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Rising to expectations

First impressions can usually determine the quality of a video game, and in the case of Advent Rising, so far so good. Even after four hours straight, I wasn’t bored. If you’re looking for a game that plays like a movie, with cinematic features and a fantastic soundtrack, then this game deserves your attention. An interesting plot — along with acting, dialogue and character development that is surprisingly well done for a video game — makes it easy for the gamer to get swept up in the storyline. With that said, the game lacks the originality needed for it to stand out in a market saturated with cookie-cutter action-adventure titles. Think Halo meets Star Wars. Oh, and it’s safe to bring the girlfriend along for the ride, guys; there are some tear-jerking moments.

Giddeon Wyeth, protagonist and pilot extraordinaire, is launched into an epic battle to save the human race. On the same day humans make first contact with a friendly alien species, a different alien race, called “Seekers,” comes to destroy them all. As one of the last survivors of the destruction of one of the human home worlds, Wyeth is taken in by the first race of aliens and informed of a prophecy proclaiming the human race to be the salvation of the universe, harboring special powers and abilities yet to be unleashed.

Gameplay can be easily described as Halo in the third person. Vehicles, ships, buildings, environments, weapons and even chacacters look as if they came off the drawing boards of Bungie Studios. The worlds and environments are massive and nicely detailed with vivid color. There is a decent variety of weapons, ranging from the standard pistol to the standard rocket launcher. The best weapon function, however, is the dual-wielding ability in tandem with multi-targeting. It adds a minute sense of realism — everyone knows that in real life, aliens shoot two plasma rifles at once.

The special abilities that are unlocked as you progress in the game closely resemble the well-known Jedi Force powers; too closely, in fact. It is just another feature that detracts from Advent Rising’s originality.

Lacking in originality has never been a major factor to stop a video game from being successful. However, Advent Rising has some serious design flaws to go along with its minor shortcomings. Selecting targets is done by pushing the right thumb stick in the direction of the target to be selected. But as with any third-person shooter, the right thumb stick must also adjust the camera angles while the left thumb stick controls the movement of the character. Herein lies the problem. While trying to adjust camera angles during some intense battles, the thumb stick will automatically start selecting targets. This can be quite annoying.

The flaws will hopefully be improved upon in the next two games of the trilogy, which should be something to look forward to. I highly recommend it as a rental. Advent Rising is available on Xbox as well as PC.