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Friday | December 9, 2016
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Avatar: The Game (X360 & PS3)

Avatar: The Game (X360 & PS3)

James Cameron has released some mega movies during his career – Aliens, The Terminator and Titanic spring to mind and he will go down in history as one of the most popular modern day movie directors. Avatar is his latest, much awaited ‘3D’ movie due for release very soon and as expected today we review a game based on it.

Avatar is a movie about an alien moon called Pandora and the intense battle over its many riches and the game is based on a prequel story with an introduction to Pandora’s past. This alien moon is much lusted after for its sources of unobtanium, a mineral worth a vast amount of money. To make matters more complex however, the environment is toxic and the creatures that roam it are far from friendly. The Na’vi are the giant 10 foot alien race who inhabit the land. When you factor in the Avatars – a genetic hybrid species of humans and a military force called the RDA then we have all the ingredients for a rather tasty war.

You take control of Abel Ryder, a new RDA soldier with an Avatar to control – however you are never really told why you are controlling an Avatar and even what it is. This is the first fault with the game design, a total lack of histrionic and back story. Shortly after this rather abrupt introduction you get the option to fight for the NDA or for the Na’vi. While we applaud the ‘into the thick of the action’ approach there is unfortunately no time given to explain exactly what is going on which has an unfortunate side effect of ruining the overall immersion. Why am I here? Why am I doing this? all questions that are not answered.

If you take the route of the Na’vi fighter you get armed with a machine gun as well as bow and arrows however the main bulk of the action comes with full on melee attacks. Taking the other route of NDA then you are placed into a third person shooter mode and offered a plethora of weaponry to destroy everything in your path. Playing either route lasts around 5-7 hours and if you deviate into the secondary missions then you can add another couple of hours to the total time.

So how does it play? The quick answer would be ‘its a rather average game’ and to be fair there is quite a lot on offer, the only issue I have is that nothing is really that good and I was never engrossed enough to watch the time skip by. By the time I had almost completed the first campaign I was ready to jump into another game because I really had enough. Sure there is enough variety on offer with the two distinct game styles depending on the path you take, but nothing about this game really sucked me in. Then again I saw the movie trailer and I felt the same, so perhaps it is just me.

The RDA shooter side is the more enjoyable of the two however I found the quest aspects for both primary and secondary missions to be nothing short of totally generic by nature. You are sent on constant errands – such as blowing up an installation or killing someone and locating a specific object. This is fine, its nothing new, we are all used to being an errand boy in games, but the issue is that you never feel fully invested in the role to actually want to do it. The AI is disappointing as well and sometimes during a fight your opponents will act erratically – one alien I was fighting decided to just stop dead in his tracks and pretend he was modeling a jacket in a store window, so I had to reload the game and try again.

The game also incorporates an experience based leveling system however the methodology behind it is basically automatic and you never really notice the changes – so again this aspect is very disappointing also. You select your preferred skills and weapons at the start and the game handles the rest throughout.

Graphically the game is average in parts and poor in others – the Na’vi for instance are poorly animated and the environmental detail is not great with some pretty rough texture work. The camera is also annoying and it decides sometimes that you want to look at a tree when in fact there is an alien pounding on your head with a large mallet. The controls are also an issue as I found them very unsatisfying, especially when in a vehicle. Both PS3 and Xbox 360 versions perform about the same and they also look almost identical, which is really not a compliment to the technology in either platform.

Multiplayer is catered for and there are Na’vi and RDA head to head team games which are fun. There are also the standard capture the flag and deathmatch modes and other game styles such as capture and hold. They are quite enjoyable but nothing that wonderful in such a competitive multiplayer climate.

Avatar: The Game is unfortunately rather disappointing for me because there is not enough time spent on crafting an original or addictive experience. Something about it all just seems rushed to me and while the environments are attractive enough, the developers have made too much of the game feel generic and rather staid. The gameplay is also sadly lacking with a distinctly average combat system and shoddy controls with substandard AI. As an action game it just doesn’t make the grade – spend your money on Assassins Creed 2 instead.

Gameplay
65

Very unoriginal and somewhat bland
Graphics
75
Rather ropey animations and colorful yet sterile landscapes
Sound
65
This side of the game totally fails to impress
Value
60
If you like the single player side, I guess its ok. It grew boring for me rather quickly
Overall
60

One to skip.

About Author

Stuart Davidson

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