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Platform

Xbox

 

Genre

Action

 

Publisher

Majesco

 

Developer

GlyphX Games

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

May 31, 2005

 

 

- Great soundtrack
- Showcases some lofty ambition

 

 

- Many technical bugs and glitches
- Targeting control takes a lot of getting used to

 

 

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Advent Rising

Score: 5.2 / 10

 

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Developed GlyphX Games, Advent Rising is a third-person sci-fi action game that really did shoot for the stars. Unfortunately, it kind of smacked into a Mt. Fuji on the way there. Advent Rising (AR) dreams big but trips a few too many times to be considered among the elite of action titles.

You assume the role of Giddeon Wyeth in a far-flung future where humanity makes first contact with an extraterrestrial life whose first message is, “Duck and cover, you’re about to be wiped out by a marauding species that has a real hate-on for humanity. You have two wee–” sound of marauding species coming out of warp,

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- Xbox Game Reviews

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“two minutes to prepare.” So begins Wyeth’s struggle to survive.

There’s a real sense of urgency as AR opens but all too quickly it’s kicked in the shins by technical problems and glitches that distract from the overall experience and will set you nerves on edge.

AR has a very quirky habit of freezing up at unpredictable intervals. There doesn’t seem to

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be a pattern to the freezing. Sometimes it’s during cutscenes, sometimes mid-action. And because there’s no option to manually save your progress, you just hope you don’t have to replay a chunk of the game you just spent 30-minutes fighting through. More than a few times it froze when the action got really intense, which is to say, choppy as hell. The framerate just can’t stay consistent – even worse is that you’ll always face more than just a lone enemy (with a few notable exceptions) so fighting through the chop can be a bit of a chore.

To deal with his enemies, Wyeth has access to a huge variety of weapons, all of which can be dual-wielded. Assigning and firing the weapons (with the triggers) isn’t a problem but become one with the targeting system can be a real challenge. AR uses a “flick” targeting system by way of the right stick. Flicking it in the direction of an enemy will lock onto that enemy
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(or whatever object can be targeted) so Wyeth can make each bullet count. However, he doesn’t always target the enemy you want and at some crucial moments (like escaping from a crumbling space ship) Wyeth will lock-on to something when all you wanted to do was move the camera. This issue led to my death a frustrating number of times. Toward the end of the game I was much better at anticipating what enemy or object would be targeted. (In all fairness, the sensitivity of the flick system can be adjusted in the options menu but you’re likely to still encounter problems.)

 

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Besides the weapons, drivable vehicles, and turrets, Wyeth gains access to a plethora of special powers as the game progresses that quickly replace guns as his main form of attack. Not to give them all away, Wyeth can produce force fields, toss enemies around with a “lift” power or knock back a group of enemies with “surge.” Because the effectiveness of each power increases as Wyeth uses them – this extends to hand-to-hand combat and guns as well – he becomes nearly unstoppable. The animations and effects ties to each power are neat to watch and they actually do a lot to convey a real sense of power. The flip side is that Wyeth becomes almost too powerful, making most encounters pretty easy once he starts increasing his prowess with each ability.

The list of problems with AR is truly disheartening because without them AR would rank up there with the elite action games. I’ve already mentioned the choppiness, the lock-ups and crashes, and the hard-to-master targeting system but AR also gets marks off for consistent sound problems and some really distracting “clipping” problems. At random the music will pop in and out at varying volumes and the sound effects will do the same (although less frequently). The voice acting is good for the most part although some of the dialogue is hokey at the worst of times. I’m also pretty sure there were uncredited Hollywood actors involved – I’m positive one was Leslie Nielsen of Naked Gun and Forbidden Planet fame – but the manual doesn’t list them.

AR has a graphical style all its own, each characters looking somewhat elongated but it remains consistent throughout. Each area and environment Wyeth fights through feels good even if some areas feel sluggish.

AR is/was supposed to be the first part of a trilogy of games. While it’s sci-fi foundation and story elements are good – Boilerplate? Give me a break, GameSpot – the rest of Advent Rising feels too unfinished to make it much more than a rental if you want to see it for yourself. If GlyphX and Majesco proceed with a further two entries (a PSP chapter is in the works) the whole thing has to be tightened up and fine tuned – there’s a good game here but when you have to fight tooth and nail through its problems to actually see it, there aren’t many that will feel that AR is anything but a somewhat finished mess.

- Omni
(July 8, 2005)

 

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