A broken, jumbled mess of a game that should have been left in the oven for another year.

User Rating: 4.3 | Advent Rising XBOX
Well, here it is The game penned by sci-fi super-freak Orson Scott Card. The game that was supposed to be a sci-fi extravaganza that would play like a movie. The first in a planned trilogy that would allow you to make your own choices that would effect the upcoming sequels. Unfortunately, what we end up with is nothing like what has been mentioned above. The folks in the PR department should get most of the credit for putting a really good spin on what is ultimately a half-baked game that should never have been released to retail. I'll break it down into sections so as to be concise: Story: There was an awful lot of hype about the epic story of Advent Rising. Orson Scott Card is a respected, (if not somewhat "far out"), sci-fi writer who penned the story for Advent Rising. So, where did the story go?? Let's see, an alien race attacks, bent on destroying the human race. You, being the studly human that you are, have to stop them. Gee, they had to pay a respected sci-fi novelist to come up with that? Every other game, (and movie for that matter), has the exact same plot. the storyline is dead on arrival, and nothing is really explained by the end of part 1. Graphics: Let's start with the good. The art direction is great, but that's basically where the good ends. The graphics are a jumbled mess of so-so & just downright atrocious & the developers have obviously never heard of texturing. The animation for the main character is horrid, (is he runing or having a seizure?), the enemies are extremely limited & just look like a mash of different alien cliches from a thousand other games/movies, (mostly trying to be halo-ish, but not coming anywhere close), and the cutscenes were edited so badly, I was more confused after watching them than I was before. The person who directed the cutscenes really must have had ADD or forgot to take his Ritalin that day. Graphics are a bust. Sound: The game starts off with a sweeping, orchestral theme that gets you psyched up for the game. but much like the game itself, after the initial sequence, (which is prob the best part of the game BTW), it just fades into obscurity offering nothing to create or add to the atmosphere. The voice-work is phoned in at best & sounds pretty horrible. Not to mention that the sound just cuts out here & there altogether. Ther weapons sound weak, the enemies sound like teletubbies on opium & the main character sounds like he could care less. The sound is less than stellar. Gameplay: Well, if you thought all the above sounded pretty bad, then feel free to stop reading now. This game is completely busted right out of the box. The only innovation in gameplay is the "flick" targeting which basically has you flick your right stick towards an enemy to automatically lock onto them. This is something that should be used in more games, just not this one. It's a great idea that unfortunately works horribly in this game. Your cursor loves to auto-target enemies, even when you don't want to. And since you face an enemy when you target them, (and move a lot slower when you are targeting enemies), there will be times where you just want to get to a specific spot but, you can't. Because the damn reticle just wants to target an enemy & next thing you know you are facing them. You can flick the stick to take the target off the enemy, but then it just locks on to something else or another enemy. Downright annoying. The game is glitchy. I have seen the game completely freeze, (and make loud noises that sounds like Chewbacca is taking a dump on my XBOX), I have been unable to proceed in the game because certain events do not "trigger", thus making you have to restart the level. I've gotten stuck in the environment, I've seen enemies get stuck in the environment. NPC's will run in circles like chickens with their heads cut off & then of course, there's the frame rate. Basically, this game chops up more than a Ginsu knife. I swear, a slideshow of my Grandma's trip to the clinic to get an enema runs smoother than this game. It's not too bad at first, (it seems like the quick auto-saves from Halo, only ever 5 seconds), but there are sections later in the game where all you can do is point your character in the direction you want to go & just pray you get there alive, because the framerate drops so low there is nothing else you can do. This is completely unnaceptable in any game, let alone a full priced game on a current-gen system. The weapons are weak, they all seem the same, & there never seems to be really much reason at all to switch from one to another unless it is out of ammo. There are psychic powers which are kinda cool, but they are never really explained & break up the flow of the game more than anything. You can just lift enemies into the air & smoke them with your guns if you want, (do they just stay suspended forever or what), or you can just toss them around like a salad, but none of it makes for compelling gameplay. You can level up your weapons, powers & physical abilities, (think Morrowind, you use them, they increase in power), but the human weapons level up way too quick, (the alien weapons level up a lot slower), and it's not too exciting when none of the weapons or abilities are that great to begin with. Replay value: There's very little replay value to be had here. I beat the game in around 8 hours & had no desire to look at it any more beyond that. There is no multiplayer component & as far as I could tell, there was no way to go back through the game with your powered up character, you get nerf'd if you start a new game. WTF is up with that? Shameless marketing ploy: Finally, there is the million dollar giveaway on XBOX live for finding tokens hidden throughout the Advent Rsing levels. Let me just say that this seems to be the only redeeming factor of this game, because people shouldn't pay for this game, they should be paid to play it. It's just that bad folks. Think Oni meets Halo meets Psi-Ops with a framerate that drops so low you need to check to make sure the game is still running & you get the idea. Avoid this game like the black plague or herpes simplex 10, or just give it to your little brother & get big brother kudos. He might think it's cool because he's 6 years old, but you should know better.