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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Published by: Majesco
Developed by: GlyphX Inc.
Genre: Third-Person Action
Release Date: May 31, 2005
Rated: T (Teen)
Written by: Matthew Prunty









For some strange reasons, a lot of the games that show promise or garnered a lot of interest take a look time to see the light of day. First there was Fable, and now there’s Advent Rising, which took a little over a year before coming into reality. Advent Rising, an epic Sci-fi action/adventure title in its own right, has garnered some of the best experience around in the form of illustration and animation work in order to produce one of the most stunning and visual inspiring titles to grace the Xbox console. Seeing how the foundation for the story of Advent Rising is being build as a trilogy, GlyphX Games is setting the stage for one of the grandest epics of this generation.

If you have seen the movie Mars Attack, then you have a simplistic idea of how the title starts out. Taking place in the distant future, where humans have the technology to travel in between planets, which has help in their colonizing of newly, discovered worlds. Gideon Wyeth, a fighter pilot, who with his brother Ethan, were among the first humans to board an Alien ship that landed on their home world of Edumea. Thinking things were going to go good, Gideon and Ethan come to find out that a race of aliens known as Seekers are setting up to eliminate the human race from the Universe. But the whole reason why the Aurelians went to Edumea in the first place is because they believed deeply in a prophecy that the human race were looked upon as “god-like figures” that are suppose to deliver the Universe from certain evil.


Unique is an understatement!


Upon the Seekers arriving on Edumea, a series of horrific events take place that almost puts Gideon in certain peril, just like the rest of the human race. This is where you and your skills come into play, as you will play as Gideon from time to time in order to figure out the mysteries behind his very own race and the true power that they, as a race, are capable of.

Features:
  • Epic storyline created from the extraordinary collaboration with award-winning, sci-fi author Orson Scott Card;
  • Unprecedented single-player gameplay allowing gamers to play through thrilling action sequences of a blockbuster movie or game, rather than just watch them;
  • Develop amazing superhuman powers including energy blast, levitation, and energy shield;
  • Wield an awesome array of weapons, all with unique alternate firing abilities;
  • Intense vehicular combat as you fly, drive and battle with 3 incredible vehicles;
  • Ability to switch from 3rd to 1st person point-of-view;
  • Built using next-generation Unreal technology, integrated with the Karma physics engine;


Gameplay
Advent Rising, being billed as a third-person action shooter with elements of adventure, keeps you on point throughout the title due to the premise of “kill or being killed”. The focus of the gameplay will be Gideon’s ability to master various weapons, and after a certain point, will have the chance to master special abilities. But there are various scenarios that will allow you to control one of multiple vehicles, thus keeping the story very interesting and fresh. But I have to say, if it wasn’t for Orson Scott Card, world-renowned sci-fi novelist, this title could be added to several others that have been plagued by one to many cheesy one-liners. Orson’s contribution to the story and dialogue of Advent Rising gives it depth and substance, and at key moments, the ability to decide how the story will play out for your character. But unlike a lot of action/adventure titles on the market, dialogue is an important part of this title. You can miss an important message or conversation, which would leave you lost within the vastness of Advent Rising.

Thanks to GlyphX animation experience, there were able to present the plot of the title/trilogy with a seamless transition from one to another. This also helped in the perception of a sci-fi movie blockbuster. Just imagine hundreds upon hundreds of alien Seeker ships flying overhead, while thousands of humans run around “like chickens with their heads cut off”. But while these are all great incentives to the plot of the title, Advent Rising couldn’t avoid some of the blunders and mishaps that plague several other titles.


Ugly must hand with ugly...


A good presentation is evident when you play Advent Rising, but you do notice a few things that should have been noted and fixed upon release. Two problems with this title are the framerate and transitional sequences. The framerate is an evident problem throughout the entire game, but had its most obvious showings when the title would go from a cinematic cut-scene to gameplay. I’m not saying that this is a problem throughout the game in the sense you will have this problem ever other minute. When you are in the heat of battle, there is no sign whatsoever; it just rears its ugly head right after cut-scenes. In regards to the transition sequences, if you ever played Jet Force Gemini on the Nintendo 64, then you really know what I am talking about. There are moments where your enemies can get stuck within the walls, and even when you are trying to jump a gap, there are times where you can get stuck within the air, then all of a sudden, fall to your death.

In regards to the multitude of weaponry that Gideon wields, including powers, there is a since of depth to them. You have the ability to upgrade each weapon by simply using them in battle, or just firing them off for the heck of it. And unlike some titles, you aren’t required to yield a specific weapon all the time, though there are moments where you will have to use a particular weapon, though not so very often. As your powers/weapon abilities increase, there is a chance for you to develop secondary attacks, or even increase the damage that you are able to deliver to your enemies. Couple that with the ability to slow-motion dodge enemy attacks just like the great Max Payne himself, and you can create some very interesting battle sequences. An example of this is when you are using the targeting system on a particular enemy, and they fire off their weapon before you do. If you are able to, simple dive out of the way, which makes the targeting system refocus, this highlighting the week spot of an enemy, which increases the power of your assault.


Star Trek, eat your heart out...


Graphics
When you firsts see Advent Rising, you can honestly say to yourself that art was one of the main focuses of the design of this title. If you are familiar with anime cartoons and movies, then when you play this title, you will see a similarity between the two. The characters within Advent Rising have elongated bodies and are often exaggerated physically. The faces are left looking flat and bland, which is a great contrast tot hat of the alien races, which have rather detailed anatomies and have their own uniqueness that isn’t found in other titles. You will also notice, looking at this title that when you are not partaking in a battle, the animations are relatively limited and choppy, another matter that should have been paid close attention to.

Advent Rising also tries to portray the feel and look of an epic adventure with massive worlds, but unfortunately very lack worlds too. Characters and objects disappearing off screen for no reason, coupled with the problematic framerate are definite issues that should have been paid attention to within the 2 plus years of development. Often you can see Seekers attacking through walls and doors, something that plagued Phantasy Star Online Episode 1 and 2 for the Nintendo Gamecube and Xbox. But nonetheless, GlyphX just needed a little more time to “iron out these wrinkles.”

Audio
If you needed another strong element beyond the storyline, you will find it in the audio of this title. An impressive musical score composed of a 70-piece Hollywood orchestra kept the mode compelling and very much set the tone for the entire title. But like all great things, this did to suffer from the blights of this title. Due to the bad cinematic transitions and up and down audio levels, the musical score couldn’t be ranked up there with some of the greats like in Halo, Legend of Zelda, Beyond Good and Evil (many will disagree with me but BG&E had a great musical score that fit that game to a “T”).

As far as the voice-overs, there was a strong showing, which was a surprise to some. Each character had a very strong presence, but some were plagued with a few lines that were questionable. A great effort, the likes of what most are use to seeing from a big Hollywood budget movie.


Boom!!!!!!


In regards to sound effects, to feel the true essence of Advent Rising, you would need an audio system with Dolby 5.1 setup. But whether you have that kind of setup or not, each rocket blast or weapon fired is felt through intense bass and punchy blasts.

Controls
As mentioned earlier in the Gameplay section, Advent Rising utilizes a Flick Targeting system that some say has reminiscences of the Legend of Zelda titles for the Nintendo Gamecube, but with its own flavor. When you flick the right-analog stick in the direct of a particular enemy, you are immediately locked on to that target, and regardless of how the camera angle is, you are locked onto this enemy until you either kill it, you switch to another enemy, or it kills you. But if you are in the heat of battle, and are trying to avoid being shot by multiple enemies, simple just flick on the analog stick (right one) in the direction of the enemy for immediate lock and firing action. The only gripe I had was not being able to turn off the auto targeting system. Some gamers like myself, like to do things the old fashion way, and unfortunately, you don’t have that luxury. For those people who will play this game like a normal third-person shooter should expect lots of frustration and a period of adjustment, getting use to the controls and camera workings. But once that is achieved, you will be in for the time of your life.

Not stopping there, you can even map your guns to your “left” and “Right” triggers. So If you want to shoot rockets with the right trigger, and waves of energy with the left, you can quickly adjust the settings to do so. The D-pad brings about a menu of special abilities (similar to that of Untold Legends: Brotherhood of the Blade), which allows you to map certain abilities to certain buttons. And if you are familiar to the style of gameplay brought about by Halo, then you will feel right at home with Advent Rising. You can pick up one weapon with the “x” button, and the other with “y”. But switching weapons in the heat of battle can be very cumbersome for the average gamer, relying on either slowing down time (chance of still taking on damage) or stopping it completely (within the options menu) to switch weapons. What could have been used here is a user-friendlier interface of weapons and special abilities on the go, no matter the situation.


Marty Mcfly has nothing on me...


Replay Value:
This really depends on the particular gamer. In all honesty, the game deserves a second play though, to get a better understanding and a handle on Gideon’s abilities. Also because of the few instances where you can determine the outcome of the situation, you may want to go back and try different scenarios, to see how things would have played out. I know some diehard gamers will play it over and over to see if they can possibly do everything within the title.

Overall
A very compelling storyline, with lots of potential, but unfortunately dampened by a bad framerate and one too many glitches. Overall, it is definitely worth the play, even if it’s just a rental. There have been games in the past that have had problems similar to Advent Rising, but still manage to garner a following. Hopefully, GlyphX will look at the mistakes within this game, and make the second installment, most likely for the Xbox 360, all that much better.

7.2/10

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