|System: Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: High Voltage Software||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: SEGA||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Jun. 23, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1, 2-12 (Online)||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Nathan Meunier
July 22, 2008 - First-person shooters are a dime-a-dozen on almost every other gaming platform, but the genre is seriously lacking representation on the Wii. Aside from Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, Red Steel, and a handful of requisite WWII games, there's not a heck of a lot of options available for Wii owners to get their shoot on. In part, this makes High Voltage Software's upcoming FPS effort, The Conduit, even more appealing. From the top-to-bottom, it's designed specifically for the Wii.
Interestingly, the folks at High Voltage are singing a tune often voiced by Wii enthusiasts whose interests are rooted far deeper than puppy raising simulators, casual titles, and mini-game collections; a lot more can be done on the system than what's currently bring offered. The Wii's family-friendly nature doesn't mean it isn't an appropriate venue for games geared towards hardcore players. To that end, they've set out to bring a mature game to the system that pushes the hardware and delivers a fast-paced FPS experience on par with the competition.
The Wii may not be packing the highest level of prowess in the graphic capabilities department, particularly when compared to other competing consoles, but grand things are still possible on Nintendo's system. High Voltage's proprietary Quantum3 engine raises the bar substantially in terms of graphics and gameplay, and it makes a broad range of visual effects typically seen on higher-powered systems possible on the Wii. With a quick glance at The Conduit in action, it's possible to mistake the game for an Xbox 360 or PS3 title, and the visuals hold up well under closer scrutiny. The slick engine should put many other developers to shame; few other Wii games look this good. It certainly proves great-looking games with a very high level of detail are possible.
Sci-fi fans and alien conspiracy theorists should get a kick out of The Conduit's story-line, since it resembles something straight out of the X-Files. When a larger number of government workers in Washington, D.C. suddenly come down with a debilitating flue-like virus dubbed "The Bug," several key government buildings are left vulnerable and understaffed. Not long afterwards, a terrorist attack destroys a portion of the Washington Monument and a presidential candidate is assassinated by terrorists posing as her bodyguards. Meanwhile, an underground group called the Trust has discovered the attacks are actually of extraterrestrial invaders known as the Drudge. A recent Trust agent inductee, Mr. Ford, is sent in to infiltrate the heart of the conspiracy and kick some alien ass.
Besides a slew of nasty alien humanoids to eradicate, Mr. Ford - love the name - will also face giant beasts, zombified puppet humans infected by the alien virus, and even rogue humans who've dissented in favor of joining the alien invasion, among other adversaries. In some cases, you'll have to destroy portals to stem the flow of incoming aliens. The equipment at your disposal for getting the job done with varies from standard military armaments like pistols, sub-machine guns, assault rifles, and rocket launchers to more advanced technology and alien weaponry. One of the more unique items includes a small metallic orb, called the All-Seeing Eye, that allows you to uncover invisible foes and hidden puzzle elements scattered throughout the game.
The Conduit will feature extremely customizable controls that can be adjusted in real-time in order to fine tune the gameplay experience to the personal tastes of each player. Controls will primarily use a combination of the Nunchuk and Wii Remote, but most can be re-mapped to wherever you see fit - including motion-controlled gesture. Even information on the HUD can be tweaked and relocated.
Online multiplayer modes are still in-development, though High Voltage is striving for 16 player matches with a variety of standard modes. The team is dedicated to providing a solid online experience in addition to the main story-driven game. Keep your eyes peeled for additional details on the multiplayer side of this promising title.
High Voltage appears to be aiming for pretty straight-forward FPS gameplay with The Conduit, but the impressive visuals and flexible control scheme are two key components to making this one a winner. Early gameplay footage has whetted our palates for some high-end FPS action on the Wii, and it appears The Conduit will not disappoint. It sets the bar quite high on the console, and other third-party developers would do well to pay attention.
CCC Freelance Writer