The Good The Bad and The Ugly: Conduit 2 Review

I know, I know.  What the fuck is Craig doing reviewing a video game?  Well, being that all I have is a Wii (despite the fact that I have now worked on two games for the PS3, granted is a purely superficial capacity) and not many games worth Braid’s time come out on the Wii, its left to me to venture into the dark butthole that is first person shooters for Nintendo’s family friendly console.  And, given that I enjoyed the first Conduit game, I thought it was fitting that I give this one a whirl.  I will also be playing by the rules that Andy set up in his reviews so as not to blow your preverbal minds by changing up the format.  There.  Now can we get past the fact that I’m reviewing a video game?  No?  Fuck you.  I’m doing it anyway.

The Premise

Following directly on the heels of the first game, you play as Michael Ford, following alien-aiding traitor John Adams through a conduit (a contained wormhole used for travel, a la the boom tube from the DC Universe).  Soon, Ford finds himself in Atlantis, an underwater space ship that brought the original aliens, including the voice-in-your-head Prometheus, to earth.  With the help of a woman named Andromeda, the Destroyer exoskeleton, an onslaught of cool weapons and his helpful ASE (a metallic ball that lets you scan things for more information), Ford must track down Adams and try to stop him from using souls stolen from the ancient ones to destroy Earth.

The Good

Although the premise sounds silly (and, realistically, is), it is a lot of fun.  The banter between Ford and Prometheus (who’s soul is contained in the ASE) is fun and nerdy. At one point, you run through a hallway identical to the one before and Prometheus jokes that sometimes architects get lazy, much like in our Earth video games. Prometheus is a sidekick who doesn’t do shit which is always preferable to a source of exposition disguised as a character, or worse, a Navi-like annoyance.


The control design is also fantastic, much like in the first game.  You can customize your controls to fit your unique play styles.  You can swap out buttons, change the dead-zone (the area in which moving your wiimote won’t make you turn), and change the sensitivity of all movement controls.  They also added a nice little touch by making the background go blurry when you reload your weapon.  Not particularly innovative, I know, but definitely unique for a Wii exclusive game.

The design of the game is really nice.  Conduit 2 takes you from an oil rig to an ancient Mayan crash site to China to the Goldeneye style snow-covered hills of Siberia and changes up the level layout often enough that you never really get a chance to get bored with it.  The texture mapping is really nice, especially for the Wii and although casual players probably won’t notice, a lot of the bad guys have slight variations in design making it feel a bit more like you are being attacked by individuals and not a mass of repetitive respawning baddies.  The boss battles are always fun and unique too.  In fact, the first one is against a giant alien sea snake that you shoot with giant turrets mounted on either side of the oil platform.

I was also really pleased with the weapons in the Conduit 2.  Much like in the first game, Conduit 2 features a collection of weapons that originated on earth as well as a handful that come from an alien armory.  However, unlike the first game, the Conduit 2 makes the alien alternatives more then just funky looking versions of the earth weapons.  Sure, the SCAR rifle from earth and the alien Strike Rifle are very similar, but with new weapons like the Hive Cannon which first fires a jelly ball that attaches itself to an enemy then follows it up with a stream of alien bugs that lock onto and follow that jelly, there is some nice variation in weaponry.  I myself am rather fond of the Phase Rifle, a gun that allows you to shoot at targets through walls, which is evidenced by my nearly 1500 kills with it in the games multiplayer mode.

The Bad

Yeah, these little bastards

I don’t know why High Voltage has an obsession with small enemies that bum-rush you, but its kind of annoying.  Throughout the game, you get attacked by little bastards known as tear-mites, usually in packs of four or five.  What makes it even more annoying is that as soon as you fight the pack off, you get hit by another group because they constantly respawn out of alien sacks hanging on the wall.  The only way to stop the little shits is to shoot the sacks.  All four or five of them.  But even then, each sack drops another tear-mite as one last “fuck you,” to the player, leaving you wanting to snap your wiimote in half because you know that as soon as you walk through the next door, there will be another group of them to take out.

Also, the characters aren’t particularly well fleshed out.  I get the feeling, listening to Braid talk about games like Uncharted or Mass Effect, that a great deal of focus is being put into telling a compelling story these days.  After all, something has to make your game different from the other game where you shoot lots of bad guys while running through rubble.  Although they give the characters names and a lot of the dialogue is fun, they never really advance as characters.  Adams is a bad guy, Ford is a good guy and you run around shooting an assortment of goons until you eventually get to face off with Adams.  I really feel like with a premise as interesting as this (its based on the religious beliefs of the ancient Sumerians and filled with masonic symbology), they should be able to construct a really interesting story.  Sadly, however, it never seems to advance beyond “shoot bad guys, save the world.”

The Ugly

Multiplayer.  Multiplayer!  MULTIPLAYER!  Sega and High Voltage made a bold statement when they claimed that they had figured out how to stop hacking all together via constant updates, but boy were they wrong.  Sure, guys like this asshole in the video are few and far between, but that doesn’t stop minimal hacking to make its way in.  Today alone, I have faced an unstoppable number of these shitheads.  Some guys I have shot directly in the chest only to be killed seconds later by a single punch.  Others manage to completely evade the radar which, granted, is an unlockable.  What isn’t unlockable, however, is their ability to be invisible until they are four feet in front of you with a grenade launcher.

High Voltage tried to built a fail-safe into the game by allowing gamers to click another player’s name and report them, but the hackers found a way around that by either removing the “report player” from the player menu or just removing their name from the lobby altogether.  But even waiting for the opportunity to report a player can be a frustrating endeavor as some multiplayer games can last as long as twenty minutes which seems like a lifetime when the whole time is spent waiting to respawn only to be murdered immediately by the douche who is dominating your team.  If they had been smart, High Voltage would have included the ability to report hackers in the pause menu so you could report them mid-game.

But hackers aren’t the only problem with the multiplayer game.  Often, any little thing can force you out of a multiplayer match.  I’ve been disconnected due to answering a phone call, from playing a youtube video on my laptop or even from leaving a match and joining a new one too suddenly.  What adds to the frustration is that often, I will be dominating.  I was playing a team deathmatch with a bunch of noobs once and I had nearly 50 kills to everyone elses 1 or 2, and I lost my connection to the game.  When it took me back to the lobby, I got no credit for any of the damage I had unloaded because apparently losing your connection erases any memory of the bullet-rape you had just committed on the other team.  It wouldn’t be so frustrating if the game didn’t disconnect you so often, but considering that I get disconnected from one out of every five or so matches, its a problem.

Closing Comments

Conduit 2 is a fun addition to the Wii catalogue and, although the single player is plagued by a handful of annoyances, there is enough there to make it a worthy addition to you Wii game library.  However, the multiplayer is there to add some replay value to the title and all it does is stack on the frustration.  Between hackers, connection issues and unattainable unlockables, the Conduit 2 multiplayer will quickly become so frustrating that you give up which is a real shame because the multiplayer engine is really well done.  The single player is lacking in any real innovation or originality, but if you just enjoy running around shooting stuff, The Conduit 2 offers plenty of that in the single player mode and Invasion mode which features wave after wave of increasingly more difficult enemies.  The action promised on the box is definitely delivered and ultimately, I had a really good time with the game itself.  Plus, if the ending is any indication, there is a lot of fun to come when they eventually get around to Conduit 3.

Seriously.  Thats how it ends.

RATING:  7/10

~ by Andrew Craig on May 27, 2011.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: