Platform: Nintendo Wii
Category: First Person Shooter
Developer: High Voltage Software
Online Multiplayer: 12 Player
There have not been too many first person shooters been built from the ground up specifically for the Nintendo Wii. There have been many ports of existing titles to the console, but most of these have not performed as well as they could have due to the limitations of the machine (e.g. processor power, sound, etc). Sega has set out to change all of this as they have recently released the Wii exclusive title The Conduit for Nintendo’s innovative home console. So is it all that they promised? Read on.
The Conduit has received a lot of attention regarding its custom designed game engine called Quantum3 which was designed to create a visual experience comparable to the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 even with the hardware limitations of the Wii. During the game’s early beginnings it seemed to be destined to live life as a tech demo given that the game didn’t have a direction or a publisher. Well Sega stepped up to the plate and they have allowed the developers to show how one can put the engine to good use in pushing the graphical capabilities of the Wii to its limits. In many ways they have been successful in creating a comparable visual experience the Microsoft’s and Sony’s next-generation machines.
The graphic engine keeps the visuals sharp and with no lag in the framerate when encountering battles where dozens of enemy Dredge fill the screen. The environments throughout the game do not suffer from any blurring as you move quickly through each level either. The levels are visually attractive as they are perfectly shaded, colored and textured to enhance the graphics even more. The enemy Dredge on the other hand are nothing special and they will seem very similar to other bug enemies you may of seen in various movies or even other games. Though the enemies are not unique, they are well designed and easily discerned from the different species you will come across during your adventure.
Overall, the graphics are simply the best visuals that have come to view on the Wii since its launch and this bodes well for future games. The only failure in the graphics department as I mentioned previously is the unoriginal content when it came to the enemy Dredge.
The musical score throughout The Conduit is perfectly orchestrated to be in sync with the action that is taking place throughout the game. Slow and creepy music creates tension while fast and upbeat music is used to get the adrenaline pumping throughout action packed gun-fights. To accent the music are the poignant sound effects that aid in creating the perfect atmosphere for this shooter.
To top off the great sound The Conduit contains voice actors who did an excellent job of pulling you even further into the story. Sci-Fi fans will more than likely recognize the voice of Michael Ford who is voiced by Mark Sheppard of Battlestar Galactica and Star Trek Voyager fame. Kevin Sorbo also lends his talents to the voice of Prometheus who is most known for his work on Andromeda and Hercules. All in all gamers should enjoy the work that went into the audio for this game.
The story is told from the perspective of Secret Agent Michael Ford, a hero who recently saved the life of the president and as a reward he was recruited to an organization called the Trust. Around the same time some strange occurrences transpire in Washington, D.C. where a strange flu-like illness has spread throughout the city, a terrorist attack on the Washington Monument has occurred, and a near assassination of the President. All of these events lead up to Michael Ford being tasked to disrupt a terrorist threat which turns out to be an alien invasion by a species called the Drudge.
The storyline is standard for most sci-fi shooters these days, with an alien race coming to destroy earth and a hero rising to the challenge and bringing some serious butt kicking to the enemy. This is definitely an aspect of the game that is lacking and it could have used a lot more imagination to keep one interested.
Game control is what makes or breaks a first person shooter, and this is definitely the case for many titles in this genre that have been released on the Nintendo Wii. This is the aspect of the game that developers High Voltage Software have put a lot of effort into and the result of this effort definitely shows. The Wii Remote takes care most of your actions such as firing your weapon, melee attacks, jumping and using your ASE (All Seeing Eye). On the other hand your Nunchuk is primarily used for movement and a few other actions like throwing grenades, crouching, and locking on to targets. It is a simple control scheme, but what makes it one of the best is the execution of the controls throughout the gameplay. Aiming is perfect, walking is a breeze, and special actions such as throwing grenades function flawlessly. If the default control scheme is not to your liking you are able to choose to customize the controls, even on the fly. Assign any of your actions you want as everything is customizable including the option to adjust your aiming sensitivity and strafing to optimize your control experience.
The level design and combat situations of The Conduit is the most disappointing portion of the game with the levels being monotonous and the combat situations repetitive. The lack of variety puts a damper on the enjoyment of the game and the small change of scenery throughout the levels only makes a bit of a difference in terms of variety. One can only handle the same objectives of hunting down the bug-like Drudge nests over and over again, which seems to be only purpose throughout all the games levels. The repetitive missions are yet another downfall to the gameplay that definitely needs a tweak or two.
Along with the single player there is a multiplayer component as well. This features seven maps which are based off the single-player levels, which means the same problems that took place during the campaign are present in the multiplayer levels. On the plus side up to 12 players can participate in one of the three multiplayer modes that consist of Free for All, Team Reaper and Team Objective. When I learned that Wii Speak is available for multiplayer I thought it was a great move because you need to communicate amongst your teammates to form an effective strategy against your opponents. However, Wii Speak is severely limited by the fact that you can only speak with players on your friends list who may happen to be on your team. This takes away from the whole point of being able to speak to your teammates in a first person shooter. The high point of online play though is that it works extremely well, with little or no lag at all when playing the matches.
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