A Conduit of Light

[Originally posted on blog.teboda.net]

The so called hardcore has had an downward spiraling attitude towards the Wii and the titles that are released for it. Prior to release speculation ran wild on all the fantastic things that you would be able to do with the system. How it would revolutionize gaming and how you would never want to go back to using the tired old gamepad for many genres, one that came up in particular was the FPS. I myself was not immune to the hype and fantasies either, expecting I would have a hard time going back to "duel-sticking" once the wonder of the wiimote and nunchuck combo arrived.

The first blow came at the systems launch when Red Steel - the title that was suppose to show us what the Wii could do for the FPS-genre - turned out to be a rushed and ultimately failed attempt, that seemingly proved the opposite - that the Wii was totally unfit and incapable of doing FPS:s properly. Then there was nothing for what seemed like ages. Few games of worth where released and the FPS:es we where expecting in droves where especially non-existent. While the more casual gamers where still happy with Wii Sports and where buying Wii Play by the truckloads, the hardcore where becoming restless.

Finally Metroid Prime 3: Corruption was released. Although this game was a massive improvement over Red Steel, it still didn't seem to make the impact that many of us was expecting it to. Partly this was due to many gamers not being completely sold on the idea of an FPA (First-Person Adventure) that the original game introduced and that was continued with it's two sequels. Some, like myself had grown slightly tired of the Prime atmosphere... It's a little too Halo-ish for my taste. The environments are lovely but I hate the space-pirates as well as the Federation (I think they're called the Federation anyway) troops which both feel like toy action figures or something. It all feels a little too childish... in a bad way. Well, I simply felt little motivation to keep play, and getting stuck on one of the earlier bosses didn't help much either. Another reason that MP3 didn't get much attention is that Nintendo failed to market it properly. It seems like they thought it was a strong enough IP to sell itself (and I'm personally surprised that that isn't the case) so there was next to no push from their side.

A year on from the release of MP3 and still no other FPS-games of note released on the system. The feeling now among gamers, press and developers alike seems to be that of resignation that the Wii is for causal- and party games only. That if you want anything more substantial you should look to the other consoles and PC. I've begrudgingly come to place my 360 as my #1 system, the one I will default to when I want to play games and the one I will most closely follow the upcoming releases for. The Wii is very seldom acknowledged at all and I rarely even bother to check the release schedules for Wii-titles as there is not much there of interest anyway.

This is why The Conduit is a shining beacon of hope in the otherwise desolate landscape that is the Wii release calendar. E3 was a massive disappointment this year with the sole exception of this title. So I was surprised to hear the 1Up Yours panel being so dismissive of it after all the critique they have directed at publishers for not producing quality titles tailored to the Wii:s strengths. They, like so many others seem to have completely written-off the Wii which I feel is very sad.

This morning I was listening to the The Wiire ep. 111 though, and was happy to hear all the positive things that Andrew had to say about the game from his hands-on at PAX. And this made me excited about the game once more. Sure, the set up is extremely cliché and the visuals are of the Halo\Metroid Prime style that I just claimed to not like much. But the game play as well as the controls sound like they will be solid and this is the type of game that we should all be supporting - games that fill an empty space, that are created by a small developer because they believe in the system and want to show what it can do.

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