Ever since developer High Voltage premiered a trailer for The Conduit some time ago, we knew we were seeing a Wii game with great potential. We were happy Sega picked Conduit up for publishing duties because their last non-Sonic Wii games - MadWorld and House of the Dead: Overkill - have been excellent, despite not selling really well.
We recently sat down with The Conduit’s online multiplayer to see not only if it played well, but also if it could stand tall with FPS giants like Killzone 2 or Call of Duty 4. Admittedly, we do have slight reservations of The Conduit, but are fairly impressed with how the game is utilizing the Wii controls and matchmaking system. Here’s what we thought.
1) It’s easy to find and start a game
From the main menu, we were impressed at how smooth it was to jump into a game. Choosing the online multiplayer option enables us to create a match, be dropped into a buddy’s match or find other matches to join. We chose “Friends only” and were surprised how quickly we were able to find the other 11 players waiting for us. Granted, we were in the same room with all of them, but we’re glad there were no hiccups or terribly long waits.
From there, you enter the lobby which enables you to vote on match type, the weapon set and one of 8 maps. All of this can be randomized or the host can set the parameters. You can also see the 12 players for the upcoming match and their rank/level (denoted by what badge they have, of which there are 24).Those with Wii Speak are denoted with a speech bubble next to their name. If your opponent sounds a bit irritating, just click his speech bubble and you won’t hear their profanity online. Again, while basic, the lobby was smooth and we hopped into games quickly.
2) No notable lag
We know what you’re thinking, “No notable lag? Duh, that’s how a game should be in the year 2009!” Well, it should come as no surprise that the Wii’s online capability is less than inviting. True stories: we’ve given up playing Super Smash Bros. Brawl online because of the awful lag (even playing against someone in the same city) AND we spent hours setting up a Mario Kart Wii MP session in the GR offices, and it still didn’t work. For two of the top first-party games to stutter that dramatically is not multiplayer excellence.
Granted, our conditions at Sega were optimal as all 12 players were sitting next to each other in the same room, but it was over Wi-Fi and it did work. So when we say there is no lag for a fast-paced FPS, that’s a big deal.
3) Having trouble with the controls? Fix ‘em!
Admittedly, we took umbrage with the controls. Not that they were bad, but we’d like to think that the conditions weren’t altogether optimal. We’ve mentioned in previous previews how customizable the controls are for Conduit (everything from button placement to HUD placement to scaling how big the dead zone box is). Unfortunately, we didn’t get that chance when playing MP. This could be due to the fact that we played a foot away from the TV, or that 12 sensor bars were lined up in a row or maybe the dev who set up the game had the arm sensitivity of a kung-fu master. Whatever the case, it was mildly frustrating for someone who plays a lot of FPSs.
The times where we dominated felt oh-so-right, however. Controls are similar to single-player mode; B is shoot, A is jump, waggle the Wii Remote to melee, shake the Nunchuck for a grenade lob, Z to lock-on, C to crouch, up on the d-pad for a 180-turn. It felt surprisingly natural, but of course there were times we just wanted to click in an analog stick to sprint (no sprinting by the way) or melee someone. But again, the controls take some getting used to if you play a lot of other console FPSs.