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9 Reviews

Conduit 2

All mouth and no trousers

After the way the original Conduit was hyped up for its 'Xbox 360-like' graphics, and the sequel was delayed for multiple improvements, you'd expect technical excellence to be at the top of Conduit 2's list of achievements.

So it's a surprise to see characters frozen in mid animation; enemies emptying guns into waist-high walls; mouths flapping in a feeble parody of lip-synching, twitching randomly for seconds after the dialogue reel has finished rolling.

Even if you can ignore the glitches, it's as though the last ten years of FPS games never happened. Yes, Conduit 2 is so anonymously generic - with its bland lead character, visor-wearing human foes and aliens that might as well pick up a power sword and yell 'wort wort-wort' - it could be any old low-rent Halo impersonator. You'd never mistake this for the saviour of Wii first-person gaming.

It's a shame, because the game does have a few nice touches. We like the bonus Conspiracy Items and other collectable bits and pieces you'll find scattered all over the levels if you take the time to scan with the All Seeing Eye.

We also appreciate being allowed back into any previously completed level via the main hub area. It doesn't make any sense from a story perspective, but if you're a completist then it's better than having to replay the entire game to get those last missing items.

There's even a handful of levels that seem to exist purely as item repositories. They're really small, filled with enemies that respawn in the exact same spots, and you won't even see them unless you locate the co-ordinates hidden in other areas. Why are they there?

A peek at the playing stats screen may reveal the answer. The game took us just four and a half hours to finish on normal difficulty, and about 25 minutes of that was spent walking around in circles in one area, looking for a badly signposted exit.

The level design is often quite poor. When we got stuck, bumping into every door in the room would sometimes reveal the one functioning exit among all the similar looking fakes. Figuring out which direction you're supposed to go, which ledges you're meant to drop off and which things will kill you are basic information sets that more accomplished games communicate in subtle ways.

Conduit 2 has enemies that stand next to big red barrels with EXPLOSIVE written on them. Subtlety is most definitely not its strong point.

The storytelling is pretty weak, too, and it doesn't help that the main character is a complete knobhead. We stumbled upon Andromeda, a woman from Atlantis who had been frozen for 1,000 years, or something like that, and our guy says: "whoah, that Andromeda is a stone cold fox!" To top it off, the standard of the voice acting is even worse than the script.

Maybe it's okay to be a tool if you've got a solid set of action hero skills, but our guy moves with all the urgency of an old man shuffling over a zebra crossing. Even after acquiring a special suit that makes him look a bit like Master Chief, he's still slow and ponderous. Hold the run button and he waddles forwards at a marginally faster pace for almost 20 metres before running out of breath.

So the game doesn't give you a sense of empowerment. You won't feel like an intergalactic badass. It's more like you're wearing a fat suit, shooting houseflies with an air rifle. We've played worse shooters on Wii, that's for sure, but none of them were talked up to anywhere near the level of Conduit 2. In single-player, at least, this game totally fails to deliver.

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