Joystiq hands-on: The Conduit

In terms of playable software at Nintendo's Fall Media Summit, none received as much attention from attendees as High Voltage Software's The Conduit – and for good reason. The game already had some buzz behind it going into the event, but our anticipation for it reached new heights upon watching a developer walkthough of the latest build.

The Media Summit version of The Conduit showcased a never-before-seen Cold War bunker level, and High Voltage's staff was eager to show off tech like depth of field, normal mapping, newly implemented high-res textures, and a number of other things that had us saying, "This looks really good for a Wii game ... but how does it play?" The answer to that question can be found after the break.
High Voltage hasn't been shy in touting its game as ushering in a new generation of FPS for Wii, particularly in the realm of motion-control. Having already spent plenty of time with Metroid Prime 3: Corruption's flavor of pointer-based blasting, we just had to see how The Conduit could do it one better. It turns out that the game does it by providing a very realistic feeling of direct control over turning and aiming (and this is without Wii MotionPlus) combined with an impressive degree of tuning options.

It's possible to tune the controls – including sensitivity, turn speed, the pointer's "dead zone," and more – in real time while playing (although the High Voltage reps advised against doing it in the middle of a firefight). After only 30 seconds or so of tweaking, we had set the controls to our liking and were immediately impressed by the accuracy and, more importantly, the sense of immersion as we quickly and accurately stormed through the level, tossing grenades with a flick of the Nunchuk.

Of course, the tech we mentioned early certainly plays a key role in the overall experience. There's no doubting that this is one of the better looking Wii titles in the pipeline, and that mostly has to do with the capabilities of its proprietary engine combined with solid visual design.

We were most impressed by the actions (and animation) of our enemies, the look & feel of the environment, and thought that the All Seeing Eye (ASE) – a device that is used to locate secrets and provide a puzzle sequence aspect – was a nice, unique addition to the mix.

While we only got to play through a tiny sliver of the full game, The Conduit left us with hope for the genre making some bold strides both control-wise and technologically on Wii. Its tech and motion-based gameplay are already delivering on the unfulfilled promises of Red Steel (albeit sans-sword) and we can only hope that other Wii developers contemplating an FPS for the console study it closely.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.