First look at The Conduit 2

He, and humanity in general,is soon caught in the midst of a battle between two Earthbound alien factions, and from what we’ve gathered so far they appear to be aliens other than the Drudge, who are still knocking around in certain areas of the world (notably, in the ruins of Washington DC), kicking seven bells out of your old human enemies, the Trust. This AI-against-AI behaviour is part of an effort to make the world seem more alive. Other steps include smarter enemies, who will now occasionally use the environment as cover.

Above: At this stage it’s not clear if the game will support MotionPlus, but if it does it won’t be a requirement

Thankfully, it’s a more alive world that you get to make more dead with the game’s extensive, creative arsenal. New guns include the vortex cannon, which projects a force field that traps bullets and grenades in mid-air before reflecting them back at their owners at the touch of a button. You’ll also get a a nifty deployable turret and phase rifle that can shoot through solid walls. With most shooters these days getting progressively more ‘realistic’ with their weapon loadouts, the game’s outlandish gun collection is still greatly appreciated.

Above: The gaming world needs more 4-player split-screen

So too is the focus on co-op. Although you won’t be able to tackle the campaign with multiple players, there are a number of special modes, including the arena-like Invasion, which pits four chumps against multiple waves of enemies. The four of you can either play online or off, in the welcome (and increasingly rare) four-way split-screen. Although the maximum number of online players is still capped at 12, competitive multiplayer will also be enhanced by the simple act of carving up the screen with a kitchen knife. It’s taken a while, but it looks as though the Wii may have finally found its answer to the immortal GoldenEye.

Above: High Voltage have promised to deliver a more varied assortment of enemies in the sequel, as well as more creative character design. To be honest, the humanoid grunts in the latest screenshots look as bland as ever to us, but this giant, laser-spewing serpent is a slither in the right direction

If we don our patented Cynic’s Hat, we’d note that The Conduit would have been a great first-person shooter in the ’90s, while its sequel looks like it strolled straight out of the Perfect Dark era. But we’re going to leave the hat off for now, because early signs point to a game inspired by the original’s criticism rather than crushed by it, and because four heads are usually better than one.

May 24, 2010