XBOX REVIEW: ADVENT RISING
Although Advent Rising is not adapted from a movie, it's good enough to be made into one. This is a sci-fi adventure game with a compelling storyline, interesting gameplay and nice visuals. For all intents and purposes it's an interactive movie with lots of control variables that allow you to really get into your character.

Advent Rising has been held up in production for quite some time now. The result was worth the wait. Although I probably won't be voting for this as game of the year, but it's certainly entertaining enough to recommend for a fun romp.

Humans have begun colonizing planets. They have made contract with two alien civilizations. One if friendly the other is deadly. The Seekers are aliens, on the hunt for human prey. The hero in this tale is a beginner pilot named Gideon. He's endowed with incredible powers not unlike that of a Jedi. Some may be reminded of Psi Ops that favored psychic powers. Gideon is also quite capable of wielding various handguns, grenades and rockets. The fireworks and subsequent explosions are much more satisfying than the dry hum of a lightsaber.

One of Gideon's most celebrated powers is his ability to slow down time to perform a dodge move while he targets an enemy's weakness with a special lock-on feature. By flicking the analog stick in the direction of an enemy a reticle will appear allowing Gideon to focus all his powers on that spot which will typically destroy the enemy. Unlike some games where you rely on an automated target system which may not always choose the most immediate threat, the Flick Targeting lets you quickly choose any enemy. It takes some getting used to, especially while you're waiting for the camera to catch up with you but it does make for a more flexible and personal combat system. You can also reconfigure the controls and map them to different buttons to suit your playing style.

The game isn't without some bugs. There's some wicked slowdown which occurs when the screen is too busy and sometimes certain cues don't take place. I stood around waiting for something to happen or a door to open only to realize that whatever I was waiting for wasn't coming and I was forced to replay the level. It only happened a couple of times but that's enough to warrant a warning. It's too bad because the production values are through the roof otherwise.

The story, the music, the voiceovers, the cutscenes and the graphics are all top-shelf. The dialog was penned by Orson Scott Card and a 70-piece orchestra plays the soundtrack created by two award-winning composers. The voiceovers are not only brilliantly acted by they also have something interesting and amusing to say. Sound effects such as gunshots and explosions are loud and proud.

It might take some of you longer to get the hang of the control system, especially all of Gideon's powers, but persevere and you'll be rewarded with a very flexible and intimate experience that will tighten up the lulls in those lazy days of summer ahead.

Preview by Chris

Advent Rising is getting some attention. Perhaps it's due to the cinematic style, the game will tell the story while playing. It could also be the Sci-fi story line or the fact that the script is being written by famed author Orson Scott Card. Also the fact they have announced the game will be a trilogy could explain why some are looking at this one so closely and rightfully so.

Bringing out a new game with a great story is one thing but to say before the first one is ever released that there will be two more games to follow this one may be a little risky. The game is currently in the early stages and being made for the Xbox and the PC. A Playable demo was recently shown off and even in its very early state the game has some impressive graphics and weapons. The game will use the same graphics engine as the newest Unreal game. This may explain why the game in its early state can show off some very detailed characters and weapons.

The story line is right out of any sci-fi novel. Alien races have learned after years of exploration that they are somehow connected by a legend of a mystical race of superbeings that will one-day return and unite all the races together. The legend states that the mystical race is simply referred to as humans. Man, like we don't have enough hassles as it is already? Gamers will play as the human Gideon Wyeth who is the first human to come into contact of the alien races and learns of this legend. While the list of all the features and storylines has not been released yet, the game will force the player to make decisions. For example, early in the game you will need to make a choice of saving your brother or the girl you're going to marry. Of course every choice will change the storyline and course of the game. It sounds cool and the game will also feature a way to read you're saved file when the next game is released and will be different based on the choices and the paths you made in the first game.

Advent Rising will also feature smooth controls for the Xbox. The right trigger is used to operate one weapon and the left operates another. A lock-on feature will also be used for battles and to locate new weapons. Once again all the weapons and details of different levels will be unveiled at E3 this year in May. Even though the game is still in the early stages, the screenshots show off some great visual effects and details. Those who had the chance to play an early demo all reported the game looks great and the controls were smooth. The game will offer a fast game play style and looks interesting. Take a look at the screen shots and see for yourself what is causing this one the early attention. It's way too early to tell but if the game is as polished as they say it will be, the possibility of the trilogy being released is a good one. Of course this is another one we will be watching closely at when E3 rolls around and we will be updating the preview then when all the current details are given.

Story:

Featuring an unprecedented collaboration between interactive entertainment and science fiction writing, famed novelist, Orson Scott Card, embellishes on the gripping storyline behind Advent Rising, and will author a novel based on the game.

In Advent Rising, a common legend pervades the galaxy - that of a powerful, ancient race that will one day unite the universe. Millions of cultures from vastly distant worlds revere and hallow these mythological beings known as humans. One race, the Seekers, know humans actually exist and are threatened by their potential power. Under the guise of benevolent explorers, the Seekers travel throughout the galaxy in a desperate attempt to eradicate any human society they unearth.

Players assume the role of Gideon Wyeth, a remnant of the last human outpost, on the brink of discovering the incredible powers that lay dormant within him. It is these powers the Seekers are so desperate to suppress.

Features:

  • Single player gameplay presented in stunning cinematic format
  • Switch between first person and third person perspective
  • Built using next generation Unreal technology, integrated with the Karma physics engine
  • Develop amazing superhuman powers
  • Weild an arsenal of awesome weapons, all with unique secondary fire abilities
  • Command a vast array of incredible vehicles, including human and alien buggies, hover tanks and flying vehicles
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System: X, PC
Dev: GlyphX
Pub: Majesco
Released: June 2005
Players: 1
Review by Dean
RATING (OUT OF 5)
OVERALL
3.5
GRAPHICS
4.5
CONTROL
4.0
MUSIC/FX
4.5
VALUE
2.0