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Advent Rising

Score: 87%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Majesco
Developer: Glyphx Games
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1
Genre: Action/ Third Person Shooter/ First Person Shooter

Graphics & Sound:

Newcomer developer Glyphx Games teamed with veteran Majesco publisher/developer (Psychonauts, BloodRayne series) to bring us Advent Rising. This is a port of an earlier Xbox version too, with near identical features. With an ambitious goal of combining cinematic effects, cutting edge graphics/sound, all wrapped in a story by Orson Scott Card (Ender’s Game) - this title aims to please.

Graphically, the title is pretty sharp looking. The character models are an anime/comic-inspired hybrid, long and lithe, yet full of rich textures. At times, they can look a tad jagged and flat, but they still look pretty dang good. The alien beings are especially creative, and almost seem to get more attention, rather than the main human characters. Colors leap off the monitor, and I only regret not having a newer screen to see these visuals better. The environments were also quite varied, from lava-drenched caverns, rocky deserts and futuristic urban centers. Explosions and power effects are pretty spectacular as well. I had heard the earlier Xbox version was plagued with some frame rate issues… well, the developers must have really ironed out those bugs because this sucker runs pretty smooth, despite all the flashy effects. The game is strung along with many cinematic cut-scenes that resemble more of the anime/comic feel. In general, these are great… aside from the mouths not matching the voices…

The sound department also had an equally strong showing. The musical score is absolutely breathtaking, challenging heavyweights like the Final Fantasy series for the best score of recent memory, having been orchestrated by Emmy award winner Marc Watters, and mixed by Armin Stiener (Finding Nemo, Matrix). Oh yeah, and some guy named Tommy Tallarico did some stuff too… It is a tour de force of operatic sequences interlaced with soaring orchestral themes, that is perfectly matched to the onscreen action. I normally play most of my games via a pair of crappy headphones, but I just had to plug in my subwoofer and speakers for this beauty - all in Dolby 5.1. This is one game soundtrack to be on the lookout for, and is actually available at many fine retailers right now for around $15. Voice acting is quite good as well, full of genuine interest and feeling. It would have been a damn shame to have great music and story, yet have hokey, flat voices. Whew.


Advent Rising is set in the distant future, where space travel is the norm, and our human raced has stretched far and wide. Our glorious race actually turns out to be sort of an intergalactic group of “chosen people” for many of our alien brethren. Not all the E.T.’s are friendly, though. The nefarious Seekers are bent on human destruction, and young Gideon Wyeth is stuck in the middle of this historic time.

With Orson Scott Card co-writing the dialogue and general story, this finely crafted plot will not disappoint you. Lots of twists and turns with that blockbuster movie feel greet you throughout. If they made a bizarre Final Fantasy movie (umm which game was that based on…?), and the upcoming Doom, this title just screams for an onscreen adaptation. While it doesn’t reek of originality, this is a solid piece of work.

Gideon is a green pilot, engaged to a gorgeous fiancé and extremely tight with his older brother. He must investigate and stop the Seeker menace, lest everything he knows and holds dear is exterminated. The weapons and powers he can use are very impressive. He can dual wield 11 guns and a host of melee attacks - all complimented by 6 super powers. Even a Max Payne esque “Bullet Time” dodge is here. The targeting system took a while to get used to, but it became second nature after a time. It basically allows for quick locking as you cycle through your arsenal, employing the mouse wheel to shift the reticule around. The gameplay itself is pretty forgiving, although the enemy A.I. can surprise you on occasion. It was just disappointing that the developers left a good chunk of enemy brainpower to rot on the assembly floor.

Once you gain access to Gideon’s impressive psychic powers, things become even easier to handle. Many of these powers resemble Jedi Force moves, such as telekinesis, pushes and so forth. As you use your tools to wade through Seeker after Seeker, you upgrade them as you fight, getting better and better. This is an interesting RPG element, and works well in Advent Rising. The added touch of piloting a few vehicles helps to break up some the monotony, but they aren’t anything special. Bear in mind too folks, this game ain’t very long. I beat it in a few days playing sporadically, and I have heard some have beat it in a single day easily. Still, the experience isn’t hampered that much from its brevity.


This game is pretty simple to understand and learn, mainly due to an integrated tutorial in the beginning. This goes over the basics of movement, combat and the like. As I said before, the Artificial Intelligence is rather basic, and you will probably grow bored after stacking so many bodies in piles upon piles. Overall, a smooth learning curve and easy to grasp actions are what you'll find here.

Game Mechanics:

The switch from the console simplicity to the plethora of input options for the PC led to some major tweaks, but most work out. The targeting system was a bit funky at first as I said above, but after a few hours it worked out fine. You may still think the controls are overly clunky, but luckily, you can adjust settings at your discretion. The interface is silky smooth, especially your HUD, where a sparse interface helps show off those gorgeous visuals even more. First and third person options are also a welcome addition here. I personally preferred the FPS classic view, although some of the special effects look stunning, with the camera panned out a bit. A few bugs reared their ugly heads though. Sometimes the scripted events were stuck and some clipping issues forced me into some odd spots, but overall, a pretty solid experience mechanics wise.

With a PC polishing, Advent Rising looks to spread its stellar visuals, story and sound to a whole new set of gamers. It is also a modest $30 bucks, so you can save the galaxy on a budget. With word of upcoming sequels, I can only imagine the kind of fan base this game will generate. I, for one, eagerly anticipate further tales of Gideon Wyeth and his defense of humanity.

-Tybo, GameVortex Communications
AKA Tyler Whitney

Minimum System Requirements:

System: 2.0 GHz or equivalent, RAM: 256 MB RAM, Video Memory: 128 MB VRAM, Hard Drive Space: 5500 MB, Other: GeForce 4/ATI 9000 or better

Test System:

Windows XP, Intel P4 3.2 Ghz, 1GB of RAM, ATI Radeon X800 XL 256 MB

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