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The Conduit 2 Hands-On Preview: Conduit? Or Can't duit?

Jonathan Lester
Games previews, High Voltage Software, Sega, The Conduit 2, Wii games

The Conduit 2 Hands-On Preview: Conduit? Or Can't duit?

The Conduit 2 may have been pushed back to the early part of 2011 (due, in no small part, to the looming appearance of Activision's Goldeneye reboot and CoD Black Ops this holiday season), but SEGA nevertheless brought a preview copy along to their recent product demonstration day. After deciding who was going to check out The Conduit rather than the latest Football Manager (using a professional round of rock-paper-scissors), I was able assess how things are shaping up thus far.

The demo level was set on a forboding oil rig in the middle of an torrential storm. Agent Ford's presence on said oil-drilling platform was incredibly vague since the preview build lacked voice acting... but in a nutshell, the objective is still to shoot everything in sight and occasionally whip out the All Seeing Eye to open locked doors. Rather than the tedious alien Drudge, squads of heavily-armed human combatants are pitted against the player who can refreshingly use cover and heavy weapons rather than just charging straight ahead or cheaply dropping from the ceiling. Flipping over tables and moving boxes to form makeshift barricades are definitely scripted moments, but serve to add a lot more character to the experience this time around. The visuals certainly weren't up to much- but Wii owners and reviewers are willing to prioritise gameplay over shiny graphics any day. Let's see how it stacks up.

The Conduit 2 Hands-On Preview: Conduit? Or Can't duit?

Like its predecessor, the Wiimote controls the aiming reticle that can be used to target enemies and rotate the point of view when moved to the periphery of the screen. The nunchuck thumbstick deals with movement and strafing; and I'm delighted to report that it handles fairly well. Whilst the default control sensitivity is a little twitchy, this actually provides an intuitive setup that becomes second nature after a couple of minutes at the helm. The core gunslinging is fast, fun and fluid without compromising accuracy and control. Standard submachineguns, SPAS-12 shotguns and some obtuse alien weaponry provide a well-rounded arsenal, and harder difficulties will apparently include weapon-specific AI that will make for some hectic and tactical firefights. Suffice to say, it's shaping up nicely.

The Conduit 2 Hands-On Preview: Conduit? Or Can't duit?

Combat is exciting and fluid even at this early stage

Unfortunately, this is is as far as my praise for The Conduit 2 can go… though for the sake of fairness, I have to point out that I was assured that my experience was with an “early build” (which would have been more convincing if the original release date wasn't just around the corner). From what the preview copy had to offer, High Voltage Software are going to need every single minute of the extra months that the delay has brought them.

The main offenders are poor level design and loading times. Thanks to the Wii's limited hardware, each stage is broken down into tiny corridors that use painfully slow bulkheads to blatantly disguise long loading/caching sessions. It's no exaggeration to say that I spent as much time waiting in front of doors as I did actually shooting anyone– and even had time to drink a cup of coffee and engage in some networking during one particularly long, boring wait. This completely and obtrusively breaks the flow of the combat... and more vexingly, several of these doorways eventually open into short empty corridors with yet another door at the end. I have absolutely no idea why this corridor wasn't replaced by a single bulkhead. Or even a loading screen. With a fun little minigame in the background. You can have that idea for nothing, SEGA.

The objective marker and cutscene triggers were also completely broken. I'd go into more detail, but it's pretty clear that this is due to the coding being behind schedule rather than a major problem with the game. However, the texturing was so unrepentantly drab and featureless that a functioning marker system will be a must for the finished product.

The Conduit 2 Hands-On Preview: Conduit? Or Can't duit?

Explosive monster hit or monstrous failure? The combat's great, but everything else needs a lot of work.

To conclude, The Conduit 2 needs a lot more work... but could potentially be a much more capable shooter than the original and a superbly strong Wii FPS if High Voltage manage to iron out the kinks. A lot less loading, more intelligent level design (with larger arenas replacing the pointless short corridors) and a few little graphical upgrades will go a long way towards providing a solid experience this time around. The demo concluded with an enormous alien sea monster rearing up and destroying half of the oil rig... and if High Voltage can keep the focus on interesting combatants and big budget moments, there's definitely a glimpse of a monster title on the horizon. The key word, I'm afraid, is if.

Add a comment7 comments
manuel  Sep. 10, 2010 at 00:03

the game is great the graphics are great when the first one was first shown it got mistaken for a 360 game sure it takes a bit for a door to open who cares wii's hard ware is just fine and all shooters are the same run and gun all shooters are just that you just hate-in on wii

MICHAEL  Sep. 10, 2010 at 13:51

yeah i showed my friend some E3 footage and they really thought it was on 360, plus it DOESNT HAVE CORRIDORS, theres so many pthes to the objective, you prolly just took the corridopr ones because you have no balls. you are a biased prick who wont play anything other than halo. you didnt even talk about the great weapons, awesome multiplayer, incredible sound qualities and AMAZING GRAPHICS. they also have loadouts, splitsceen online, AND A SPRINT BUTTON. it took halo 4 tries, call of duty 3 tries. but conduit on needs 2. and codmod2 doesnt even have splitscreen online where this does. heres what youd say if you werent a douche: this game is awesome and a need to buy game for all wii owners, those who dont have a wii should grab this anyway :D. this review is BULL.

Mr. Ford  Sep. 10, 2010 at 16:32

Most of the arguments that this article makes I completely disagree with. Sure the issues may hold true in the build that this individual demoed but it was a pre-alpha/alpha build and it obviously doesn't hold a tee to the actual game. As to why they are still showing off this build when they are more likely much further in development is strange but they probably currently don't want to waste time making another demo build when they can be working on the actual game. Many of the issues that the author has mentioned have already been addressed as this is a very old build of the game. First of all hvs software has already confirmed more diverse and much larger open-ended environments as this was a complaint from the first game. They specifically even said that the oil rig which is only the first level in the game mind you, is the most confined space you'll find yourself in the game and that level alone is an improvement from any of the levels that you can find in the first game. So the first level is pretty much the only corridor shooting you'll find in the game. As for loading times HVS has already said that in the final game that there would be little to even no loading screens. The fact that there are so many in an alpha version of the game is understandable...because it's not the finished product. Graphic wise this game is amazing. Their Quantum 3 Engine allows them to do lighting, shading, and texture and bump mapping that are normally thought incapable on the Wii's hardware. Although this build doesn't show it if you have seen some of the footage of the multiplayer maps you can really see how much further they've come graphic wise from the first. Plus this build doesn't show off the fantastic new lighting system that they've come up with. Again look up some multiplayer footage to see that because its more updated than this footage and it shows off how amazing the new graphics are. None of these issues are relevant because this is the alpha version of the game and hvs is currently aware of all these things and they have already fixed them. All of this is just rehash as hvs has already said the demo is buggy and unfinished. For some updated information and some proof of these new additions check out the Conduit 2 fact sheet recently revealed by hvs software: http://purenintendo.com/2010/09/01/conduit-2-fact-sheet/

ddd87  Sep. 10, 2010 at 21:29

This build was the one used in e3. Besides this game never had a release date. Im sure the autor knew that, or else he would be quite unprofessional and biased...

ddd87  Sep. 10, 2010 at 21:34

Though considering the game is actually called "Conduit 2" I wonder how much info the autor knows

Jonathan Lester  Sep. 11, 2010 at 12:50

Wow. This is a hands-on preview, folks: which means that it's based solely on my experiences with the preview build that SEGA decided to show me last Wednesday. It's my job to call it how I see it.

Secondly, many of you seem to be under the impression that this is a purely negative article. It isn't- and as I clearly explain, C2 has real potential when Q1 2011 rolls around.

MICHAEL  Sep. 12, 2010 at 21:30

i appologize for the comments, im just so sick and tired of people nocking the wii down ALL THE TIME. tell me what game on xbox is like smash bros or mario kart, you know? but anyways im sorry for that, i just am VERYYYY ambicious for this sequel :D

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