[Review+Critique] The Conduit

14 Jul

bold conduit boxartI apologize for the late review, but several important revisions were necessary for the final draft of my take on The Conduit. Originally, I compared The Conduit to first-person shooters on other platforms in order to make the broader comparison of the Wii’s lesser position to the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. That was a bit ambitious and out of place for a simple review, so I decided to take my opinion and expand upon it here in my blog.

The Conduit begs players to ask,

“Is good for the Wii good enough?” The answer is a strong “no.”

If it’s not obvious by now, I was severely disappointed by The Conduit. Sadly, I agree with the critics: The Conduit supports the best online multiplayer on the Wii. In fact, I reluctantly listed working online as the game’s only positive in my review, something I wouldn’t dream of doing for a game on any other platform, not even a handheld.

So, what does it say about a system when supporting basic features is something to be praised? It says the system is not part of the modern generation but something else, something “hardcore” gamers don’t want.

I don’t know when it happened, but I went from defending the Wii, claiming it was an innovative machine beyond the current generation, to condemning it as an outdated platform which has abandoned its oldest fans. The Conduit only solidifies my current view after seeing professional reviewers, and even myself, praise a game for working. That’s all, though. It works, but it’s not good.

Looking at The Conduit‘s multiplayer, you might get the impression it was inspired by the likes of GoldenEye 007, Perfect Dark, and Halo. Of course, The Conduit is lacking the warm nostalgia of the former two and the quality mechanics and presentation of the latter.

Players clip through one another in The Conduit. Gun fights are won by unloading multiple clips of ammunition into another player’s face at point-blank range while jumping and circle strafing. It’s 1997 all over again, but High Voltage Software is either unaware the FPS genre has changed for the better over the past decade or incapable of adopting accepted FPS mechanics either because the Wii is a sub-par system or they’re just not talented. It’s probably a bit of both.

I doubt High Voltage’s talent because of The Conduit‘s poor presentation. As I mentioned in my review, the game’s recreation of the White House features doors with eye-level doorknobs and an Oval Office with a two-foot tall desk. The plot is treated with the same lack of polish. There are three characters in The Conduit, none with any real motivation and none ever really seen. The poor quality plagues the entire campaign by requiring the player to accomplish the same pointless objective over and over again. Destroy the steam valves, destroy the egg sacs, destroy the radio jammers, destroy this, destroy that, all in linear, ugly levels.

The Conduit‘s original hype surrounded High Voltage’s unique graphics engine, designed to rival Xbox 360 graphics. You wouldn’t know that looking at the game, however. What’s worse is that, even if the game did look good, all you would see is good looking yet boring environments. The art design is terribly boring. There’s nothing remarkable about the way The Conduit looks, sounds, or even plays.

Yes, it’s a first-person shooter featuring motion controls, and thankfully, the controls actually work, but you’ll notice I didn’t list the customizable controls as one of The Conduit‘s positives. That’s because there isn’t much to the button mapping. You don’t have full control as many reviews suggest. Certain actions are locked down to a select few buttons. The real control comes in adjusting the sensitivity, but I had great success in the campaign and especially online with the default sensitivity settings. The controls are much ado about nothing, really.

The Conduit‘s “plethora” of online modes was also subject to much hype in the weeks leading up to the game’s release. Players might be disappointed to find, however, that The Conduit features two basic game modes: death match and capture the flag. Everything else is just a variation. You get to vote for which mode you want to play next along with the weapons and level, but with options like Marathon (a twenty-minute deathmatch) thrown in the mix, your votes rarely turn out the way you’d like.

It’s hard to put exactly what’s wrong with The Conduit into words without getting too specific. It’s a poorly developed game for a weak system, and it’s only receiving attention because it’s on that system. Were The Conduit a PS3 or 360 game, it would have been brushed aside almost immediately for how incredibly generic it is. The few reviews that would get written wouldn’t dare mention the online with any sort of positive tone.

But the game is on the Wii, and it does feature a working online multiplayer, but that only serves to highlight the weaknesses of both the game and the platform. “Good for the Wii” is not a compliment, but The Conduit isn’t even a good Wii game. It’s a sub-par game for a sub-par system.

I’ve heard the line that, if the Wii is all you own, The Conduit is a good buy. That’s just not true. If you can derive enjoyment from The Conduit, there are many infinitely superior first-person shooters on better platforms. It might as well be a fact that games like Halo 3, Bad Company, and Modern Warfare are better first-person shooters. If The Conduit is the best FPS you own, you’re missing out on undeniably better games.

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One Response to “[Review+Critique] The Conduit”

  1. Zareurgan August 7, 2009 at 6:06 AM #

    AMEN!.

    I was disappointed ‘coz the scenarios looks like goldeneye!!!!

    Is not true that the conduit has better graphics than metriod prime 3.

    RE 4 has , in my point of view, the best graphics that i’ve seen in Wii.

    I have Xbox360 and the best shooter (not obviously first-person) is Gears of War 2, cuz is revolutioary in the way you move so fast and the aweson graphics. There are many like CODs churchs which are more like old school-hardcore fans, but its only my opinion.

    hails.

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