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I was going to give this game 3 stars, and then:
"Your system has recovered from a serious error"
This, along with about 2 dozen other crash to desktops really set me off.
Advent Rising is no 5 star game. It was panned by critics for a reason. People didn't buy it for a reason, and if you buy it you'll see why. Now don't get me wrong, it's not a total piece of crap, in fact it has a lot of good things going for it. Namely:
1. Music - the music is suitably epic, and some of the better music I've heard in a video game.
2. Graphics - even today, the graphics are pretty good. Mind you the game isn't all that old, but it is a few years. Still the explosions, tanks and so forth are all pretty and blow up pretty good.
3. Story - the story itself isn't that bad. Some reviewers here are complaining its too anime or too lofty, well, to each their own. But the story has potential. This is more of a "high brow" sci-fi with human transcendence and that sort of thing. As for the graphics, well as I've said they're good and having a style does not make it a bad game. If the characters are all designed with a certain aesthetic in mind that's fine, not every game has to be hyper-realistic.
Now the problems:
The story of the game itself is crap. Now, this seems to contradict what I said just above, but it doesn't, not entirely. As reviewers said when the game first game out, the story is poorly told. My point is that the story, or what they're going for is okay, but the story as its presented in the game itself is garbage. There are huge plotholes. For example your character seemingly gains these super powers simply because some guy thinks its a good idea. There's no real initiation, it doesn't even show the guy helping your character learn them. He just starts doing it. None of the characters are all that likeable either. On the one hand, the game wants you to care about the characters, on the other hand, it gives you no reason to. In fact the game itself doesn't even seem to care. Potentially major spoiler alert here, but for example, the main character at one point loses someone very close to him, a love interest. Five minutes later he's practically in the arms of another woman. If he cares so much about the first girl why does he forget about her 5 seconds after she's gone? There's no real depth to the characters.
And then even with this "huge epic story" going on, the gamplay itself is boring. Really there's very little connection between the story and the gameplay, sometimes to the point of absurdity. The gameplay is basically the character shooting bad guys. He shoots bad guys on a ship, then shoots them somewhere else, and shoots them again in some other place. Theoretically he's going somewhere, to do something, but he rarely does anything, he mostly just shoots people. For example at one point your on an enemy ship, then you fight your way to the bridge, then what do you at the bridge? Absolutely Nothing! You turn around and leave the way you came and then go off in some other direction. The whole game is basically the character vs 3-10 bad guys, broken up with the occasional very easy vehicle section. Occasionally the character has some allies helping him who range from useful to useless, all of which are invulnerable at least to the player's fire anyway. They'll disappear and re-appear at random.
Basically long story short, the music is epic and you play the game and you want to get into this epic battle but there is no epic battle. There's just repetitive shooting with no real purpose. I mean your character interacts with elevators, he even interacts occasionally with devices to DO something story wise, but this is extremely rare. In fact I think he does it all of one time. The rest of the time he's not doing anything other than moving from room to room or street to street shooting things. Apparently he's going somewhere most of the time, but for what purpose and to what end I don't know. It gets a little better near the end, but also near the end is where stability issues start coming up big time.
Oh and what else, some of the boss battles are annoying. Advent Rising takes the route of "your weapons are useless, you have to do something special" in boss battles. This is fine, in theory, you have to find the kink in the boss's pattern right? But sometimes your waiting for like 5 minutes to even get a shot at it. Seriously. At one point you fight this big monkey thing, and like many bosses you have to wait til it attacks to do something, but sometimes the boss does this attack 3 or 4 times in a row. Other times he's chasing you around for four freaking minutes and all you're doing is trying not to die while the completely random AI does its thing. Basically if you're going to have a pattern make it a pattern, don't make me waste my time WAITING for this stupid thing to happen.
So in summary, it's a game that has potential. It has a good story IDEA behind it, with a very impressive musical score and some good visuals BUT the gameplay falls short, the story is very poorly told and sometimes doesn't make any sense in relation to the gameplay, and its just repetitive and not all that fun. Oh, and stability issues.