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Conduit 2 Review

Review; May. 27, 2011; Channels: Video Games; By Kyle James Hovanec
See Me After Class...

For the record, I liked the original Conduit. Despite the flaws, I found it to be a great-looking and great-playing game. Add that to the fact that the Wii featured few quality FPSs to be found, The Conduit was a semi-flawed diamond in the rough.

Conduit 2 Screenshots
Click the image to view game screenshots

Conduit 2 is not a diamond. It's not even a flawed diamond -- it's simply flawed. Extremely flawed. And the areas that aren't flawed are simply mediocre. In fact, Conduit 2 never really tries hard enough to be a competent shooter. It's the kid in the back of the class whom you know is smart, but he just never tries.

Conduit 2 picks up immediately after the first game with the main protagonist Michael Ford and his alien mentor Prometheus hot on the heels of main series villain John Adams. Shortly after the game begins, Adams tells Ford that the entire city of Washington, D.C. -- and his wife and kids -- has died from radiation poisoning. Ford is understandably furious, and with Prometheus' advice, follows Adams through a conduit portal on an around-the-world chase to shut down his genetically engineered Drudge aliens and human lackeys, The Trust.

This sounds like a solid enough story of revenge and saving the world, but shortly after this scene, Ford is doing something inexplicable: cracking jokes. I know that laughter is the best medicine, and sometimes you need to poke fun at a dire situation, but I'm not sure I've ever met anyone who has lost his family make a grade school-level pun moments later. This is where the narrative of the single player storyline begins to fall apart. The game never can decide whether it's being serious or poking fun at itself. We're tasked with the dire prediction of the end of the world one minute and a wise crack about a 3,000-year-old half-naked humanoid alien looking like a “stone cold fox” the next.

This leads to the second problem: enemy design and level design. It's, flat out, uninspired and boring. In the game, you'll traverse the world from an oil rig caught in a storm to the spaceship Atlantis hidden undersea. Understandably, one would expect these levels to be exotically stunning. Instead, what we get are bland environments with little to no background detail. An ancient temple in China should immediately catch the eye, but instead it's dark and murky with stereotypical arches and tunnels. A secret base in Siberia looks like an early snow-covered multiplayer map from the original N64 Goldeneye. Speaking of Rare shooters, the Atlantis looks suspiciously like the the alien vessel in the bottom of the ocean from Perfect Dark, murky graphics and all. Never would I have expected an FPS with such fantastical environments to come off as bland as a common military themed shooter.

Conduit 2 Screenshots

The enemies and characters are equally uninspired and low in detail. The alien drudge look more like a random hodgepodge of geometric shapes with pointy blocks stuck on top. The humans' combat armor looks like cheap imitations from Halo 3: ODST. Even Ford and his allies look ridiculous, sporting unnecessary bulky armor, or in regard to the half-naked humanoid alien woman, looking like a cheesy pornographic version of someone from Tron. Even the bosses are average at best, resembling the scribblings of a middle school kid than that of a current generation console FPS.

The game plays just as well as the original. There are a ton of customizable options in both single and multiplayer. However, the Wii remote and nunchuck aren't very effective at hitting smaller targets -- which single player has an abundance of -- during melee combat. Instead you'll be frantically thrusting your Wii mote at the screen and accidentally repositioning your character and getting swarmed.

The multiplayer is as fun as the first and comes with a variety of new features, such as a mode called “Invasion” in which you and a split-screen partner hold off waves of enemies similar to Call of Duty's “Zombies” mode or Halo's “Firefight” mode. Using a currency system, you have the ability to unlock a variety of weapons, skins, and armor upgrades. The game comes with a decent amount of maps, and the use of the “Ally” system is a nice touch instead of exchanging friends' codes. However, despite these upgrades, nothing is new or innovative -- it's all been seen before. In such a crowded and competitive market, being decent isn't enough. It was solid, and it worked, but I would be lying if I said I was having fun.

Conduit 2 could have been a massive improvement over the first decidedly decent title, but it comes off as a game of mistaken identity, not quite knowing what it wants to be. When it finally does find itself, it comes to the horrifying realization that it was only mediocre at best. Conduit 2 is the perfect example of a game simply coasting by. I can think of at least six other Wii FPSs worth playing over this, most of them quite a few years old as well.

Better luck next time, Conduit 2. Better start hitting the books harder.  

Comments

qqqqqqqq - May. 31, 2011 at 7:39:25pm

I bought this game, and its a fine game. Its addictive and fun. Everything about the 1st game has been improved in this game. So before you start hating a decent game, you should probably start hitting the books on game reviews you prick.

Review Score
5.6

Teen

Titles rated T (Teen) have content that may be suitable for ages 13 and older. Titles in this category may contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling, and/or infrequent use of strong language.

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