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Conduit 2 Review

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On 05/16/2011 at 11:49 AM by Nick DiMola

Gamers who only own a Wii can even do better than this at this point.

Not Recommended.

Utter mediocrity. There’s no better way to describe High Voltage’s second Conduit title. It’s almost unfortunate for the team, really. Had this been a year ago, mediocrity of this sort could’ve crushed something like Red Steel 2, given the complete dearth of competent Wii shooters. However, after the release of GoldenEye and Black Ops, Conduit 2 doesn’t shine so brightly. Things get even worse when you start pitting it against shooters on other consoles, like the recently released Killzone 3. In any case, Conduit 2 feels very much like an imitator of modern shooters – an imitator that doesn’t really grasp what makes all of those other shooters so great. Though a valiant effort, the end result is somewhat akin to Valve’s Half Life 2, without the big thrills, surprises, and competent enemies.

It’s clear from the get-go that the game compensates for its shortcomings by including everything and the kitchen sink. A single player quest is present, continuing from where the original Conduit left off, co-op activities are also available, but are nothing more than Horde style challenges with waves of enemies. On the other end of things, a full-fledged online multiplayer mode and a corresponding up-to-four player local multiplayer mode is available. From my experience, both the single player quest and co-op challenges are completely uninteresting and poorly executed; while the multiplayer is passable, players would do better with other recently released games.

The single player quest as it stands is barely a passing effort. While it’s clear that lots of time and energy was spent on its creation, it completely falls flat in some of the most important regards. The enemies are clearly the biggest offender, as they offer some uneven difficulty and more often than not are completely uninteresting to defeat. The vast majority of enemies, the ones with projectile weapons at least, are more than content standing in one spot, or slowly trudging forward, shooting incessantly until you inevitably defeat them.

Other enemies rush you in large numbers in an attempt to quickly overwhelm you. These particular enemies are spawned from a variety of locations and can often be deadly until you know where their spawn points are. As such, it’s usually a good enough strategy to die the first time around in order to determine their spawn points and then subsequently take them out as quickly as possible. This task feel tedious rather than challenging because its design doesn’t encourage enjoyable defense techniques, but scouting work to effectively defeat them.

Furthermore, the enemies are repeated pretty often, meaning that none of them are dispensed at interesting moments to make a situation more frantic or unexpected. Based on the room you enter, it’s immediately evident what enemy dominates that space, and it quickly becomes a standard exercise to dispose of them. In essence, overcoming the AI is not a challenge, but is the only challenge presented by the experience.

The world created to house this bland voyage is equally uninteresting, feeling more like a poor copy of the world Valve created for Half Life 2. Throughout, various alien artifacts have overtaken areas on Earth, but they all feel so lifeless, as does each and every area you encounter. There’s very little going on (due in part to the aforementioned, poorly crafted enemies and encounters), which in turn does little to provide ambiance or heighten the mood. Surely alien wares and life forms overtaking Earth should evoke an emotional response of some sort. Instead, the world just feels conveniently constructed for Mr. Ford to get around in and the alien life forms quickly transform into mere ladders and ramps to reach new areas.

In this dull world, only one item does shine brightly. The All-Seeing Eye, originally featured in the first game has seen a transformation. Here, it operates very similarly to the Scan Visor from Metroid Prime, allowing players to find hidden gems of information throughout the landscape and hack various items to progress in the quest. While it’s an interesting change, it doesn’t achieve its full potential thanks to the game’s level design. All things considered, it is often fun to take it out and scour the environment for information. It also plays into the multiplayer portion of the game, as scanning items will earn credits that can be subsequently used to unlock content there.

The multiplayer, while full-featured, has some unfortunate quirks to it. Any time you are seeking to connect online, you are subject to a lengthy update process that starts with at least a check, but can end in a download and restart if a patch is found. It’s great that High Voltage can patch up all portions of their game, but the update process should be optional if you are simply looking to quickly get online and play. Matchmaking, thankfully, was always quick and easy; however, upon entering a match fully stocked with players, lag was extremely consistent and extremely harmful to the pacing of the match.

Those with local friends can avoid this headache and simply play up-to-four players on a single system. Given the trend of most modern shooters, this inclusion is much appreciated. Here, players can really enjoy the intricacies of the Conduit 2 multiplayer system. It’s in the mold of most modern XP-based shooters, so there’s nothing to really nitpick in this regard. That being said, other games have done it better, so while it meets the bar, it doesn’t really do much to innovate beyond it.

That, in essence, is the issue with Conduit 2. It’s an imitator, through and through. It attempts to form a compelling single player experience, but consistently fails thanks to poor AI, bad pacing, and bland environments. The multiplayer feels like a copycat of other multiplayer modes and even with all of the features found elsewhere, I’d still rather play online with any of those games because they offer some additional hook or a more stable online experience. With the recent shooter releases on Wii from Activision, Conduit 2 has fallen victim to some unfortunate timing. Had it released ahead of those superior titles, Wii-only gamers could’ve had something a bit more competent. As it stands, even the Wii crowd won’t find much to love in Conduit 2.

Review Policy

In our reviews, we'll try not to bore you with minutiae of a game. Instead, we'll outline what makes the game good or bad, and focus on telling you whether or not it is worth your time as opposed to what button makes you jump.

We use a five-star rating system with intervals of .5. Below is an outline of what each score generally means:

All games that receive this score are standout games in their genre. All players should seek a way to play this game. While the score doesn't equate to perfection, it's the best any game could conceivably do.

These are above-average games that most players should consider purchasing. Nearly everyone will enjoy the game and given the proper audience, some may even love these games.

This is our middle-of-the-road ranking. Titles that receive three stars may not make a strong impression on the reviewer in either direction. These games may have some faults and some strong points but they average out to be a modest title that is at least worthy of rental for most.

Games that are awarded two stars are below average titles. Good ideas may be present, but execution is poor and many issues hinder the experience.

Though functional, a game that receives this score has major issues. There are little to no redeeming qualities and should be avoided by nearly all players.

A game that gets this score is fundamentally broken and should be avoided by everyone.



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