|Dev: High Voltage Software|
|Release: April 19, 2011|
|Screen Resolution: 480p|
by Neilie Johnson
Two years ago, Midwestern developers High Voltage Software surprised us by proving the Wii could support a grown-up (or at least adolescent) shooter. With fast-paced action, surprisingly well-done graphics, and unusually customizable controls, The Conduit gave us hope that the Wii might one day become a more comprehensive console. This month High Voltage attempts to expand on the first title's accomplishments with a sequel called Conduit 2, with measured success.
Conduit 2 starts where The Conduit left off, with former Trust agent Michael Ford still in pursuit of slippery politician, John Adams. Ford gets sucked through a conduit to an oil rig in the middle of the ocean where early on he's faced with a truly unexpected kind of boss battle. The game's high energy start on this man-made island proves that the team at High Voltage made a genuine effort in Conduit 2, to listen to and address the many critiques players had of the first game. This increase in environmental breadth is felt throughout the game as Ford and his progenitor side-kick Prometheus travel back to Washington D.C. and subsequently to China, Siberia, and Central America. All of these new settings offer much needed variety and are amazingly well done.
Aside from some beautiful new locations, the first thing you'll notice about Conduit 2 is that it's still as awkward as ever to play using the Wii remote/nunchuck combination. Thankfully, Conduit 2 offers the same control customization as its predecessor; that said, with the Wii remote's inherent ungainliness, it may take considerable futzing to find a setting that feels comfortable to you. The easy solution is to toss the nunchuck and go with the Wii Classic Controller. Plug that baby in and suddenly aiming, firing, and everything else becomes easy so you can stop tinkering and start playing.
In addition to acting on good advice regarding the monotony of the first game's setting, it's obvious High Voltage also made an attempt to increase the interactivity of the environments and to humanize the main character. That's not to say that everything is now 100% destructible or that Michael Ford will win any congeniality contests. Now, however, if you shoot a fish tank it explodes and if someone talks to Ford he's a bit more expressive (although most of what he says consists of lame, sarcastic jokes). Other pluses include a more useful All-Seeing-Eye (which lets you scan not only for weapon blueprints but for conspiracy-related objects and hidden messages), the ability to change mission difficulty on the fly, and a couple of self-deprecating video game references.