Game On!: The Conduit
How long will it take developers to recognize that the Nintendo Wii is possibly the best platform for action-based shooting games?
If The Conduit is any indication, this underexploited platform is the most natural foundation for creating an impressive first-person-shooter experience.
The game is reminiscent of Nintendo's own Metroid Prime 3: Corruption or EA's Medal of Honor series. It features a faceless character exploring various environments, gun in hand.
Players assume the role of secret agent Michael Ford, an operative for a shadowy government operation tasked with defending America from extraterrestrial invasions. Ford, equipped with various super-weapons, is employed to resist the incursion of an insectoid invader known simply as "the Drudge."
The aliens are in league with some human terrorists and they aim to unseat humanity by executing biological attacks in the D.C. area. They're invisible to the normal public.
The Conduit is played from the first-person perspective - the Wii controller serves as a gun pointer, while the attached Nunchuk allows players to move in the environment as well as scan and detect obscured alien technologies.
The game does not use the newly released Wii Motion Plus, but moving and pointing feels surprisingly more precise and natural than in many previous gun games on the system.
Though the Nintendo Wii is the only modern system that didn't receive a major graphics update with its last version, The Conduit is notable for its visual fidelity. For a Wii title, it's actually very attractive. The environments are nicely detailed and the enemies are well rendered. Lighting plays an important role in the game, and the weapon effects show nice visual flair.
Sure, there are alien-invasion cliches, but the game manages to tell an interesting tale with a few not-too-predictable twists along the way. The story also references the mysterious Freemason beliefs and the concept of the Illuminati - traditional elements in shadow conspiracy plots.
The multiplayer mode is fairly straightforward, though it does use the cumbersome matchmaking/friend code system that Nintendo players are all too familiar with. Up to 12 players can compete in a variety of gameplay modes online, an option gamers don't often see on the Wii.
The Conduit is a good addition to any Wii action library - it's a well-executed shooter that overcomes a predictable single-player story with an online mode that'll be warmly welcomed by competitive gamers.
Click to ColumbusAlive.com to join the Game On! social network and share your reviews with other gamers
System: Nintendo Wii
Players: 1 (online multiplayer)
Rated: T for Teen
Who Should Buy It?: Believers
GameOn! Grade: B+