The Conduit

September 3, 2009

The Conduit is hailed as “the best FPS for Wii.” That title would mean more if there were a glut of FPS available for the platform or if it were factual. Story-wise The Conduit is riddled with clichés, and the default controls are terrible. You play the part of Michael Ford, a secret service agent recruited into an organization called The Trust. You mission is to track down Prometheus, a former Trust agent who has stolen secret technology. Along the way you will encounter conspiracies, cover-ups, and an invading force of the aliens seen on the back of the game box.

There are a good number of weapons available to you, and they are divided up into three groups: Human, Trust, and Drudge (the aliens). Human weapons are pistols, rifles, and the like. Trust weapons are more interesting variants on the same, and Drudge weapons are far and away the most interesting since they are all completely alien. The All Seeing Eye is also available to the player, and it plays a key role in the game being used find hidden objects and markings, hack computers, open biological locks, and finding and destroying mines. The ASE is also used to find hidden areas containing extra ammunition, health, and weapons, but even when not in use the ASE will beep whenever you are near a place that it would be useful.

The Conduit’s narrative is mission-based, and all the objectives in these missions are simple “shoot anything that moves and the portals they’re coming out of” affairs. Enemies, expectedly, get tougher and tougher as the game progresses, but there does not seem to be enough ammo handed out to handily take care of the late stage Drudge enemies who seem to specialize in soaking up bullets instead of tactics. Weapons also take a long time to reload. Combine those two tidbits together and you’ll be seeing the mission failed screen more and more often as the game goes on.

Single player FPS don’t need grand stories and gripping narrative to draw a player in and keep them satisfied. What they do need, however, is great atmosphere and setpieces. Half-Life 2 did this wonderfully – the story was fairly standard (aliens have invaded, Gordon! Stop them!), but the atmosphere and pacing were wonderful. No gamer who played through HL2 will forget the first time they played with the gravity gun or the giant Strider battle on the rooftops in City 17. Unfortunately The Conduit’s levels are primarily barren corridors and rooms that all look the same. Occasionally you will get to go outside, but these areas are far, few, and in between.

Controls are another sore point. The Conduit has a very common problem among Wii games – there are more things that need doing than there are buttons or reasonable gestures to accommodate them so the awkwardly placed plus and minus buttons are used (minus is reload – how can something as important as reload be mapped to that tiny out of the way button?). Aiming works well as you really do just point and shoot, but turning is awkward and slow as you need to aim at the edge of the screen which makes it impossible to turn and shoot simultaneously. Chucking grenades to mapped to shaking the Wii remote which makes it sloppy as well.

The Conduit is far from the best shooter on Wii. To take that title it would need to be better than both Call of Duty 3 and Metroid Prime 3: Corruption. With bland, boring levels and a lackluster plot, The Conduit should be avoided. The Conduit does support online multiplayer, but when I took my copy online I could not find any games to connect to so I can’t speak to how fun online multiplayer is. I can tell you, however, that it was frustrating to look for matches and find none. FPS games can be done and done well on the Wii, but The Conduit is not that game.

Plays Like: Call of Duty 2 but less fun

Pros: Using the Wii remote as a targeting reticule is fun

Cons: Slow and awkward turning, bland levels, bullet sponge enemies

: T for blood, mild language, and violence; this is standard FPS fare so if Halo is okay then The Conduit is, too

Score: 3/5

Questions? Check out our review guide.