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Conduit 2

Platform(s): Wii
Genre: Action
Publisher: SEGA
Developer: High Voltage Software
Release Date: April 19, 2011

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Wii Preview - 'Conduit 2'

by Chris "Atom" DeAngelus on July 13, 2010 @ 1:00 a.m. PDT

Armed with advanced and powerful weapons, players, Conduit 2 will take players to the far reaches of the world to stop an alien invasion that can be fought in single-player, online multi-player battles, and all-new off and online co-op modes.

The Conduit is one of the few third-party IPs for the Wii that really stand out to hardcore gamers. Sure, there's a ton of new titles for the Wii, but it's a lot harder to get people who are used to Halo to express interest in games like Just Dance. The Conduit was unique because it played heavily to all the strengths of the Wii while still appealing to hardcore audiences. It had some of the best graphics on the system and emphasized using the Wii's abilities as best as they could. The end result was a shooter that, while not exceptional, was still pretty darn solid, especially for a Wii game. It had a lot of potential and a few flaws, but it was easy to see how it could have been more. Conduit 2 is a welcome addition to the Wii's lineup, if just for the fact that it's nice to see developers besides Nintendo really trying to use the Wii to its fullest. It's shaping up to be a great FPS for an oft-neglected system.

Conduit 2 continues after the first game, although only a few plot details have been revealed. Players still control Michael Ford, the main character from the original title, as he attempts to stop an alien takeover of the world. All we know about the plot is that Ford stumbles across the lost city of Atlantis and uses it as his base of operations to strike back against the alien forces and their allies. Conduit 2 is more story-focused than the previous game. The original title gave players a lot of freedom to explore and discover the plot on their own, but that meant that a lot of people overlooked the plot entirely. In order to resolve that, Conduit 2 will go for more of a cinematic feel, although that doesn't necessarily mean cut scenes aplenty.

Everything we saw during our demo takes place from a first-person perspective and never cuts away from the action. It's very rare for the game to take control out of the player's hands, and the cinematic scenes flow naturally into the gameplay. Only some of the story will be available if you don't explore. In addition to the obvious, there will be data discs and information that you can scan using the All-Seeing Eye to get more backstory for the world you're exploring. It is reminiscent of the Metroid Prime games, especially with the ASE's new scanning ability. A writer who is "recognizable" but is unnamed for now, has been hired to ensure that the story line is up to par.


The basic gameplay in Conduit 2 looked similar to the first game but has been improved in obvious and subtle ways. The Wii controls still looked easy to use and are very smooth. Players can even use the Wiimotion Plus to further improve the Wii's tracking ability, which should be great for those who own the accessory. There are lots of neat little new tricks, such as allowing the player to knock over desks to form a makeshift barrier against enemy attacks or aiming through iron sights with some weapons. There's even a new shield-like weapon that can reflect attacks back at opponents by absorbing the enemy's bullets and firing them back. There are a ton of different weapons, both traditional human guns and strange alien gadgets, and they are all going to be rebalanced and readjusted so that each had its own niche and usefulness.

One of the cooler features is that Conduit 2 is going to have some customizability. When you're hanging out in Atlantis between missions, you can change your character. You can pick which weapons you bring into the next stage; this is an interesting customization because bringing a weapon into a stage doesn't necessarily mean that you'll find ammo for it. You can choose to bring a rocket launcher with you, but that means you'll have three rockets for the entire stage. You can always exchange it for another weapon, but it might be more effective to bring something you can reload. There will also be a Perks system, not unlike Modern Warfare or similar titles, which will let you grant your character certain special abilities. These loadouts work for both single- and multiplayer games.

One of the coolest sequences of our demo involved the Leviathan, who is the guardian of Atlantis. For various plot-related reasons, he's pretty ticked off at the protagonist for taking the All-Seeing Eye, one of the sunken city's lost treasures. The giant tentacled monster attacks Ford and begins tearing apart the oil rig on which Ford is standing. The fight goes through a series of stages, even as the oil rig is being torn apart around the player. At first, he has to use turrets to target the enemy's glowing weak points. It seems simple but is rather intense, since he can't stay on one turret for long without the Leviathan smashing him to pieces. After doing enough damage, the Leviathan switches into a second form, which died so quickly that we didn't see what it did. The third form, however, is even more dangerous. The Leviathan begins attacking in full force, and the oil rig burns around the player. All the turrets switch into harpoon mode, and the player has to try something different: shooting two electrified harpoons into the Leviathan to electrocute it from within. If he can't get two in to complete the circuit fast enough, the Leviathan will rip the harpoons free and force him to start over.


One of the big selling points of The Conduit was the multiplayer gameplay, and that will fortunately be returning in Conduit 2. The multiplayer portion is getting a nice little clean-up. It will feature a series of new two- to 12-player modes, including Capture the Flag, Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch and Point Control. Also returning from the first game is the very popular Bounty Hunter mode. There will also be an improved lobby system, which is inspired by Uncharted 2. You'll receive fewer choices, but this allows you to hop into games with less loading. Perhaps the coolest feature of all is that there will be a new Rival system. When you're playing with someone online, you can choose to add him or her as a Rival. This is basically the same as friending them, but without the mess of Friend Codes. You'll even be able talk to them using with the Wiispeak microphone or the new Headbanger Headset.

One of the biggest problems in The Conduit's multiplayer was how quickly the game degenerated into people cheating, which soured a lot of the fun for most players. When we asked about this, we were told that Conduit 2 has a few measures in place to handle it. The majority of problems came from people exploiting glitches, not people using modified Wiis to cheat. The latter is a tough problem, but the former can be relatively easy to fix, and that should severely reduce the amount of cheating. However, it's rather obvious that not all glitches can be caught before release, or else The Conduit wouldn't have had this problem in the first place. Fortunately, Conduit 2 will be allowed to issue updates and patches for online play, so if problems arise, they can actually be fixed, which is unique for a Wii game.

Despite seeming custom-made for it, the Wii sees only a handful of shooters. The Conduit was one of the few. It's nice to see that High Voltage Software isn't just coasting by on the lack of competition but is trying to make the best possible FPS they can with Conduit 2. It may not be up the visual prowess of Call of Duty, but Conduit 2 manages to generate some rather impressive graphics from the hardware. The gameplay is smooth and solid, and a lot of the complaints and issues from the first game seem to have been resolved. The multiplayer offers a lot of potential fun for gamers who've otherwise been neglected. Assuming the rest of the game lives up to the impressive stuff we've seen so far, Conduit 2 should be a must-buy for any FPS fan with a Wii.



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