If you’re reading this than we’ll assume you’re a seasoned gamer who knows his or her shit. As such, you’d be completely within your right to say that most third party Wii developers have all but abandoned fulfilling the needs of traditional gamers, and left the console an exclusive dumping grounds of dog-and-pony fashion shows, talking candy, and Majesco.
Above: Killing Mama
But remember: The Wii had always promised a different experience, one free of complicated button interfaces and the latest processers, so as to melt our faces off with something we’ve never seen before. Like it or not Johnny Hardcore, Nintendo has - to some extent - delivered on that promise. However, there was an indirect assurance made towards a specific genre that has gone woefully unfulfilled.
Not only had the Wii Remote and Nunchuk seemed poised to revitalize the console First-Person Shooter, some of us thought this was our chance to finally tell the PC mouse-and-keyboarders to STFU… Yet here we stand nearly three years later with nothing but a single FPS worth recommending and that genre seemingly having thrown in the towel. Then, there was Conduit.
“It’s pretty good… for a Wii game.” That’s a qualifier we’re sick of hearing, yet one that’s nearly impossible to escape when talking traditional Wii offerings. Luckily, it’s one we don’t really need to apply to here, since Sega and High Voltage appear to have nominated themselves as the Wii’s hardcore torchbearers. It feels great to say it: The Conduit is fun, controls well, and is, at times, quite beautiful… yes, for a Wii game.
Sure, the environments may come courtesy of the architectural design firm of Brown, Gray, and Blocky, but there are certain visual elements that can almost, sorta, kinda, trick you into thinking you’re playing a 360 game in standard def. The All-Seeing Eye for instance, the omniscient flashlight you use to unlock doors and reveal secrets, embodies textures and lighting effects just detailed enough so as not to let one get away with calling it “last-gen.” Additionally, of the healthy portion of weaponry, the alien variety in particular pops with bursts of luminescent beauty and advanced particle effects.
Same goes for (the handful of) enemies. Both humans and alien drones are animated with competent physics and personality that puts High Voltage Software’s Quantum3 engine outside the realm of the “GameCube 1.5” criticisms. Of course, you too will have plenty of time to notice such detail, since unfortunately enemies also react with relatively stupid AI, somewhat unbecoming of next-gen shooters.