Last Friday I turned my Wii on, and, for a laugh, looked through the calendar to see when the last time I had played it was.

That date was June 9th.

Yes, it’s been a long time since I had any incentive to turn my Wii on, but the games are finally coming, with House of the Dead Overkill, Madworld, and Dead Rising: Chop Till You Drop almost upon us. But what about in the coming months? Nintendo sure doesn’t seem to be planning anything for the hardcore gamers, so where do we turn?

Enter The Conduit, a game that stuns people at first glimpse. This is a Wii title? In a time when most companies are content to simply port PS2 and PC games to the system and add in some lame-duck controls, or just make another goddamn minigame collection- The Conduit shows that developer High Voltage Software actually tried to squeeze as much juice out of the little system as you can. Imagine that concept! Their engine is easily the most graphically amazing on the system, showing there’s quite a lot they can still do with the little guy. Sure, it still doesn’t hold up to the next gen systems (that 480p limit is a bitch) but there’s not a lot that you can complain about here. 

The plot is your typical alien invasion story. Set in the streets and landmarks of Washington DC, you play as a soldier in a (possibly shady) orginization called The Trust who fights the aliens to figure out why they’re here and warping in through the titular conduits that have appeared all around the city.

Putting my hands on the game made me an instant convert- the controls here are simply perfect. Sure, first person shooters have been done decently on the Wii before, but never before have I held a shooter that felt as fluid or intuitive. A huge shooter fan myself, it took me almost no time at all to get used to the controls and amazed at how easy it was to navigate the environment and take out all oncoming foes. The controls are completely customizable, so if you want to change how to aim or duck or shoot you can at your leisure. An awesome feature that more Wii games should have.

A shooter is only as good as its weapons, and there already looks to be a nice mix here. Expect both futuristic human and alien weapons (the latter which has a creepy organic feel to them), some that use the Wii controls in inventive ways. It uses the typical 2-gun system, which allows for a bit of strategy in choosing which ones you’ll bring along.

Along the way you’ll also find hidden areas that make use of puzzles. You’re equipped with an item called the All-Seeing-Eye (ASE for short) that allows you to find crypic messages on the wall, locate hidden enemies and access secret areas. It’s a nice little change from the rest of the gameplay and will allow you to find new weapons and items.

While the game will have a fairly robust single player campaign, The Conduit will also support 16 player multiplayer, something almost unheard-of for the Wii. When asked about the modes and such we were told that they’d have everything you’d expect. It will also support the Wii Speak peripheral for voice chat.

It’s obvious that High Voltage Software is pushing the Wii as far as they can take it in every way. While I haven’t played it enough to see if it holds up to their claims that it will not just be the best shooter on the Wii, but one of the best shooters, period, it’s definitely going to be a surprise for game-starved Wii owners.

If you are going to be at the NYCC this weekend make sure and stop by the Sega booth to get your hands on it yourself- in this case, playing is believing.