Published on December 11th, 2009 | by prime0
Avatar – The Game – Review
Summary: The conflicting play styles of both the RDA and Na'vi result in some interesting showdowns
The likelihood is that if you’re reading this you’ve probably dismissed Avatar already, because it’s a movie game and the wiser gamers among you will have already put money on the fact that this game is the usual dross we’ve come to expect from the words ‘movie tie-in’.
My, what a cynical world you live in, because the fact Avatar is actually okay. It isn’t great and it doesn’t really change what’s expected from the genre, but it does have some beautiful levels and is fun in moderation.
Avatar’s single-player game is split into two distinct factions, the military like RDA and the human-blue creature hybrids called Na’vi. Early on you’ll have to choose who you want to fight for and it’s that decision which splits the game into five to six hour sections. The Na’vi section plays like a standard melee action platformer with primitive weaponry like clubs and a bow and arrows, where the RDA utilize guns and technology to get the job done.
The game assumes that you’ve already seen the movie, as even the earliest plot points and character motivations aren’t explained in any depth. The presentation and delivery of dialogue is void of all energy and drama though – almost as if every effort was ploughed into the visuals. Speaking of which, the world of Pandora is actually quite impressive. The jungle theme offers lush flora and fauna, but the latter aren’t ones to mess with. You’ll run into creatures sweet and savage, with some providing a suitable boss-shaped stumbling block.
Most of your time will be spent murdering the enemy faction and exploring seemingly endless terrain. There’s also an interesting RTS dynamic where you can capture territories and earn more experience points and other bonuses. It’s a powerful idea which sells the scale of conflict very well, but it’s far too simple to be anything more than a fun distraction. But fun it is, and it also manages to extend the length of the gameplay beyond what you might expect from a movie tie-in game.
Ubisoft have also had a stab at multiplayer, which involves both of the games featured factions. It’s the usual deal with Capture the Flag, Team Deathmatch and King of the Hill, all with 16-player support. The conflicting play styles of both the RDA and Na’vi result in some interesting showdowns featuring deadly swarms of insects, as well as giant mechs. Regular readers will know how much we love giant robots, yet even in this setting they’re bland and far too reminiscent of Matrix Revolutions.
There’s absolutely nothing much to love, either. If you enjoyed the movie then this will happily fulfill your ambitions to slay the Na’vi, but for everyone else there’s nothing considerably meritorious here. Still it’s better than your average tie-in.