STAFF REVIEW of Advent Rising (Xbox)

Saturday, July 2, 2005.
by TheCovenant

Advent Rising Box art This is the perfect example of story driven games that rely too heavily on the story. Critically acclaimed author Orson Scott Card (Enders Game), co-wrote the dialogue for this title, Advent Rising. The story is massive. Galactic scale politics, love, hate, death and war; this story has it all. Im not used to getting this level of story from a game, and I am so glad that Newbie developer Glyphx has realized a full-fledged trilogy in this universe.

So ambitious for such a small, new company. Following the story of the main character, right when the games starts theres a bunch of stuff you can do. Dual wielding, melee, grenades, dodging.

Its all actually pretty fun. As the game progresses you attain more powers, much like all those Jedi games youve grown used too. On of the powers seems eerily familiar to the force push, but I wont hold it against them. Your dodge turns into a Max Payne type dodge, where you go into bullet time. You get telekinetic Psi-Ops type powers, and there a shield power where you conjure up a shield that floats around you. All these powers have secondary, well, powers, thats a blast to uncover and figure out how to use. All these powers can be mapped to either trigger very easily using the d-pad, so managing them can be a split second arcade type thing. There are some cool boss battles, but too few of them to be considered a major part of the game. The fun thing about them though is that they force you to use newly acquired powers, so you dont get this new power and have the mentality that your old power is more useful and that you dont really need the new one. Its a clever trick, and it works. Aiming would be a pain in this third person adventure, if it wasnt for flick targeting, much like Zeldas Z-targeting. Flick targeting is like an over blown auto aim, where the crosshairs movie from enemy to enemy depending on how close the crosshair would be if there wasnt flick targeting. This makes it so you can shot aliens while dodging and strafing and jumping, and even during the framerate jumps. It almost felt as if Glyphx knew they couldnt lower the framerate, so they developed flick targeting to compensate for it. The game is pretty fun to play, and the gameplay evolves as the character does. However, again, technicalities hammer this one down. As I mentioned before, collision detection looks and feels awkward. Glitches make it so very important objectives are unreachable. An elevator door doesnt open, vehicles dont appear, a person your supposed to talk to isnt there, and theres no form of multiplayer. All these things affected me throughout the course of my play, but I managed to finish the game without too much frustration due to the high frequency of save points. Not a huge complaint there, but needs to be worked on.

The games weakest point. Although the Art Direction is very good, technical features falter. There were many instances where of clipping, visual tearing or texture stretching, things that come in and out of existence right in front of you, and framerate, framerate, framerate. There are many pretty particle effects throughout the game, how collision detection is a problem with them. People dive into each other and instead of hitting them; it just shoves them out of the way. That makes most battles look awkward and clunky. No HDR, or any real special lighting effects are found in this game, but you dont really notice it due to the games visual style. Its sort of like an animated series, only more serious. You do get tons of enemies on screen, but you cant really hail that technical achievement, because framerate drops when they are. Usually the big deal about having many enemies onscreen is salvaging the framerate. When enemies die on a slope, their limbs stretch out, a la Halo: CE, and it looks awkward now, all the ragdoll physics have spoiled what I\'ve expected to see from death animations. However with all these problems, the game still looks fairly good. The cut scenes are fun, the particle effects are nice, and the overall art direction is impressive, and allows a glimpse into the creative minds at Glyphx.

Well, well, well. If it isnt G4tech TVs smart mouthed judge. Tommy Talarico is known for not liking games due to his own personal preference. Now here I am, judging one of his own, and !&%$@#* it to hell, I dont get to bash him. The game incorporates a full-scale orchestra, and saves many of the over dramatic moments in the game. The Score is catchy as well. This is the kind of music that halo has set the bar too, and Im glad Mr. Talarico has lived up to that bar. Voice acting is questionable, but since the whole feel of the game is animated, it doesnt bother you for a second. Its on par with a Saturday morning cartoon. Well, at least the ones I grew up with (X-Men, WBS Batman, The Adventures of Batman and SupermanNOT POKEMON). All in all, I have no real complaints when it comes to the sound department. Good work Talarico, ya jerk.

Not done rising:

The game is fun, the story leaves off on sort of a cliffhanger, and if sales do well for this game, the next game should be a good one. I cant wait to see what Glyphx has in store for us in the next chapter of advent rising. New powers? New weapons? It seems like this title covered it all, but theres two more titles that have plenty to cover, according to a recent interview with Orson Scott Card. The game is a great rent, but a weak buy. If the trilogy ends up being amazing, then you have to own the first one, just to have the whole collection, but other than that, give this one a rent and when the second one comes out, you can buy it used for 15 bucks.

Overall: 7.8 / 10
Gameplay: 7.8 / 10
Visuals: 7.0 / 10
Sound: 9.6 / 10


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