Review - James Cameron's Avatar: The Game - User Reviews - www.GameInformer.com
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Review - James Cameron's Avatar: The Game

James Cameron's Avatar: The Game



By now I'm assuming you've all seen (or at least know the premise of) Avatar since James Cameron has raked in a ridiculous 1.1 billion dollars worldwide (so far) but just in case, the following is a simple plot summary. In the future some marine travels to a rain-forest moon/planet called Pandora and becomes involved in the "Avatar" program wherein his mind can be linked to a genetically engineered body of the local giant-blue-monkey-humanoid race called Na'vi. In his new "Na'vi" body he is to infiltrate and learn about this indigenous people because the army wants to kill them all and take precious minerals found beneath their homeland. The marine then finds out that the blue monkey Indians are pretty cool and really aren't hurting anyone. Moral dilemma ensues. If it sounds confusing just imagine Fern Gully or Dances with Wolves in space... it's almost the exact same thing.

Sorry about that, I actually did enjoy the film. Anyway, moving on...
The best part of Avatar: The Game is easily simply exploring Pandora.

Cameron's Avatar: The Game by Ubisoft doesn't follow the plot or characters of the film but rather takes the concept, planet, and creatures and weaves a similar plot. In the game you start off as a human arriving on Pandora and being enlisted in the Avatar program. After an hour or so of learning the third-person shooter/action-adventure/collect-athon controls the story will present a fork in the road where you must decide to continue either on the side of the humans or the Na'vi. While both story arcs present some different game-play elements and fairly lengthy play-time (especially if you go for 100% completion of every section) they aren't really completely unique and many concepts will be recycled. For clarity's sake I'll split discussion of the game-play into the two factions' story arcs.

If you make the decision to play as a human you will spend your time shooting and destroying pretty much everything that moves on Pandora. The game is divided into multiple large maps, each of which has several missions and side-quests to complete. These missions and side-quests, along with simply just killing things, reward you with experience that will allow you to level up and unlock new weapons, armor, and special abilities for your character. The customizability level isn't too high but it does manage to keep things somewhat fresh. Game-play is as tight as can be expected for a rushed movie-based title but it certainly isn't anything revolutionary. It works, but don't expect anything more. Objectives and the aforementioned game-play can get awfully repetitive though, even despite the addition of some interesting vehicles to drive, shoot, and fly with.
Vehicles like this one can be driven. Remember this seen from The Lost World?

If you make the decision to play as a Na'vi you will spend your time attempting to save Pandora from the humans' destructive tendencies. This plays out similarly to the human side, with the game being divided into multiple (albeit mostly different) large maps in which objectives and side-quests are to be completed. The main difference you will notice here is that instead of shooting an arsenal of heavy weaponry you will be fighting off enemy soldiers with an arsenal of large spears, staffs, daggers, and bows. While it can be fun running around slashing at the much tinier humans (whom almost always die with one or two blows) this is where the game-play truly falters. Yes there are special abilities and some cool creatures to ride but pressing a single button to repeatedly kill soldiers can definitely get boring and tedious. There isn't really any combo system in place so basically imagine a third-person shooter where you can only melee or use a bow (which personally I didn't find very effective).
Playing as the Na'vi you'll basically be beating humans with sticks.

Either way you slice it the game-play in Avatar is certainly lacking but the all-too-familiar addictiveness of leveling up and improving your character will probably carry you through the story, and the human guns versus Na'vi melee mechanic might even warrant a second play-through due to curiosity or achievement/trophy hunting.

Like Avatar's game-play, the music and sound effects are pretty mediocre. They aren't bad and there are actually some tidbits of quality voice acting but they're certainly nothing too impressive. The graphics on the other hand are slightly above par with Pandora looking lush and beautiful (if often deadly) and animations running fairly smoothly.

Finally, there's actually also an online multi-player mode that covers all the basics of team deathmatch, capture the flag, etc. The game-play is pretty much identical to the single-player campaign making online matches somewhat awkward due to a lack of a cover system, innovative game-play, or leveling/ranking up system.
There's multi-player too!

Ultimately Avatar falls into the orbit of so many other movie-based-games in that it may help to further explain and enhance your experience of the world Cameron has created but it will ultimately be forgotten.

The Final Verdict:



Pros:

  1. "Pandorapedia" - an encyclopedia of nearly everything you come across in the game will let you read more and discover more of Cameron's Avatar

  • The campaign presents two story arcs that each include fairly different game-play devices and plot points.

  • Unlockable weapons, armor, and special abilities can be fun and interesting

  • Exploring Pandora and her indigenous flora and fauna can also be interesting.

  • Voice work actually isn't too bad... though don't expect the cast from the film except for a few brief cameos

  • Graphical presentation is pretty nice



Cons:

  1. Game-play can easily get repetitive, tedious, and boring.

  • Music is completely mediocre.

  • Many aspects feel rushed and sloppy as with most movie-based games.

  • The online multi-player brings back haunting memories of Lord of the Rings: Conquest

  • Borderlands' Pandora may not have lush rain-forests but it's certainly more exciting than Cameron's Pandora

  • Like this review, Avatar is drenched in mediocrity (I apologize for the lackluster review)



The Score:


Presentation/Concept: 5/10
Music/Sound: 6/10
Graphics: 7/10
Value: 6/10
Game-play: 5/10

Overall: 6/10

Conclusion:
If you've seen Avatar more than three times and you still can't get enough this is probably the game for you. If you're looking for a decent enough third-person shooter/adventure/collect-athon Avatar is certainly an option. If you're looking for an awesome movie-based-game you probably won't find it in James Cameron's Avatar: The Game.

~Review by Please Reconnect Controller
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