Electronic Theatre Preview: The Conduit

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Electronic Theatre ImageThe Conduit has become somewhat of a beacon for Wii Hardcore Gamers. A symbol representing that what they’d hoped they’d be playing prior to launch may well arrive in the end, if not by Nintendo themselves, then at least by the third-parties developing for their machine. The technical limitations of Nintendo’s home system is the world’s worst kept secret, with the system’s software portfolio at current doing little to rival even the earliest of Xbox360 releases.

Electronic Theatre ImageHigh Voltage Software hopes to raise the bar in that portfolio’s visual fidelity, and at current few would argue against it doing so. Stunning in the screenshots, the title looks even better in motion. The environments have the dank feel of The Darkness about them – although by no means with the same level of visual signposting – and the accuracy of the light reflection and ripples upon water, the clarity of the field of vision and toned-down ragdoll physics make for a technically comprehensive package; even if at this point it appears that all but the most heinous of villains have the brain of a moth – drawn to the player’s gun-flare.

The game excuses this by offering a tale of “puppets” being mind-controlled by a greater being found later in the Levels, and allows room for much more player checkboxes to be ticked in doing so. The player’s basic arsenal is later supported by Alien weaponry and experimental human firepower with alternate firing modes. The Levels, at present, are more sedate than perhaps would be expected for Wii’s First-Person Shooter show-stopper, with basic corridor environments and switch-based puzzles clearly finding it difficult to compete with Halo 3’s cinematic Set-Pieces.

The Control System is a vital part of most Wii releases – especially those aimed at the Hardcore market. Here, we have the predictably mixed-bag of First-Person Shooter requirements and the unfortunate placement of buttons on the Wii Remote. Aiming and movement are based on the sameElectronic Theatre Image principles as Metroid Prime 3: Corruption and cannot be flawed, and chucking grenades is as simple as gesturing the Nunchuk. However, the options of manual reload and picking-up new weapons have imprecisely been placed on the + Button, often resulting in a downgrade of firepower when the player was simply going for a new clip.

While The Conduit looks to be something of a spectacle on Wii, it also helps to prove that, despite Nintendo’s insistences otherwise, developers may be more limited by the technology available then by their imagination. Or maybe it could be that Wii was never meant for the games Nintendo’s Hardcore audience have been hoping they’d one day be playing.










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