A game that flashes ‘epic’ on the box cover has to have a deep, original story, and to its credit you do get that with Advent Rising, at least initially. You play as ace pilot Gideon Wyeth, one of the last surviving humans in the universe. It seems that humans in the future posses some Matrix-like moves, but their powers are dormant and they must be trained into them.
After having his home planet destroyed, Gideon will face several fork in the roads during his adventure. He’ll have to make choices such as ‘save your fiancee’ or ‘save your brother’. These choices don’t really matter that much, since the story always rolls back on the beaten, narrow path. So even though the story might show some initial promise, it’s not that epic in the long run.
But the game fails on so many other fronts, including the controls (more on that later). More importantly, the sci-fi theme seems like a rip off of Halo. Even as a third-person shooter, everything from the weapons, powers, vehicles and art design feel like they were grafted on from another, much better game. The gameplay is of your standard run and gun variety, with single and dual-wielded weapons such as pistols, shotguns and rocket launchers comprising Gideon’s arsenal. Too bad he can only carry two at a time, Halo-style.
As with the gameplay, the early shoot ’em up portions of the game (where you escape a doomed space station) help present an above average game. The action is fast and the game masks the limited AI by throwing large swarms of enemies into your face. The problem is you need an extra hand to play, since the default layout isn’t all that intuitive and you can’t map out all of the functions. You really have to stretch your hand to activate your cool powers like levitation or time freeze.
System Requirements: Pentium IV 2 GHz, 256 MB RAM, 126 MB Video, WinXP
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