If one game stands as the second coming for hardcore gamers on Wii, it is The Conduit. The title, developed by High Voltage Studios, garnered the love and support of Nintendo fans worldwide. Upon delivery, however, some felt like the execution failed to meet the hype.
I enjoyed 20-plus hours with Agent Ford in his first foray; though, like others, found the single-player campaign a little less than compelling and was aggravated by the online cheating. But that appears to be behind us with the fantastic-looking sequel, Conduit 2.
The first bit of the game I saw at E3 2010 was multiplayer between four different players (via LAN). The arena on display was rather breathtaking and more impressive than anything from The Conduit. Lush, green vegetation thrives throughout the locale, which also contains what appear to be ancient, detailed ruins and stone-like structures. The map also seems so open and expansive, a welcome addition to the franchise.
Basically, the small taste of multiplayer demonstrates High Voltage’s plan to address every problem and complaint with the first game, and then some. Remember the online bugs that plagued the first title? The developer claims that players will not need to worry about respawning glitches and other hiccups for the second go-around. You will also notice improved matchmaking, better achievements, and clearer online communication via PDP’s Headbanger Headset. Sadly, the only thing missing is a lobby system for friends, so groups can jump into matches together.
But the most important part of Conduit 2 is the silky, smooth Wii Remote controls. And everything was just as responsive as the first, though I was unable to tinker with my controls. No worries, though, because the laundry list of customization will once more be present. In addition, the title supports Wii MotionPlus, which helps track players’ reticules even when they move off screen. There really is not another first-person shooter for Wii that compares in regard to Wii pointer controls and options.
To see single-player, though, the controls were lifted from my hands for a behind-closed-doors demo in Sega’s meeting room. High Voltage revealed the first level of Conduit 2, which takes place on an oil rig. Rain splatters down on the metal workings beneath your feet, as you quickly dispatch enemy fodder. The new weapons at Agent Ford’s disposal illustrate some clever design mechanics, with the Vortex Blaster absorbing any adversary ammo. After the collection period, players can unleash a bullet storm of hell that sends the ammunition toward foes with a rewarding thud.
An assortment of weaponry appears to be needed, too, after witnessing a mammoth-sized boss battle at the end of the demo. A gigantic, metallic sea serpent crashes upward from the waves to hover above Ford and the oil rig. The enormous foe not only wants to destroy you, but also plans to take down the entire structure, illustrating the improved interactivity of Conduit 2. Ford must quickly run (Yes, you can sprint now.) and leap to various turret guns to unload as much fire as possible upon the monster. The battle rages on from here, though, with tactics changing to eventually drown the snake-like creature.
As you can see, the sense of scale and magnitude of Conduit 2 appears to be miles ahead of its predecessor. With The Conduit, the developer claims it had to continually focus on the tech side of the project. But now, High Voltage can sink more time into the gameplay, art design and overall fun factor for the sequel.
Conduit 2, which is published by Sega, ships for Nintendo Wii this fall.