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CVG
65 Reviews

The Conduit

Wii's Halo? More like Wii's BlackSite

Many Wii owners have been excitedly awaiting The Conduit, "a Wii game that looks like a 360 title" boasted the dev. Unfortunately, the final product is neither technically very impressive nor a particularly noteworthy shooter.

The premise has secret agent-type Mr. Ford (that's you) in a near future Washington DC, where he quickly uncovers a government conspiracy involving aliens, a secret agency known as 'The Trust' and begins shooting explosive barrels in the Pentagon. So far, so generic.

Narrative is driven by Metal Gear Solid-esque codec briefings and the ever-present radio in your ear. Even here the voice acting is truly House of the Dead-calibre rubbish.

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The best bit of the single-player campaign, as you'd expect for a shooter on Wii, is its control scheme. Neither overly sensitive like Red Steel nor requiring time to master like Metroid Prime 3, The Conduit's Wii controls feel just about right and we had few complaints.

Aiming and shooting is naturally assigned to the Wii Remote and B trigger, while melee attacks are quickly initiated with a thrust of the controller and grenades with a throw of the Nunchuk. The option's there to customise your control set-up too if you wish, but you'll probably never use it. High Voltage has obviously invested a lot of time here and it shows.

Unfortunately every other element of The Conduit's make up, from its generic alien baddies, stupid soldiers and dull puzzles, is as bland as Roger Federer's face.

Far too much of the disappointing solo campaign has you progressing through lifeless, repetitive corridors, engaging in firefights with all the strategy and excitement of a shooting gallery, before moving on to the next mission and doing it all over again.

Missions have you chasing down alien baddies in The Pentagon, the White House and various secret government bases, with objectives varying from "go here," "kill these" and little in-between.

The centre stage 'gimmick' around which the solo campaign is wrapped is the All Seeing Eye; basically a futuristic torch which finds hidden switches and uncovers invisible bombs.

It's a nice idea, but the gameplay behind it ultimately isn't deep enough to build an entertaining seven-hour experience. Even though you'll have to fiddle with the Wii Remote and pull out a new gadget to solve them, they're still the same switch puzzles most FPS games left behind years ago.

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In an added frustration the ASE makes the most irritating, shrieking beep whenever an hidden object is in the immediate area. How High Voltage's QA team didn't go marching into the development halls, demanding that this stroke-inducingly horrible noise be removed from every line of code, we'll never know.

The blandness unfortunately isn't limited to just the puzzles and The Conduit simply lacks the standard of set-piece and design we're used to seeing in even the most run-of-the-mill current gen first-person shooters.

With the exception of the Half-Life-esque alien guns, the weapon roster is strictly generic 'shotguns and assault rifle' fare and thanks to stiff enemy animation that has alien numpties failing to react to any of your shots, the process of gunning itself isn't particularly satisfying either.

The fact that almost every enemy in the game flows from infinite, alien-spawning portals just hidden around the corner doesn't help. Every grunt killed is quickly replaced with another and you're forced to abandon all strategy to run and gun towards the aforementioned portals. It really is the definition of mindless shooter design.

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