| Blood, Mild Language, Violence
| The Good
Nice sci-fi theme
Voice acting really sells a decent script
Lots of gun and power-basd action
| The Bad
Graphics are inconsistent at best
Framerate can give you whiplash
Flick targeting conflicts with camera control
There was obviously a lot of ambition placed behind Advent
Rising. Publisher Majesco worked hard to promote the game,
even going so far as to put the game
trailer in theaters and attach
a contest to the game. Even with all of that, the game
stumbled under it's own ambition. Featuring a script co-written
by famous author Orson Scott Card, the story, while not the
most innovate piece of literature, proved to be interesting
enough to keep the average gamer interested.
As many sci-fi stories go, Advent Rising starts off
much like many others - with a brash, hot shot space pilot
by the name of Gideon Wyeth. After some tutorial stages on
a space station, Gideon acts as part of a envoy to meet with
the first alien contact humanity has ever experienced. It's
too bad that they bring bad news - that a violent race of
aliens, known as the Seekers, is on their way to wipe humanity out. The alien assault
happens almost instantly, forcing Gideon to fight for his
life as he escapes from the space station and back to the
planet that the station orbits. As you watch Gideon survive
the impending destruction of humanity, you also come to learn
why the aliens are so intent on their massacre.
The core gameplay is third person shooter but with some alterations.
When not in combat, Gideon controls with a combination of
the two analog sticks. You can switch to a first person view
mode if so desired, but the game engine is obviously centered
around the third person controls. Gideon can equip two guns
at any time, shooting either with the Left and Right Triggers
respectively. The A Button allows you to jump and the X Button serves as a dodge when pressed in combination with any direction on the Left Analog stick.
To autotarget enemies during combat, flick the Right Analog
stick in the direction of your enemy. When locked on to that
target, the camera will orient towards them and you can tell
their health by the color of the target reticule. The game
features a large variety of weapons, each of which proves
to be good in certain situations. Gideon can also perform
melee attacks with the B Button and throw grenades with the
White Button. At a certain point in the game, you will earn
special powers that augment your gunslinging. These powers range from the ability to pick up enemies and objects, to a powerful shockwave to a shield. These level
up the more you use them, so be sure to spread it all around.
Along with the third person action, you also get multiple
opportunities to drive a Scythe, an all-terrain jeep (not
unlike something straight out of Halo), pilot a shuttle or
mount an Antiaircraft turret. The controls for the shuttle
and Scythe are a bit hard to manage and never feel as though
they're tight enough.
Visually, Advent Rising has some interesting design
choices, but the execution is just inconsistent.
There are large areas that are certainly designed with a specific
sci-fi theme in mind. It's just a shame that the levels feel
underdetailed at times and even a bit repetitive. The textures range from good to bland and generally lack any of the sharpness found in other Xbox-specific
games. There are times where the game looks like it's close to using some of the nicer effects possible on the consoles, but most of the time, it's just not even close. The character models are low-poly and feel like they
were just ripped out of a Playstation game and polished off
for this release. In fact, a lot of the game feels unpolished,
as if was a last generation game beefed up for an Xbox release.
This is only made worse by an inconsistent frame rate that
bounces all over the place. Hell, there are times when the
framerate in the cutscenes is sluggish.
The audio portion is noticeably better. Sound effects and
the soundtrack are pretty solid, selling the sci-fi theme
on all cylinders. The voice acting delivers the story well,
featuring the talents of Will Friedle, Stefan Marks, Vanessa
Marshall and Michael Bell. With the script being written by
Orson Scott Card and Cameron Dayton, the voice acting sells
the story well enough to keep players pushing on if they manage
to find the gameplay tedious.
Along with what's been said already about the graphics and
framerate, the execution of the Flick targeting proves to
be a challenge as it also feels like it conflicts with the
basic control scheme. Also, most of the game of just a pure
shoot-fest, with little to no puzzle elements to break up the
gameplay. If this sounds good to you, though, you will certainly
get your fill of gunplay.
Advent Rising certainly could have used a lot more
work. If you're a sci-fi themed shooter fan, you can find
this one for a decent price. You have to be pretty forgiving
as there's a lot here that could use some polish. Hopefully,
the ambitious trilogy idea the makers obviously wanted gets
to see at least one more title so that they can try and resolve
some of this issues.