The Backorder: The Conduit (Wii)

When I first got my hands The Conduit for the Wii, I was excited for all of the great things I had heard about it. Core gamers were supposed to be pleased, hardcore gaming had finally come to the Wii.

Maybe it shouldn’t have been surprised when I was let down in the end. Maybe my expectations were too high all along. But there was so much build up, hype, and even the screenshots made it look glorious! I thought I finally had a reason to dust off the Wii and get excited.

Let’s talk story: it uses every single Sci-Fi stereotype, rehashed and retold stories for about the ten thousandth time. Ever seen an episode of The X-Files? Good, then you’re up to speed. The characters do nothing to make me care, instead it even feels like the game is trying to hrry me through the storyline so that I won’t notice just how bland it is.

Graphically, the game looks about right fo the hardware specs of the Wii. People hate adding “…for a Wii game” behind every other line of their articles, but the fact remains that the Wii is not up to par with other current generation systems. If this game were competing with a PS2 title, hands down it would look fantastic, but the generic enemies and redundant environments did nothing to wow me.

I thought the ssound effects would be the game’ saving grace, and while many weapon and environment sounds were impressive, the terrible voice acting was inexcusable. In a post Uncharted era, the bar has been set.

The game itself has interesting play mechanics, and I did not feel as though I as being forced to ‘waggle’ my way through the game. It was intelligent use of the control scheme, although I still was hoping for something just a little different. More people want to see a shooter on the Wii that doesn’t force the crosshair to go all over the screen, but remain centered as it does with other first person shooters. so far, the best entries to the Wii-Shooter category, The Conduit and Red Steel, both had you shooting all over like a generic light gun game.

I don’t do a lot of multiplayer, but since the experience was supposed to be so unique, I wanted to give it a try. Unfortunately, my first spawn in to a multiplayer match placed me either directly over top of another player or in a wall, or something. I was completely unable to move. I have not returned to the multiplayer menu since.

Maybe if I get Dead Space Extraction on the Wii, soon, I will have my faith in the Wii restored. but right now, rather than suffer through what should have been a better game, I will return to the game I know is laughable, but still fun: the House of the Dead combo pack with the Nyko perfect shot attached to my Wii Remote. It’s like i’m standing in the movie theater arcade all over again!

Netflix Disc on the Playstation 3

Netflix recently announced they would be releasing a disc that let you play Netflix Instant Que movies directly on your PS3. All you had to do was sign up and get a free disc. The discs have already shipped and I’ve had a little bit of time to play around with it.

The disc does not recognize as a PS3 game as I had expected, but instead of a movie disc. BluRay’s BD-Live features enables a lot of new abilities for physical media, so I believe this makes up the backbone of the disc. However, I did place this in a Blu-Ray capable PC. It loaded up as a standard BluRay movie, displayed the Netflix logo splash screen, then froze the software. I may continue down this path just to see what else the disc offers.

As far as using the disc on the Playstation 3, it will prompt you to visit the Netflix website and enter a hardware identification code that thge PS3 displays on your TV, once you do this, it will log you in to the Netflix system. Your queued movies will be available, along with several lists of new releases ande popular movies.

The interface is very similar to the web-based interface that Netflix offers, with horizontal sliding tiles. Unfortunately, I found it to be very slow and clunky. This process could have been made much more fluid, and scrolling through large lists seems to take it’s precious time. Netflix passes on key information about videos watched, or if you were part way through watching a movie, it will even offer you the ability to resume the movie from where you were on another device (Xbox or web-baed player).

The video controls the output resolution of the playstation, and while I have not checked on any high definition video content, it seemed to work well for widescreen and completely standard definition (4:3) videos that I have watched.

Friday, while tinkering, I had run in to an interesting problem. I tried to watch a movie on my Xbox 360 – for some reason, no matter how many times I stopped and rebuffered the, the audio never came through. When I tried on the PS3 Netflix disc, the video played, but there was a few seconds of delay in the audio. I did not proceed to check the video on the web-based player.

Pressing the triangle button during movie playback will bring up the familiar DVD/Video controls of the PS3, but pressing the wrong button will take you back to the Playstation’s XMB, not just back to the Netflix Menu.

While I think the Netflix disc is a good start, the better decision would have probably been to make it more of a PS3 game disc, rather than a BD-Live disc. This way, patches and title updates could have easily been applied to the disc – I do not know if BD-Live affords them the same options. A new discmay have to be manufactured every time they want to change the format, it seems as though it could become very costly. All in all, I want a little more experience with it, but it’s a decent little addition to my netflix playing abilities (my 360, my PC, and my PS3 all hooked up to the same TV!). I was glad to check it out, but I don’t expect to get up and pop in my disc every time I want to watch a movie that’s supposed to be “On Demand.” I’ll most likely stick with the Xbox 360 client.

The Backorder Bonus: Need for Speed… Shift (PS3/360)

This first Backorder Bonus is a bit of a lie. I have recently been digging in to my stash of games and playing Need for Speed Undercover. But since I also recently just upgraded from my old 20GB Xbox 360 Pro console to an Elite console, I figured I would combine the occasion in to one big blowout and give away the NFS Shift Elite Series codes I have! Skip ahead if all you want is the contest details!

First, the game. Need for Speed Undercover is the culmination of the “Underground” saga. Rather than a continuation of the Need for Speed Most Wanted and Carbon stories, it seems, so far, to be a spin off into a world of double crossing racers, crooked cops, and personal vendetta. It plays much like the Underground series, more like a racing action game, and not a racing simulator. Need for Speed Prostreet and Shift, it’s sequels, are more like the latter. These games aren’t my style, I love the consequence free ability to crash in to a wall, smash in to an opponent, and take out water towers.

With the familiar “escape” game modes and a few new outrun modes, the game has more to offer than the transition from Most Wanted to Carbon did. Though it seems to encourage less “free roam” than it’s predecessors, continually prompting you to “press down on the d-pad” to skip to the next campaign related race.

The acting is among the same quality we’re getting used to seeing in the Need For Speed saga, but much like the other games in the series, I’m forced to feel like people are talking AT me and not TO me. You have no personal connection to the character you’re playing, so even when a potential love interest looks into the camera with her puppy dog eyes and feelings of betrayal, I don’t feel like the guy who turned on her… if that’s even what just happened!?

Graphics and sound of course what you’ve come to expect from Need For Speed, but this game does leave a little wanting – the environments just seemed to stale, and all of the day time racing made me wonder who really likes the color brown? Over all I’m enjoying it, but so far, I’ve stayed offline and stuck to the campaign, as I’m sure there are people who have been playing it every day since it’s release still waiting online to leave me in the dust.

BACK ORDER BONUS: This one’s easy, folks. To enter, simply leave a comment on this thread. That’s it. I’m not even going to be a jerk and force you to register on the site… not yet! I have a whopping TWELVE codes to give away. The first 6 people to leave a PROPER comment (your PSNID or Gamertag, and/or your Twitter ID. Follow @NuAngel so that I can DM you the code if you’re a winner), will be contacted with a code. After that, the remaining 6 codes will be given away at random, with the remaining winners being decided NO EARLIER than Tuesday, November 10th, 2009. The contest runs until I’m out of codes, even if it takes longer. If you only see 11 comments and it’s January, be number 12!

What you’ll win: Need for Speed Elite Series Unlock Code. The code is entered IN-GAME. Simply go to the main menu, then the options menu, then select Redeem Code. Once entered, go to Career, then International Events – the first career race must be completed before this will show. Elite Series gives you access to FIVE special races with pre-tuned cars, available nowhere else in the game. This was a preorder exclusive offered to Gamecrazy and customers.

PROPER COMMENTS: All you need to do is tell me how to reach you! Leave your Gamertag / PSN ID / Twitter ID, and I can DM you the message or leave it in your inbox on any of the gaming platforms.

Coming Soon: The Backorder Bonus*

Soon, I will be unveiling a new feature-series on the website. The Backorder and The Backorder Bonus*. The Backorder is just going to be a very simple segment where I occasionally chime and let you know what game I’ve been playing lately. Most of these games are from a backlog of games that I should have played a long time ago.

These will not be reviews or anything too detailed, but I will give a little bit of feedback and a quick opinion on the game itself.

*As a part of some these Backorder articles, I will sometimes include the Backorder Bonus. The more times I can offer this, I will. The intention of the Backorder Bonus is very much lik a preorder bonus for most new video games today. I intend to give codes for DLC, free copies of games, etc… whatever I can do, that’s what I’ll do! The rules for claiming these will be explained by the post itself, but I have every intention of keeping the first few very simple, to get more people participating!

I won’t be able to offer Backorder Bonuses every time, but I’ll be trying to do offer as many as possible!