alien, pounce and start to claw away. It does allow for a hint of stealth - not quite Goldeneye 007, but there’s more realistic enemy placement. It's during these shootout sequences that things start to go funny - some stare in stunned silence, perhaps fantasising how Agent Ford would look without his special armoured suit, before you casually pop a handful. Others are far more aggressive, but it leaves a quite bizarre and mixed experience. Sure, enemies are smarter this time round, but there's still a lot of inconsistency in the AI system - they’re more like of a series of moving targets who occasionally fight back.

Screenshot for Conduit 2 on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

There is a bigger pack of enemies to choose from this time, fortunately, and each carry randomised weapons, headgear and armour, but once you've played past an hour or so, it becomes a touch predictable. Despite slight microscopic variations many foes look the same, over and over, still becoming repetitive over the duration of the single player campaign. Regardless, the improved intelligence and environments do make for a more rewarding and challenging campaign.

To complement the shooting spree there are a range of bosses, some of a pure button mashing nature, others are more environment- or story-based battles. Take the opening level for example - a huge sea creature gradually breaks through rooms, trapping unsuspecting guards with its grimy tentacles. Nasty! It's these moments that break up standard play and keep the solo experience flowing.

Agent Ford has players roaming around the world, through dense, cold Altantis to the more exotic oriental locale, even stopping off in a merry ol' England that's been painted over with a slight hint of alien. These environments look gorgeous - there's a high level of detail in textures and animation that does push the Wii to its limits, punishing it with a very slight dollop of slowdown in the more complex scenes. That said, the art style is a touch dated and generic in places, but it’s certainly a refreshing change from the endless stream of corridors littered with enemies waiting patiently to kill. The more open areas, like the frozen Siberian wasteland for example, are a step in the right direction - you'll still face an inconsistent AI army, but there are more chances to explore your surroundings. Unravelling hidden areas do come with merit, like unlocking secrets to spend on upgrades later.

We've got a near-perfect control scheme, better environments and a mixed gameplay experience, so what's next? The story. With the direct follow-up we continue exactly where we left off - Agent Ford continues his mission against a mysterious foe who intends to take over the earth with a horde of alien creatures. Armed with a delicious arsenal of human and extraterrestrial weaponry we venture forth across the world in a bid to wrap up the ongoing plot and save the world from impending doom. It's a slightly riddled adventure, and there perhaps aren't as many twists as there are in the first game, but coupled with more ‘epic’ bosses, this leads to a more interesting and certainly more engaging plot to balance out the slightly generic gameplay. There are points where Ford and his voice-over companion mock the setup, even joking about the repetitiveness in design from time to time. It leads you to wonder whether the cheesy B-movie design is intentional - SEGA and Headstrong Games were blatant with House of the Dead: Overkill, but here it's a bit unclear.

Screenshot for Conduit 2 on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

After the ten hour-or-so solo campaign it's onto the multiplayer action. Conduit 2 features both single and multiplayer online, offline with revised modes and an overall smoother experience than the first game. Offline multiplayer was omitted previously, but is now available in full force - letting players go up against one another in classic split-screen deathmatches or bundle together in the Gears of War-inspired Invasion Mode. Here you fend off armed guards and alien creatures in waves. It's a basic addition, and certainly more enjoyable with more players, but as with the solo AI, waves become more of the same after the initial batch.

Regular human play is far more rewarding - balanced and varied, with a large range of weapons available, as well as more unique and expansive locations in which to do battle. The same applies to online. It's a touch smoother with voice chat and the handy Ally to exchange friend codes with those in public lobbies - we found it far more stable and rewarding than before. You can also add Rivals, people you have played against before, to a list, friend code-free. Character classes and custom loadouts, a convention in modern shooters, are also available across the different modes, adding a much-needed layer of flexibility. Whilst not quite up to the pace of Goldeneye or Call of Duty, Conduit 2 is a worthy alternative. The original game’s online was plagued with errors, hacking, cheating and the like. There is less of it here, but with rumblings of cheaters and hackers roaming the online streets, it may be a short time before online play is plagued with cheating rodents. That said, with little slowdown, various maps and options, it's a side to Conduit 2 that will hold down Wii-owning FPS enthusiasts for some time.

Screenshot for Conduit 2 on Wii- on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Gameplay

An improvement over the original with tighter, more responsive controls, plus the ability to use traditional controls as an alternative. A more cinematic experience in the solo campaign, though let down by inconsistent AI and a bizarre, cheesy storyline. Multiplayer is the stronger contender here: splitscreen and online work well and have plenty of options on offer.

Graphics

One of the best looking games on Wii. Highly detailed character models, weapons and a smooth framerate provide a visually appealing experience. There's a greater sense of care and consideration in the environment designs, though perhaps not the most original of locations. High Voltage has established a style that could blossom into a true identity of its own with further nurturing. The only issue is variety - whilst the character models look impressive, there's still not enough variation to make it that bit more special.

Sound

Nothing too special, but good enough. General Hollywood inspired samples and appropriate, atmospheric backing sounds depending on environment. Weapon sound effects have been fine tuned and have that added “oomph" - far more convincing and meaty.

Value

The solo play will last around ten hours, but multiplayer takes the experience further online and through split-screen local. Frenzied living room shootouts and frantic wireless play will extend the game further, especially with online chat and easier friend code exchange.

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Good - Bronze Award

About this score
Rated 7 out of 10

Conduit 2 is a massive step forward from the original, refined and improved after criticism from fans and the press; it’s a worthy addition to your first person shooter collection, if only for the multiplayer. It looks great and handles well, but is let down by weak AI and a bizarre storyline. Whilst High Voltage has lessons to learn from other studios to improve art direction and variety, it has set the benchmark for near-perfect Wii Remote and Nunchuk control. Conduit 2 is not quite top tier, but it is fun and one of the most well-rounded titles on Wii to date.

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01.05.2011

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Developer

High Voltage

Publisher

SEGA

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

Reader comments - add yours today Comments on this Review

There are no replies to this review yet. Why not be the first?
Senior ModeratorStaff Member

It landed at No.26 on the UK Wii Top 40 in its first week. Has anyone seen any advertising for this? If not, it could go the exact same way Red Steel 2 did - straight down and disappear without a trace within a couple of weeks...

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter
Staff Member

I haven't seen any advertising at all for it (infact, I didn't even know it was out), which is a shame really because it seems like a decent game.

Stuart Lawrence
Follow Me on twitter :: @Stulaw90 || My Youtube || Backloggery
NNID: Stulaw
Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Well then SEGA has nobody to blame other than itself. There was the chance, as with Red Steel 2, to establish a strong userbase from the owners of the first game and those newcomers to Wii looking for an alternative to CoD: Black Ops...

RS2 suffered due to its advertising budget being sliced to pieces, and if there is no push for C2, then it will suffer even more.

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter
Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Conduit 2 definitely needs a boost in terms of advertising - haven't seen any TV, internet or magazine campaigns since launch.

Despite its flaws, it is a solid shooter that is up there with Goldeneye Wii and CoD - do hope it does sell well so HV/SEGA can continue things on the Wii2/Cafe/N6.

Cubed3 Admin/Founder & Designer
Senior ModeratorStaff Member

I didn't know this was out either until someone mentioned on the forums that he had purchased the game. In fact I had completely forgotten about the game.

I doubt it'll do well, I haven't even seen a banner on VG websites, which is the strict minimum for advertising on a game. What's wrong with those guys at Sega ??

Cubed3 Limited Staff :: Review and Feature Writer
Staff Member

Just got this game a couple of days ago.. loving it so far. Only done one mission in the campaign, but the online multiplayer is great. Does anyone else have this and want to play some time? :3

Mush123- i've got the game but havent got around to trying it online yet. Just done the first level.

Wii Code: 6399-3866-6269-0745
PSN: SherWiinator Currently playing: LOZ: SS
Wishlist: Last Story, Pandora's tower, Modern Warfare 3 and Battlefield 3
Staff Member

Sherwiinator said:
Mush123- i've got the game but havent got around to trying it online yet. Just done the first level.
What's your FC? I'll add you when I get on. Smilie

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