Itï¿½s been a long time coming, but the first of three Advent Rising games is here. Gideon Wyeth is a captain brought up in a family with a long military history. One day he finds himself in the middle of a humanity-altering affair. A ship not of human origin has appeared and his brother and he are assigned to accompany the human ambassador to the ship. The relief of learning the visitors are peaceful is short lived, as they warn the humans that another, violent race, the Seekers, is coming to wipe out the human race. Gideon and the others leave the ship believing they have a couple of days to prepare, but in fact the Seekers appear and start their attack before Gideonï¿½s ship can even make it back to the human station.
Not so much an attack as it was a slaughter, Gideon escapes the massacre with only a few other humans. They seek refuge with the same aliens they first encountered. It is at this point that Advent Rising evolves from the mediocre 1st/3rd person shooter (you can toggle between perspectives) it was in the opening levels. The hospitable aliens reveal to Gideon the hidden powers of humans, the reason for worship from them and the reason behind the recent attack. In a short time Gideon begins learning these paranormal abilities. These powers, which include lift, surge, and time shift, are all pretty simple, but thatï¿½s not to say bad. They are all easy to use and can be quite effective when used correctly.
Gideon, like most of us, has two hands, and uses them to the full extent. Gideon can eventually possess six powers and any two weapons. Each of these can be assigned to a hand in any combination. The variety of powers and weapons really accentuates this style of gameplay. Not only does it keep the game enjoyable, but it also sets the stage for some strategy if you so choose to use it. Weapons and powers alike have their pros and cons and one combination of attacks will fit a certain situation better than all the others. When the action is at its peak the game starts to flounder. It becomes apparent why the game was delayed so long and apparent that it could have used a couple more delays. There are no glaring glitches but buggy gameplay always takes away from a game of this sort.
This also affects how the game looks in action. When running smoothly Gideon can put on quite a show, with all the enemies flying every which direction and Gideon flipping his way past enemy fire in bullet time. But when the technical glitches kick in, the action on the screen becomes chaotic and confusing. In general the graphics in Advent Rising are decent. The characters are all pretty simple looking and could use a little more detail. Each level scheme is designed pretty well in that there is a lot of variety between them and the vibrant colors make them nice to look at.
Gideonï¿½s six powers, nearly all the weapons, and his jump and melee abilities can all be leveled up. It is done in the right way in that the only way to increase their power is by using them, as opposed to gaining experience that can be used on whatever you choose. Gaining a level will increase your accuracy, unlock secondary fire options, or increase duration of the desired effect. You can increase your level pretty easily which means youï¿½ll be disappointed when you realize youï¿½ve maxed out as early as level 5. However, the lack of levels is really an indicator of another shortcoming the game is tainted by: the game is very short, capable of being beat in a single day. Adding insult to injury, once you beat the game there is very little reason to replay the game. With no alternative modes and nothing to be unlocked the retail price seems all the more excessive.
Accompanying the relentless action is a score that does a good job of setting the pace. Itï¿½s the type of music youï¿½d expect for this type of brink-of-disaster type game but thatï¿½s not at all to say it isnï¿½t wanted. Voice acting is above average and makes the story, which until the ending is pretty plain, a little more interesting.
The first installment of the Advent Rising trilogy has me optimistic. When the game is at its best it is a real blast. The superhuman powers can be combined with the shooting mechanics like never before. Unfortunately, the minor technical difficulties really add up and hinder an otherwise marvelous game. The gameï¿½s length and the fact that it has virtually no replay value are also major no-nos. Rent it, so when the hopefully killer second game comes out, youï¿½ll be up to date.
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