Advent Rising Xbox Review

May 30, 2010 by  
Filed under Reviews & Features, Xbox, Xbox

Believable voice acting that doesn’t sound as if the lines have been phoned in, a musical score that for once doesn’t seem like an afterthought, and a narrative that is far more engaging than your average action game. Advent Rising certainly boasts high end production values that, in terms of execution, are much like that of a blockbuster movie.

But other aspects are at odds with this. For starters, the visuals, which initially appear to be pretty impressive, turn out to be some of the ugliest yet featured in an Xbox exclusive title and the otherwise impressive audio is hampered by bugs, which results in the sound occasionally decreasing in volume or even disappearing altogether. Worse than this is the fact that you can get trapped in objects, leaving you no choice but to reload the last checkpoint. It’s both inexcusable and infuriating and despite its lengthy development cycle, the game could evidently have done with a couple more months of development time to apply some additional spit and polish to it.

You play as Gideon Wyeth, a rookie space pilot, who is in a conflict with the seekers, a nasty alien race who’s ultimate goal is to wipe out the human race. it’s a good thing that Gideon is handy with firearms then, although shooting fireballs out of his hand, freezing foes and a host of other powers befitting those of a messiah aren’t too shabby either!

With hardly a dull moment, interesting characterization and voice acting straight from the top drawer, the plot is seriously compulsive stuff, so much so that I’d even go as far to say that it’s some of the best and most memorable of storytelling in any entertainment medium. For this reason alone, I’m praying that the planned two sequels do happen as I would like to see the remainder of Gideon’s story, otherwise my life may feel incomplete, ok maybe not, but I certainly won’t be too happy!

For the first few hours, Advent Rising is your standard third person shooter with lots of guns, vehicles to drive and an whole armies worth of aliens to shoot. The control system, however, is the nearest departure from this formula. The fairly unique “Flick-targeting” allows you to lock on to enemies by simply nudging the stick towards them. Generally this works very well, but on occasion it does seem a tad too disobedient, causing needless frustration and for me to curse the developers for not giving it the love it so rightfully deserves.

A few hours into the game, you’ll gain access to Gideon’s hidden powers. This begins with telepathy, but through the game this extends to such beautiful things as firing balls of energy from your hand, strategically employing shields and attacking with lighting fast speed.

The more you use any form of weapons, the better Gideon will become at it, which in turn can unlock a secondary function on a gun or make a power even more destructive. The problem is, this happens at a rapid rate, meaning you’ll soon have access to powers that could easily decimate a small country, or two. As fun as shooting electricity out of your hand and suchlike is, Gideon is simply too overpowered, too early, this, coupled with over generous checkpoint placement, results in proceedings being just that little bit too easy for the average gamer. The additional difficulty levels are of little compensation to those who wish to enjoy a finely balanced difficulty that is neither too hard nor too easy.

On occasion I found myself playing the game perpetually for many hours at a time and it wasn’t necessarily because I was enjoying the game, but rather because I just wanted to reach the next cut scene to see what was going to happen next in the fantastic storyline.

It’s not that Advent Rising is a bad game, because it simply isn’t. It’s just a shame that the developers couldn’t have given the actual game the level of polish that has been achieved in other areas. I look forward to any sequels that may happen with gusto, but, at the moment, more for the continuation of the storyline rather than the gameplay itself. I just hope, if there is to be any subsequent games, that I’ll remember them for both aspects, rather than just a game with slightly shoddy gameplay that at times appears to be masquerading as a film.