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Review: The Conduit

Nathan Meunier | 24 Jul 2009 13:00
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Though you'll travel through quite a few different locales, many of the level environments have a similar look and vibe to them. The feelings of déjà vu this creates crops up in other aspects of The Conduit's design. With the exception of the creepy and organic-looking alien tech you encounter, the dozen or so weapons are all too similar in appearance and function. It's hard to tell them apart at a quick glance and determine which ones are more effective. The human and alien opponents you face pose a similar problem. There's nothing particularly interesting about the generic soldiers you gun down, and while alien adversaries come in a few additional flavors - everything from humanoid infantry and flying gnats to rolling ankle-biters that blow up in your face - they're typically unremarkable until they increase in size and viciousness toward the end of the game. Even so, it's hard to shake the feeling you're just killing the same stuff over and over again. This is probably because you will be: Enemies respawn incessantly from conduit portals and icky sacks that must be destroyed to stem the tide of unpleasant creatures.

The addition of the All-Seeing Eye, a neat robo-orb that fits in the palm of your hand, provides regular opportunities to break from shooting everything in sight. This high-tech device can be used to uncover hidden secrets, locate and disarm invisible mines, unlock doors and hack into computers. It conveniently blips whenever it smells something secret-like lurking nearby and lends a puzzle element to the game that is pretty satisfying. If anything, it complements the action and rounds out your other less-talk-more-rock agent duties nicely.

Many of the solo campaign's failings are made up for in The Conduit's truly memorable multiplayer component. Hopping in and out of quick frag-and-run online matches with up to 12 players is speedy and refreshingly hassle-free. There are quite a few multiplayer game modes and arenas to play around in, and the frenetic and fun matches are highly addictive. Support for voice chat via Wii Speak is also a plus, if you actually have the newfangled thing.

Setting my jaded gamer bitching aside for a moment, anyone who hasn't already had the luxury of diving into the scores of superior FPS games available on PC and other higher-powered gaming systems will be able to appreciate and enjoy what the The Conduit brings to the Wii on several levels. For the rest of you, this unflinching assessment may not be harsh enough.

Bottom line: Great intentions don't always make for a great game.

Recommendation: It's worth a buy for Wii owners with no other FPS gaming options. Everyone else won't regret taking a pass.

Nathan Meunier wanted to love popping alien heads open with high-powered virtual weaponry on the Wii. You can read more of his work at http://nathanmeunier.wordpress.com.

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