The Conduit Hands-On Preview
The Conduit box art
System: Wii Review Rating Legend
Dev: High Voltage 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
There’s a Conspiracy on the Wii!
by Amanda L. Kondolojy

June 10, 2009 - Maybe it’s just our culture, but for some reason, people love a good conspiracy story. Whether it’s books by Dan Brown, or specials on the Discovery Channel about Area 51, there’s always that little urge to follow the X-Files motto and “Trust No One.” The Conduit is a game that encourages this type of contrarian thinking.

The Conduit screenshot

With a story that makes connections to basically every conspiracy-ridden organization (including the recently popularized Illuminati and the Freemasons) as well as the joint arrival of a mysterious alien organization and an infectious virus, The Conduit has plenty of paranoia-riddled storylines to satiate even the most suspicious of minds. However, when we got our chance to go hands-on with it at this year’s E3, it wasn’t just the conspiracy-laden story that we were excited to experience.

One of the biggest features that developer High Voltage has touted throughout the development of The Conduit has been its visuals. This game is the best-looking third-party Wii game that I have ever seen, hands down. The enemies looked crisp and sharp. The environments, while not incredibly detailed, also looked clean and free of any of the dreaded “jaggies” so many Wii owners have come to tolerate. Texturing was smooth, and while we were told by a SEGA rep that all the damage in the game was pre-rendered, explosion effects still look great.

But, enough about how the game looks, let’s talk about how it plays. The Conduit has one of the most straightforward control schemes on the Wii, and as I was playing, I found myself saying “why hasn’t anyone else done this?” The game uses both the Wii-mote and the Nunchuk and lets you run around by using the Nunchuk’s thumbstick. You are then able to shoot by pointing your Wii-mote at the screen and pulling the trigger. One of the things that impressed me the most about The Conduit was that it was the only shooter on the Wii that I have ever played that did not use a rails system for movement. Being able to have the freedom to explore maps and run behind objects and discover hidden areas was certainly a welcome change for the emergent Wii shooter genre.

The Conduit screenshot

However, we quickly learned that The Conduit requires much more than just shooting. In addition to the arsenal of guns and grenades that your character is packing, you are also in possession of an “All Seeing Eye” (ASE) device that allows you to uncover clues you wouldn’t normally see. This ASE device allows you to view important notes scribbled on the walls, and it can also lead you to hidden passageways. Using the ASE is as simple as pointing your Wii-mote towards items you want to investigate with the ASE device equipped. Of course, all of this technology traces back to the mysterious alien race, or the American government, and as your character dives into combat, many of the game’s mysteries come to life.

One final feature that we were able to check out during our time with The Conduit was the customizable control scheme. The SEGA and High voltage representatives that we spoke to about the game were quick to point out that you could change your aiming speed and shooting style in real-time, without having to worry about any pesky loading screens or discovering that you set your options too high or too low. The customization aspect of the game certainly will please hardcore fans, and it might even make the game feel a little more accessible for the not-so-hardcore audience as well.

The Conduit screenshot

While playing, we were also told about The Conduit’s multiplayer modes, which will include various strategic and combat-based levels that will support online play for up to twelve people. And in even better news, you will be able to use the WiiSpeak peripheral in order to chat with other players! Although this may be a standard feature in other shooters, I was very surprised to hear about voice chat on the Wii, and was overjoyed with the prospect of being able to talk with friends while using the Wii.

The Conduit is definitely looking to be the definitive shooting experience on the Wii, and I have to say that I was surprised that it took this long to get a “real” shooter for the console. The Wii-mote and Nunchuck work very well for the shooter genre, and having a shooter experience that doesn’t involve the word “rails” was really enough to sell me on this game. However, the incredible visuals and tight control scheme have just further proven that this is a game that must be experienced on the Wii if you consider yourself among the hardcore ranks of Wii fans.

By Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Staff Contributor

Game Features:

  • Dive into an engaging story set in modern day Washington D.C. involving secret agents, invading aliens, and government conspiracies
  • Robust calibration and controls customization built from the ground up for the Wii allow you to Tailor the game to your preferred style
  • Up to 12 players can join up online to battle in a variety of multiplayer modes
  • Vast numbers of incredibly realistic AI enemies react to player’s moves by taking cover and utilizing elements in the environment to their advantage
  • Supports Nintendo’s new Wii Speak peripheral during multiplayer matches

  • Screenshots / Images
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