Advent Rising

a game by Majesco
Genre: Action
Platform: XBox
Editor Rating: 7/10, based on 1 review
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Games that are short, buggy, and don't offer the smoothest, easiest to learn gameplay I've ever seen rarely make it to the top of my 'games to buy' list. That said, Advent Rising is all that, and still managed to impress me enough to make it my favorite new game. Before you continue, I want to make myself completely clear; this game is worth buying, even in light of its many flaws.

First, if you've kept up on Advent Rising, you've likely heard about the bugs, and the rumors don't lie. There are a lot of them, they're everywhere, and they have a startling ability to be deal breakers. From the game's inability to play cutscenes without losing the occasional frames, to the design flaws that should've been caught from the get go, my first experience with this game was less than satisfying. I can regularly reproduce a bug that will make an early scene in the game unplayable, requiring a restart. Definitely not a good selling point.

Advent Rising breaks out of its mold in a very simple game mechanic, and a eye towards the cinematic. With a variety of weapons and incredible powers at your disposal, Advent was designed to let you improve your character as you go. Each attack, each power, and even your jumping ability can improve the more you use it. Fist fight long enough and you'll get the ability to perform special fatalities, and soon you'll deal tremendous damage with your fists. Level up the timeshift power, and you can slow down time, fighting suspiciously like Jet Li's character Yulaw in The One.

Graphically, the game is well designed, and has some visual flair, but most of that is sidelined in order to present an extremely dense atmosphere. With simpler animations than you may be used to, you'll also get swarmed by large numbers of enemies, and regularly have fights with several different opponents at one given time.

Ultimately, all of these elements, gameplay, visual design, and even an orchestral soundtrack, are all brought together to support an ambitious narrative that starts with the opening of the game, and doesn't end even once the credits roll. In one word, the story in this game is compelling.

This is only the third Xbox game to truly impress me in this way, the other two being the Halo series, and this level of narrative detail is long over due. Sadly, the game is no longer than 8 hours long, and so, even with a good story, it is still in dire need of improvement. Still, I think this game has a bit of the magic, and the magic is good. This game gets a recommended buy, but only a weak one, because it still has lots of problems.

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