The original Conduit wasn't a "Halo for Wii". It didn't look like an Xbox 360 game and it wasn't a gameplay revolution. However, it was entertaining. High Voltage had paired alien weapons with fun design and stole a whole bunch of hours out of my time a couple of summers ago.
Now it's time for a sequel and the situation has changed. The HD consoles have their own motion controllers. The hardware has been pushed further making Wii titles come across as even more outdated and Nintendo will be revealing a new more powerful console in a just over a month. In other words, Conduit 2, has the a lot to overcome.
But we need to focus on the game in hand to give it a fair assessment. We're stepping back into the shoes of Michael Ford, and the story begins right after the events of the first game. The story runs along the same B-movie path as before and after a rather dull start we're quickly thrown into firefights with all kinds of enemies - the first encounter is a run in with a hungry sea creature called Leviathan.
This turns into a rather extended and frankly rather awesome fight, but as is often the case with albums where the first track is usually the best one, it turns out this was something of a narrative trick. The quality of the missions drop, and soon I find my way back in boring corridors on generic missions. I shoot a few aliens, is force fed a dull cutscene and shoot some more. Sure, we get to travel the globe with our sidekick Prometheus and visit Washington, China, Sibiria and Central America, but it feels generic and impersonal.
The story of the campaign (takes about 5-6 hours to finish) is comically bad, and after hearing stories of the evil plots of super villains and Ford's hissing one lines a billion times I want to cut off my ears, or perhaps just mute the set. Pressing the mute button is a good idea for more reasons as the sound effects fall flat, the voice actors sound constipated and the music is bland and devoid of life.
The controls worked fine overall, if you aren't allergic to playing with the Wii-mote and nunchuck that is. This time around there is also support for Wii Motion Plus, something that at the best of times takes the experience to the same level of precise aiming as Playstation Move. If you miss to analogue sticks under your thumbs you can also use the classic controller, but I really can't recommend this as the response is way to sensitive even after calibration. On several occasions I was forced to press the same button twice for Ford to do what wanted.
The best reason to buy Conduit 2 is the multiplayer. You can play with three friends in splitscreen in the co-operative Invasion mode or in one of the versus modes. There is a massive selection of modes, a grand total of 12, and it feels foreign to what we're used with on Wii, in a good way. There are humorous modes such as ASE Basketball and Balloon Battle. The latter works much like in Mario Kart each player has three balloons or lives above their heads. It's a fun idea to use it in a first person shooter, but it doesn't hold much lasting appeal. The previously mentioned Invasion mode, however, is a lot of fun and can also be enjoyed on your own.
There is constantly plenty of carrots dangling in front of the player online. You earn credits by using the cyber eye ASE to scan objects in the campaign that lets you buy new weapons and equipment. Online and offline is joined together, so that whatever you earn in one mode can be used in the other. There are also achievements to earn in both modes.
Back when The Conduit first came out I awarded it with 7/10, and as Conduit 2 is better in many areas it may come across as strange that this game gets a lower score. But many of the problematic areas of the first game are still iffy, and time has caught up with Sega's efforts to create a major FPS for Wii. If Wii is your only console, and if you haven't already played Red Steel 2 or Metroid Prime Trilogy, and desperately long for some first person shooter action - then Conduit 2 will do the job, but for most of us this game will be met with a shrug of the shoulder.