The Conduit Hands-On Preview
At the New York Comic, I was able to get hands-on time with the game and play a few levels from what looks to be the opening sequence of High-Voltages new Wii game, the Conduit. The Conduit is sort of an interesting game to process. It’s built on the Quantum 3 engine, an engine that was built from scratch to perform at high quality exclusively for the Nintendo Wii. High Voltage Software is considering the licensing possibilities but obviously just wants to work on finishing The Conduit and getting that out the door. The Conduit is the first true first-person shooter experience that gamers can feel actually justifies their 50 dollar purchase and are getting the most “bang for your buck” as you would say and on the Wii no less.
The Story So Far: The Conduit is pretty much done with the alpha stage at this point. As per what High Voltage said at NYCC, they were starting their beta phase. Multiplayer is getting ironed out and now it is a matter of making multiplay as lag free as possible. Their single player experience will go through a bit of testing and require just a tad bit of adjustment and probably touch ups to the AI and graphical aspects of the title. Now, The Conduit doesn’t release until June which is quite a while from now, unfortunately. Either way, this should give High Voltage Software just enough time to iron out all the details and catch any bugs in the system.
What I Played: The Wii desperately needs something new for a change and with its bare bones of a line up, so thank god for Mad World and The Conduit. I got a chance to have a pretty decent session with The Conduit and from what I can tell you the game is shaping up nicely. The demo that was on the show floor (NYCC) showed off a few small levels that took us through the streets of Washington DC. Getting used to the controls was interesting because it was off the beaten path of normal Wii shooters. You can customize your controls as crazily as you like and save them for future use. The Conduit takes much after a PC inspired control system and that’s saying a lot for its development process.
The controls are customizable and the biggest thing that will make or break the experience for you is probably its sensitivity. There is a bit of a grey area when it comes to finding your comfort zone. When I got myself into the menus and found my viewing area, I found that it was pretty easy to adjust and gave it that Metroid Prime feel. Afterwards I was blasting away at “The Drudge”, stopping their every move to invade the streets of Washington DC. Other customizable items would be your HUD screen in which you can organize where you want your ammo placement, grenade ammo…etc, to be placed or you can remove them all together.
As far as gameplay mechanics are concerned, you use the Wiimote (B button) to fire away with whatever weapon you hold at the time or you thrust the Wiimote forward to punch at the oncoming enemy in case you ran out of ammo. Grenades are the fun part of the game because if you have a decent stock of them, all you have to do is aim with the Wiimote and thrust the nunchuck forward and the grenade launches in your desired direction. No more using the guess work to figure out where the grenade “might” land.
The Conduit is looking like the best Wii game to date. There was some extreme work put into the visuals and it certainly has paid off for the Quantum 3 Engine. There are some bump mapping fixes which essentially smooth out environments so they don’t look too out of place when viewed up close. With the quality water effects, it gives the game its own identity and increases its appeal. While it was moving fine at its current framerate, things got a bit iffy when more enemies and action started to fill up the screen, but its just one of the few things that has to be ironed out before release.
There are a variety of weapons throughout the game, as explained to me by High Voltage, and you will encounter everything from the military style weaponry to the alien’s armory itself. There are puzzles to keep you enticed in the game and this is where the “All Seeing Eye” comes in. It lets you visually see anything that you might’ve missed in the area and help you unlock everything around you. Puzzles will have you unlocking secret areas and finding enemy mines lying around the streets or sewers.
With multiplayer nothing is quite confirmed yet and it’s probably still in the early stages of being ironed out completely. The team is testing the game daily by going online and making sure everything is about as lag free as possible. High Voltage wouldn’t commit to details of the multiplayer but you can expect the normal death match games like capture the flag and more for at least up to 16 players. All in all, The Conduit is shaping up nicely and is looking to be one of the top titles that Wii owners should keep an eye out for when it's released.