This is going to sound mean, but there really isn’t any other way to put it: we, as Wii owners, need to just give up on High Voltage Software. It seems the company just can’t get it right. They can try different genres and different platforms, but every time we get a game from them the final product just doesn’t match the hype. It was true with The Conduit, it was true with Tournament of Legends, and it’s true for Conduit 2. When your studio hasn’t created a title that’s received a Gamerankings.com score of over 80% in ten years, something is wrong.
In this case, HVS seems content with making a game that is “good for the Wii” instead of making an actually good game.
Graphics – 6/10
By now, most people have seen the tech demonstration HVS put together a few years back to show what their Wii engine can do. It’s a shame they didn’t use it in this game. Or at least use it to the fullest of its potential. While the guns in the game look great, most of the environments look like they could have been done on the Gamecube. When the game has a lot going on, you do get a bit of slowdown, but the frame rate is pretty consistent.
The biggest issue with the graphics in the game lies in the characters. Some aliens have decent designs, but most of the soldiers are very generic looking. In a step up from the last game, cut scenes are fully animated. It’s a shame that it’s these moments, when the cut scene uses the game engine instead of FMV that you find the biggest problem with the graphics. The characters are shaky, lips don’t sync, and movement is stiff. Everything comes across like it was made for the Playstation. Don’t know if this is a tech problem or an artist problem, but it’s a problem that needs to be fixed.
Controls – 8/10
No big surprise here. The controls in The Conduit were great and they get even better here. WiiMotion+ is a nice addition, but not really noticeable. Loads of customization that will intimidate a casual player, but inspire a hardcore Conduit fan (if they exist)
Story – 1/10
Where to begin on this game’s story. The Conduit had a simple, yet complete story that made perfect sense and was actually entertaining to play through. This one… not so much. Part of it is Conduit 2 took away the one thing that really made the first game special: its setting. It was fun going through the streets of Washington D.C., having fire fights at national monuments and uncovering a National Treasure-type mystery with a sci-fi twist. This game has you hoping around the globe searching for progenitors as the villain Adams tries to kill them. The story doesn’t make a lot of sense, but you will at least be able to follow along.
Some parts of the story, however, I would like to point out as being exceedingly stupid. The first of which is the Destroyer exoskeleton suit. Congratulation HVS, you took someone who resembled a human being in the first game and turned him into sad Master Chief wanna-be. The second is the new personality HVS has given Michael Ford. He really didn’t have a personality in the first game, instead being a blank slate to unravel the mystery as the player does. In this game, he is a douche bag who sounds like a cheap Duke Nukem rip-off (correction, he is voiced by Jon St. John, the voice of Duke Nukem. Quite a range you got there Mr. St. John). My third complaint with the story is the retarded-as-hell twist ending. I’m not going to spoil it for anyone, but if you’re interested just Google “Conduit 2 ending” and skip to the 10 minute mark. It does not make me want to play the third game (if there will be one); instead, it makes me feel sorry for HVS for hiring whatever idiot they did to write this story.
Single Player – 4/10
With the story as bad as it is, there really isn’t a way the single-player campaign can be any good. And it’s not. It’s too short, at times confusing on what you’re supposed to do (I’m looking at you Siberia level), and comes across as a poor mix between Halo and Call of Duty. Everything is linear, you’re just moving from cut scene to cut scene to push along the poor story.
The campaign would be even shorter, but HVS decided to put in some artificial ways of extending it. Between the various levels on Earth, you have to work your way through different parts of your ship “Atlantis” because you have to unlock a door or power up your ship or something else just as unimaginative. It doesn’t help that the ship is so damned bland.
Multi-Player – 8/10
The Conduit got online multi-player right the first time and the sequel keeps up the tradition. It’s nothing spectacular, but the sheer amount of customization will keep you coming back; that is if there are other people to play with. Split screen is a nice addition and thankfully, environments don’t really take a hit when you play online.
Sound – 7/10
Nothing special to write home about when it comes to the sound. Ignoring the bad voice-acting, the music is good, explosions sound nice and the various sound effects for the weapons give them life.
A.I. – 3/10
Besides the boss battles (which are pattern based and really easy to figure out) there seems to be three kinds of A.I. in the game: brainless, scripted and (let’s call it) menacing. Brainless is just as it sounds, bad guys run towards you, you in turn shoot them dead. Scripted has enemies running to pre-set areas on the map and going for cover, kind of like a shooting gallery. These are easily disposed with a head shot. Finally, menacing is like Brainless, but the enemies are huge, pack a lot of fire power and are meant to strike fear into your heart. They can also be easily disposed of with a well placed head shot.
Replay Value – 5/10
While you certainly won’t be playing the single-player mode more than once, multi-player can provide months of fun so long as you can find other people to play with online. Sales of the game haven’t been great, so don’t hold your breath. Either way, it should get you through the summer, if you can stand it that long.
Overall – 4/10
The game just isn’t that good. Sorry High Voltage Software, this isn’t 2009 anymore. You can’t put out a game that promises so much and delivers so little. Since The Conduit launched, the FPS scene on the Wii has (sort of) blossomed, and many of the titles released since then do it better than Conduit 2. Red Steel 2 has better graphics, Goldeneye has a better single-story campaign and Call of Duty: Black Ops has a more complete online experience. I know people like to think of HVS as the “little studio that could”, but in reality, it can’t.