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Reviewer Danny Weiss calls the cinematics in 'Advent Rising,' "breathtaking."
By MSNBC-TV Entertainment
updated 6/23/2005 3:57:04 PM ET 2005-06-23T19:57:04

Advent Rising is a third-person shooting game for the Xbox console which takes place on the eve of mankind's destruction.  It is a straight up action game with little strategy required from the player other than deciding which weapons work best against each potential foe.  The story is co-written by Orson Scott Card, a well-known science fiction writer, so the story and the dialogue are not your typical cheesy man versus the universe.

The storyline is intriguing, however, quite a while passes before it really takes off.  This game is designed to be the first part of a trilogy, so, if you are patient enough, there is some hope for the game's storyline to really develop.  Conversely, the graphics and cinematic experiences are amazing.  Though the details are not quite as good as some other popular games, the sheer amount and length of the clips offer a true feast for the eyes.  As a result, the beginning seems less tedious as it leads the player a sense that there may be some real potential to this game. 

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A fighting scene from the game.
Gameplay in Advent Rising is adequate as a third-person shooter but the player experiences some small and a few significant problems.  It's similar to Halo 2 in dual weapons, vehicle handling, and collecting weapons.  When cycling through your inventory, time merely slows down instead of stopping, which while adding a sense of reality to the process, also makes it difficult to change weapons or powers mid fight. 

Another issue with the game is its use of aliasing, which causes aliens to appear out of nowhere. Sometimes they even appear right next to you.  Furthermore, if you aren't careful driving you can easily get caught in a game glitch and be forced to return to the previous checkpoint.  This is especially troublesome during certain scenes where you are driving through wrecked parts of a city as the player can easily get stuck on an odd shaped piece of rock.

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The game's powers in action.
On a positive note, the game uses a variety of weapons, which allows players to find the type with which they are most comfortable.  The mastery levels are also a nice touch as it enables the player to increase their powers and abilities over the course of the game.  This customizes the game experience as each weapon and skill advance and  become more useful to the player.

All in all, this is an entertaining game which isn't too difficult to understand or master.  I wouldn't place it on the top of my list but its cinematics are quite breathtaking and the film scores add to the experience.   If Halo interests you and you long for another Xbox game to fill your time, I recommend Advent Rising.  However, keep in mind that this is just the first of three so hopefully the glitches and other problems will be ironed out by the sequel.

Overall Rating: 8 of 10.

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