Advent Rising Impressions

We get a look at Majesco's upcoming Xbox action game.

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Advent Rising is an original game from Utah-based GlyphXgames that is slated to ship next year for the Xbox and PC. The game is set in a distant future where humans are viewed as mythological creatures of immense power that will unite the universe one day. The game follows events that take place when an outpost of humans is discovered by an alien race. You'll take the role of Gideon Wyeth, a human who is ignorant of the legends that have grown about his race and of the strange powers lying dormant in him. The rich story is being crafted by famed sci-fi scribe Orson Scott Card from a concept developed by GlyphX games, and it will be told over the course of a trilogy of games.

Although the game's structure is still taking form, GlyphX's intention is to offer a seamless and playable cinematic experience that unfolds in the immersive style of Half-Life. You'll begin the game with access to a decent-sized arsenal of weapons, most with alternate firing modes, and a small stable of vehicles to pilot. However, as you progress further into the story, Gideon will acquire various abilities and psychic powers that will put to shame the standard weapons you start the game with. Your psychic powers will include telekinesis, healing, speed (à la bullet time), possession, confusion, and acrobatic powers, each of which will have unique alternate modes, much like your weapons. The gameplay will feature a bit of an RPG twist in that Gideon will become more proficient in the abilities you use more often as you go through the game. The game will also change dynamically as a result of decisions you make as you play, offering a branched experience that will differ from player to player.

The build of the game we saw reflects roughly six months of development time and makes use of a modified version of the Unreal engine. Despite its early state, the game already featured some stable levels that showed off its combat engine, which uses a variant of Zelda-style Z targeting, allowing you to target two separate enemies at once. Another impressive element in the early game was its enormous levels, which were well on their way toward realizing GlyphX's cinematic vision for the game.

The PC and Xbox versions of the game are shaping up to offer different experiences. Just how different remains to be seen, but so far the Xbox game seems to be a little different from the PC game in terms of its looks and functionality. The game will be played in a standard third-person mode and will likely offer a 16-by-9 mode. Specifics on HDTV support and Xbox Live support, if any, are still being ironed out. The PC game will have the option to play the entire game in first-person mode and to run it at 800 by 600, and it will feature higher-resolution textures.

Advent Rising is currently slated to ship in spring 2004 for the Xbox, with the PC version following later that year. Look for more on the game in the coming months.

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