Preview: Advent Rising (XB, PC)

Publisher: Majesco / Developer: Glyphx Games / Genre: Action / Release Date: 2005

“Their myth can be found in every known civilization. A powerful, highly intelligent race that will one day deliver the universe. They are known simply as… Human.”

Aw shucks… Us? Well yea, I guess. Who else has such a stunning record of peace and understanding?

Anyway… Advent Rising is the first game in a planned trilogy of Majesco sci-fi action/adventure games. A collaboration with Orson Scott Card [of Ender’s Game fame] promises a rich storyline to span the three games. Actions committed by the player in Advent Rising will have repercussions throughout the entire series.

The story engages in the midst of a discovery that fabled Humans actually exist [and taste like chicken!]. While the Humans of the planet Edumea recover from war, the Aurelians plan for their acceptance into Galactic Senate. All the while the seemingly benevolent Seekers plan the destruction of humans, supposed saviours of the universe, manipulating other species including the Aurelians to meet their own ends.

Human war hero, Ethan Wyeth and his brother [player character] Gideon get sucked into the whole affair when the Aurelians send an envoy to warn the Eudmeans of the Seekers. A showdown against the Seekers is beginning, and it’s up to Eudmea’s finest human heroes to… you know, do something about it. [Ethan and Gideon’s Awesome Action/Adventure!!]

Advent Rising hopes to pull away from the cinematic nature of other action/adventure cut scenes and let the player play through them interactively. A player can choose first or third person point of view while playing, and Majesco promises a system of control that will allow easy transitions between different items and powers, as well as targeting enemies and pulling off nifty acrobatic moves. ‘Flick Targeting’ allows super fast selection of the next alien the player would like to decimate.

Beyond a large variety of weapons, Gideon can also develop hand-to-hand skills and various super type powers [levitation, energy blasts and shield, etc]. Many weapons are provided at the beginning, in an RPG sort of way, developing the character to be more superman than human is what makes him really deadly. [Also, it turns out our heroes aren’t above pilfering weapons and such from the dead, always a good thing].

Human and alien vehicles for the land and air will be included in play. Fighting off the Seeker Elite that come a huntin’ can be done in style in Advent Rising, as the heroes go from ‘kind-of-badass-won-a-war’ to ‘really-bad-ass-fighting-aliens!!’.

Advent Rising uses Unreal Warfare engine technology along with the Karma physics engine. And those aren’t the only big names this game promises to throw around. That’s right… The Mormon Tabernacle Choir is doing the music!! [WHOO! Those Mormons always get me all worked up, oh my] Along with Los Angeles Orchestra. In the available preview movies, Majesco presents a taste of what may be quite an involving and attractive sound track. Dolby Digital 5.1 will bring the game to life for those lucky enough to have a fine stereo set-up.

Graphically, Advent Rising is bright and involving. The actual graphics are not the best I’ve seen, but good enough. The concepts and original art are the real grabbers. The colour schemes are not that of the dark and dingy cyberpunk scene, but vivid and optimistic. Like Mr. Scott Card.

Checking out the website let’s the viewer see some of the original pencil drawings, as well as the progression to the finished product. It makes the final screens all the more impressive when you can see how they started out. The Wyeth brothers will sport a variety of tres fashionable future earth clothing. I’m so glad to see flare pants come back in, and giant badass army boots never go out of style.

Coming out on the XBOX and PC, Advent Rising will online extras for XBOX Live and PC Online, including so far and extra level. Although this isn’t a MMORPG, so don’t expect to make an alien alliance and go kick some ass. I guess humans, being the wonderful, sexy, mythical saviours and such are expected to be able to do these things on their own. Sans alien body shields.

The developer, GlyphX, has stated aiming for about a 12 to 15 hour game, preferring a clean concise game to wasteful extra levels.

Advent Rising is due out for release in North America and Europe in oh, let’s say Mayish of this year.