The Conduit is one of the first true First Person Shooter (FPS) games for the Wii console. With great graphics, superb controls and good online play, this game does a lot right. But as a general First Person Shooter game, it definitely has a few issues.
A number of industry critics have highlighted the fact that as a FPS game, it doesn't break any new ground, and FPS fans who have played these games on other consoles may be a little disappointed. But as this is a Wii exclusive game, I'm going to cut it some slack against its FPS competitors on the other consoles, and review this game in the context of its impact on the Wii.
The game begins when your character, Michael Ford, is sent on a covert mission to stop a terrorist attack on Washington DC, and capture the terrorist leader, Prometheus. It soon becomes clear that this is no terrorist attack but an alien invasion by a species called The Drudge, and Michael Ford is involved in a battle to save Washington and the US from a full alien invasion.
First Person Shooters have always worked well on video games consoles where their controllers have two joysticks. One joystick has traditionally been used to allow players to look around their environment, while the other joystick has been used to move around. On consoles with only one joystick though (like the Wii's nunchuck) these games have always struggled to provide a realistic first-person experience.
Despite its flaws, nobody can argue that The Conduit boasts outstanding controls, and plays exactly like a FPS game should. The joystick on the nunchuck controller is used for moving around, and the Wii remote is used for looking and turning. Looking around is as easy as moving the Wii remote left and right, up and down. This is a really clever use of the Wii remote to simulate movement, and will surely lead the way for future FPS games on the Wii.
The game's camera also works seamlessly with the character movement system, and there were no instances of the camera and the action being out of synch, although I did find some problems turning left or right when I got into corners. The great control scheme is a real technical achievement for a console with only one proper joystick.
The Conduit's controls also have a range of highly customizable options that lets you completely change the button layout and movement speed of the Wii remote and nunchuck controllers. This is one of the few FPS games across any console that lets you customize the controls to this level.
Like most other shooting games on the Wii, the Wii remote's aiming system works really well and movement across the screen when shooting at multiple targets is smooth and accurate.
The game also makes great use of the cover system, where hiding behind objects provides cover from enemy fire. The Drudge aliens use this cover system equally well so you'll need to draw your enemies out into the open to get a clear shot.
Enemy AI throughout the game is a bit of a mixed bag, though. Some enemies will take cover and force you to draw them out, while others will run right up to you without firing a single shot. This mixed bag does keep you guessing at how each enemy is going to react, but more consistent tactics would make for more realistic battles.
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