Platform:Wii Exclusive Publisher:Sega Expected release: Spring 2009
The Wii has an odd relationship with most hardcore gamers; the type of love-to-hate thing that’s usually projected at soap stars and reality show winners. Most of us have one and we’ll gladly break the Wii remotes out after a few pints in the pub, but the rest of the time we’ll rage against it.
There are very few good games, after all. Boom Blox is great for afternoons with the kids, but what about when you want something more hardcore? That’s where Nintendo’s deplorably casual console falls down, as even the Zelda game for the platform is about as exciting as picking your nose.
It’s around here then that Sega is stepping up to the plate lately, with games like Madworld and House of the Dead: Overkill trying to fill that market with the promise of gore and guns. There’s also The Conduit, Sega’s attempt to make the FPS format work on the platform.
Simply a tale of an alien invasion and the efforts of the humans to repel said nasties, The Conduit has a blend of puzzle-solving and action that reminds us (superficially at least) of Half-Life. The levels that we got a chance to explore, which were all underground bunkers and military complexes, only reinforced that mighty compliment.
The Conduit doesn’t cast players as an infuriatingly mute researcher with a penchant for murder though, but as a secret agent who’s been recently inducted to a secret organisation called The Trust, named Mr. Ford. The game doesn’t give an awful lot away about The Trust or Mr. Ford, which is what makes them secret agents and groups, we suppose.
What we do know though is that Mr. Ford is somewhat of a newbie and, as The Trust’s most readily bullied whipping boy, it’s down to him to defend Washington D.C. from a group of teleporting beasties called the Drudge.
The alien attack isn’t what you might expect though; the Drudge hasn’t simply stormed into the city and started blowing things up, but has crippled the government with an inventively named virus called ‘The Bug’ which has infected thousands. Disguising themselves as humans and working to destabilise the military, The Drudge has been the real cause behind a number of terrorist attacks – including an assassination attempt on September 11th.
This is the situation that Mr. Ford finds himself in then; what little of the Army isn’t infected with The Bug is being used to prevent constant civil uprisings, while the real source of the problem prepares to launch a coup de grace. It’s the type of problem that can only be solved with the liberal use of guns and healthpacks that are instantly applied the moment you run over them.
What makes The Conduit actually interesting as a Wii FPS though is the fact that, believe it or not, it actually plays pretty well. Unlike other shooters on the platform it doesn't force in boring minigames or require super-strenuous movements of you just to get your character to shoot. It’s also got multiplayer for up to 16 players which, though it isn’t enough to stand out on most other platforms, is a phenomenally impressive step for a Wii game.
That goes doubly so when the multiplayer aspect include voice chat and a variety of game modes too – it’s just a shame we didn’t get to have a go on the multiplayer modes. Thankfully though, the singleplayer part of the game was impressive enough...