Posted: April 28
I played Advent Rising twice over the course of the ten-some hours I've played it on Steam. I went through the first time saving Gideon's fiancé, and the second time saving Gideon's brother. This is really the only, somewhat, major choice in the game. It really only affects who accompanies you through the early game, and a portion of the post-credits game. The first time I played through legitimately and on normal difficulty. The second time I used a cheat to give Gideon infinite health and energy so I could take a bunch of screenshots without getting killed or running out of energy for the things I was trying to screenshot.
The early game it consists of a space station, a few cutscenes, your one major-ish choice and the Human planet. These are amongst the least interesting parts of the game. Earth also has a lot of Vehicle driving. The Earth Vihicle controls aren't good, but the Vehicle itself is hardy enough to endure all the things you're going to be running into. If you've ever heard someone tell you a game takes X amount of time to get good, this is the sort of game they're talking about.
After escaping the destruction of the Human planet Gideon starts to get super powers as is the entire concept of the game. Playing with the powers is, quite simply, a blast, combining their primary and secondary fire modes with one another is easily the game at its best. No other game I've played has captured the growth of a being to super powerful levels quite like this, and more games should take note.
The designs of the Aliens, the enemy A.I. and variety of enemies is decent. There's room to grow, and the A.I. has its hiccup moments, but there's nothing terrible in regard to these things. The Alien Vehicles you'll pilot in the late game even manage to control better than the Human vehicle you pilot in the early game.
The music is stunning. Great. Lovely. No complaints. The story has its moments, but a lot of the lines characters speak are just goofy. If you can handle a bit of awkward and goofy dialogue, the story still isn't a gem, but it can be an enjoyable and adventurous romp. The voice acting is hit and miss, but even the worst is forgiveable and the later game's dialogue, voice acting, story and music just managed to bring me in more and more, where the early game, again, was very goofy and awkward.
I'd like to keep praising the game but . . . it's a really terrible port. I've never seen the original Console version's cutscenes, so maybe they were always like this, but on the PC they look terrible and I'm told many Cutscenes are missing from the original release. It's sad. There is a patch to add them in, but the download for the best quality and most scenes restored is large, and oddly slow considering my decent connection speed.
The problems go beyond cutscenes. Bugs. Lots of bugs. A few issues in the early Human planet vehicle sections with terrible 'vehicle platforming' for lack of something better to call it, Lots of crashes. Lots. Graphical glitches, very limited graphical settings and many more things work against this game.
Advent Rising, as a console game ported to PC, is a very, very flawed game. It's also a very fun and entertaining game, and by the end, despite some very real flaws, I'd forgiven the flaws because I really did just want more, and that feeling only grew after the credits rolled and revealed a decently long post-credits sequence and boss fight, that ended in sequel bait.
A sequel that never came.
TL;DR - It's worth playing and can be a lot of fun, but prepare for bugs, crashes and some frustrating elements muddying up some legitimately fun times. Your tolerance for goofy/awkward dialogue/story telling in the early game, and a very bland start to the game, will factor a lot into whether you can enjoy this game, and get to its meat.