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The Conduit is a first-person shooter designed for the Wii, a system not really known for first-person shooters. Ultimately, the game turned out only okay. It’s a good shooter for the Wii but compared to the competition on the other systems, it’s very average. It appears the developers were aware of the issues with the first game and aimed to correct them in the sequel. Developed by High Voltage Software and published by Sega, Conduit 2 was released for Wii in April, 2011 and features more control options than its predecessor and split-screen multiplayer among some other things.
Following the events of the first game, Michael Ford continues his quest to stop the organization known as the Trust from taking over the world. With Prometheus guiding him, he travels to different locations around the world looking for Progenitors that could assist him in taking them down. Along the way he learns that the aliens known as the Drudge have split into two groups, one that works with the Trust and another called the Free Drudge that lost their connection to the Trust Commander, John Adams. Just like the first game, the campaign is way too short and ends on a cliffhanger. Conduit 2 has a beefier plot than it’s predecessor but the writing and dialogue are dreadful. New voice actors were brought in to voice the returning characters from the first game. Among them is the voice of Duke Nukem, Jon St. John who voices Michael. That said, Michael was given more lines in Conduit 2 which does help build his personality but much of his dialogue are jokes and one-liners that fall flat.
The gameplay has been slightly refined and supports more control options including Wii Motion Plus and the Classic Controller. The Wii Remote and Nunchuk work just like they did previously which means they work well but I preferred using the Classic Controller because I simply find it more comfortable. Conduit 2 does come with local and online multiplayer which I didn’t get to try. There is a game mode called Invasion that can be played solo and for some reason it’s hidden in the Splitscreen mode. Considering it can be played solo, I feel they should have put it in the main menu. Regardless, it’s similar to the Firefight mode in the Halo games and is probably best enjoyed with multiple players. The objective is to defeat waves of enemies for points and credits.
Much like the first game, the gunplay is satisfying. Enemies will bleed when shot and you can blow the heads off certain foes. Several weapons from the previous game return and many of them function a little differently and there is some cool new weapons added to the arsenal with unique capabilities. The Phase Rifle can shoot through walls, the AR-C Eclipse can cloak you for a brief time, and the Widowmaker Turret can be placed on the ground and controlled remotely. The All-Seeing Eye, otherwise known as the ASE returns and is used to hack things and find secrets and collectibles. You still can’t use weapons while holding the ASE and because I enjoy exploring the environments to find things, having to switch back and forth between my weapons and ASE became tedious and there’s a lot more things find in Conduit 2.
Conduit 2 features an in-game store where you can spend credits on weapons, character models, suit upgrades, and armor parts. Anything purchased can be applied to your multiplayer character and some of it carries over to single player. Early in the campaign, you end up on a ship called the Atlantis which acts as a hub area of sorts. From here, you can change your loadout and travel to different locations. You have multiple loadouts that can be modified and include weapons and suit upgrades and you can swap them out with others you’ve bought in the store. Some items can be purchased with credits, and others are unlocked my meeting certain requirements or by finding certain items in the campaign. Credits can be earned in a variety of ways including by finding secrets and collectibles so you’ll want to whip out the ASE often.
On the Atlantis, you can use the Conduit Dialer to choose a location to travel to and these are essentially the missions and you can travel to any unlocked location at any time. Once at a location, you basically shoot your way through all of the enemies until you reach a boss. Unfortunately, all of the bosses are underwhelming but some of them do at least look cool. Most of the locations you travel to advance the story and others are optional and also seem unnecessary. Optional locations are simply small open areas with endlessly spawning enemies and the only reasons to even travel to these areas is to find the secrets and collectibles. Most missions consist of your typical run and gun gameplay and there’s one set piece that has you riding in a dropship, defending it from enemies which was pretty cool.
There are several different enemy types in the game including Trust and Drudge foes and all of them are inept. Human and/or humanoid enemies will run around, usually out in the open, take cover, or stand in one place and fire at you. Several new foes like the Siberian Wolves, Advancers, and the Fixers on the Atlantis just rush you. There are multiple difficulty modes and I played through the campaign on Guardian which I equate to Normal. Most of the challenge comes from being overwhelmed because you’re always outnumbered. Some Drudge foes will continuously spawn in until you destroy the spawn points like Egg Sacs but most encounters feature a set number of enemies, minus the optional locations. Once you activate something or complete an objective, enemies will often come pouring in from somewhere and several areas include snipers that can inflict a good amount of damage. You and enemies can flip over things like tables to use as cover and that’s really the only interesting they do.
Conduit 2 will take you to different locations around the world including Washington D.C., Siberia, China, and South America among some others. With the exception of the optional locations, all of them are rather large with numerous branching paths and rooms. Locations are fairly linear and the game does funnel you where you need to go but they feel somewhat open and all of the secrets and collectibles ensure there’s always something to find. Some areas feature similar looking rooms and corridors and there’s an interaction in-game that actually references this design choice.
While generally unremarkable, the campaign does have its moments and the game does give you some incentives to revisit locations. The multiple difficulty levels and the loadout possibilities can change how you approach certain situations. You’ll want to find all the secrets and meet all the requirements to unlock store items but earning enough credits to buy everything in the store will be time consuming. The Invasion Mode is a great way to earn credits but can get old pretty quick if you’re playing solo.
Visually, Conduit 2 is a great looking game for the hardware it’s running on. The presentation is colorful, the locations are diverse, and the environments are detailed. The weapon and character models and visual effects like muzzle flashes, explosions, and particles look good. Weapons have good visual feedback and are accompanied by solid audio work which another reason why the gunplay feels satisfying. Like the first game, jaggies are noticeable which is the only real eyesore I can think of. The soundtrack is okay at best with some decent tunes here and there but nothing sticks out as exceptional. On the technical side, the frame rate does dip quite often. The more action on-screen, the more it dips. Other than some clipping, I didn’t encounter any major bugs or issues.
I had a pretty good time with Conduit 2 but like the first game, it is unremarkable compared to its contemporaries on the other systems. Overall, I think it’s a better game than its predecessor. For one thing, you’re not dealing with continuously spawning enemies everywhere you go. Conduit 2 features cool weapons, more diverse locations, and feels a little more open-ended. That said, I think it could have been better. It’s bigger and better than its predecessor but not that much bigger and not that much better. There are some odd and questionable design choices here like the optional missions for example. They feel like multiplayer maps with no purpose, no objectives, no real reason to even be in the campaign. The enemy AI is still terrible, often making for very generic encounters. It’s the gunplay that really carries the experience and kept me engaged. Ultimately, Conduit 2 shows a lot of potential but it rarely elevates above average.
I would recommend Conduit 2 if you can find a copy for cheap. I think if you liked the first game, you’ll like this. It is one of the better first-person shooters you can get for the Wii. As of this review, there are no plans for a sequel so the plot is basically unfinished and we may never know what happens next. It’s a shame these games weren’t better because they do have some good qualities and I think Conduit 2 was moving in the right direction.