Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Who cares about The Conduit?

High Voltage Software's Wii first-person shooter, The Conduit, was released just under a month ago, and early word has it that sales have been mediocre at best. Some Wii fans see this as the distressing final proof that original, enthusiast-oriented IP cannot succeed on the platform. As an enthusiast gamer myself, I am here to say that I am not at all distressed. Let it be known that this was NEVER the sort of game I wanted on the Wii.

No, I haven't played it. I haven't played it because it looks irredeemably generic. Enduring endless previews every single month in Nintendo Power leading up to the game's release, not only did I feel it looked unimpressive next to current PS3/360 shooters, but I didn't think it would have stood out even back on the GameCube. The art, characters, story--everything about the game just seemed so utterly uninspired.

As far as I could tell, any attention it received was only because it was a first-person shooter designed for the Wii. This perceived hole in the Wii library is meaningless, in my opinion, because anyone remotely interested in this kind of game, whether or not they have a Wii, should own a PS3 or 360 (or stick to PC). Maybe The Conduit does boast better control than any PS3/360 shooter, but that wouldn't come close to making up for all that the game lacks. I own all three consoles, and I can honestly say that I never find myself wishing that more of the PS3/360 shooters I play had been designed for the Wii instead.

More broadly, who even still cares about getting "hardcore" games on the Wii? Sure, we all want new installments in Nintendo's own franchises, but why does the system really need hardcore third-party exclusives? Mind you, I bought No More Heroes, MadWorld, and even The House of the Dead: Overkill. I'm not sure at what point rail shooters became hardcore, but, as for the other two, there frankly isn't any compelling argument that can be made for why those games should have been Wii exclusives. I'm not saying that they suffered as a result, but I no longer see the sense in judging Wii titles just by Wii standards.

With even Final Fantasy and Metal Gear going multiplatform, the PS3 vs. 360 war has become inane. But the Wii does not exist in a bubble, because, I say again, no true hardcore gamer would limit themselves to only owning a Wii. I look at my library and I no longer perceive it in three divisions. It is all one collection now, and The Conduit competes for a place on that wall, not against Wii fare like Petz: Horse Club and Imagine Fashion Party, but against eminent first-person shooters like Halo, Killzone, and Call of Duty.

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