6.5

Titillating controls and impressive graphics not quite enough.

The game starts off with a bang thanks to the visuals and excellent control scheme, but soon you will find out why the game is less than stellar.
In "The Conduit" you play as Agent Michael Ford in a story which is effectively about aliens invading Earth. If this story sounds somewhat cliche, that is simply because it is very cliche. The information in the game is sparse and there is absolutely zero background or character building, leaving the game with a cut-out and copy shooter feel. The levels are monotonous and there are often long stretches where there can be nothing other than bleak walls and crates, punctuated by an odd enemy here and there. Once you find an enemy, there are usually more than it seems necessary for that space. If High Voltage had perhaps spread the enemies out a little more, the gameplay would have felt more consistent and more engaging. Moreover, in some areas there are invisible 'mines' that are annoying, though not all together a terrible idea. If the developers had used the mines as more environment (which you could also use against the enemy) and less invisible enemy replacement and a cheap death, then perhaps there would be some merit to their existence. The enemies also need to have more consistent, realistic AI. In some areas, there is no resistance as you seem superior in every way to your enemies. Other areas, however, reveal that the enemies know you are coming and you are provided with absolutely zero cover from which to launch your own attacks.
Moving on to the level design, there is not much more positive to say. The levels are generic, bland, and often lack sufficient cover for your character as previously stated. They are really just too drawn out and you may often end up feeling like you are running through the inside of a very large, hostile alien inhabited cardboard box. Also, the enemies have little variance and it feels like you are shooting the exact same enemy for hours.
Staying on the graphics, the visual effects are utterly fantastic and the enemies, though repetitive, are well animated and look amazing. The aliens are almost always vibrantly colored, lending to their impressive presentation.
The brightest area of "The Conduit" is the controls. The developers have done a wonderful job mapping the controls to the Wii remote and keeping the light gun feel. The controls are pretty intuitive and do not take many adjustments (though if you strictly play Halo or CoD:MW, it does take a little getting used to) to get you firing like a pro in no time.
Overall, the game is only okay. While the controls and visual effects are enthralling, pretty much everything else is only mediocre at best. For the sequel, which has been announced, High Voltage really needs to smooth out the difficulty, work on the level design, and give the story some substance. It does not need to be an epic, but a dime novel story would be one heck of an improvement.

Discussion