James Cameron's Avatar - The Game Reviews

How do you rate James Cameron's Avatar - The Game?

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Standard Member
Despite quite liking a demo of the 3D version I played of Avatar in October at the 2009 Eurogamer Expo, I wasnt really considering getting this. So when my sister brought it for me I was in two minds as to whether to trade it on, I decided not to and I'm glad I didn't!

I'm actually really liking this game so far. It has been in the making for a long time apparantly and the world of Pandora is something that Cameron himself has dreamt up, which is supposedly some kind of project of making a film and a game side-by-side.

The game itself has been made by Ubisoft Montreal and uses the Far Cry 2 engine. Whilst the FC2 engine excels at recreating the muted browns and greens of the african wilderness and open landscape of the savannah unfortunately it struggles at times with the plethora of bright and vivid colours of the alien flora and fauna of Pandora, and the 'closed in' jungle with towering cliffs and trees. Basically the textures are nicely detailed and very colourful, but there is some nasty vsync tearing and pop up at times.

This is particularly annoying in Avatar as perhaps the best thing about the game is the well imagined environment. "But it's just a jungle" you say, "alien Jurassic Park or something", well yes it is, but it's actually quite well done. Every single plant and animal is listed in the 'Pandorapaedia' and obviously alot of time has gone into thinking it all out, with 'facts' and back story about the indigenous Na'vi and the rest of Pandora. The backing music is lovely and atmospheric too, really setting the scene. The human habitations (protected behind huge iron fences) look really cool. It does come across as abit of a Hollywood blockbuster kind of world, but doesnt suffer for that because it is actually quite lush! But for this reason the tearing and pop up really break the immersion and this hurts one of the best points about the game quite alot.

The gameplay mechanics surprised me abit as I have read alot of negative reviews on the aiming amongst other things, and as a film tie in I was prepared for the worst. I was pleasantly surprised then to find the gameplay is well crafted and tight. All done in 3rd person perspective, the running, jumping, strafing, shooting and meleeing feel very easy and natural. It doesnt lock on as such, but there's a yellow diamond indicator to show when you're on target. I've read criticism that there's no tactile feedback when you lock on and this is a problem as it's hard to know when you're on target, but tbh I havent found it a problem so far, infact as a Na'vi with only slow firing bow / crossbow ranged weapons I've found it quite agreeable. And for the human shooting section it wasnt a problem either. Aim and shoot, how hard can it be?!

I also quite like the vehicles. So far for the humans I've driven buggys and boats and for the Na'vi I've ridden a horse and a flying bird / dragon thing. Each open up the vast maps quite nicely and serve to help get you in and around the world. There are also teleport stations to get around the map too.

Also surprising is the narrative / story and how polarised it is. There's a point in the game where you have to choose to fight for one of the two factions- the indigenous Na'vi or the human Marines who are protecting the humans mining interests on Pandora. I chose Na'vi and basically I've been quite shocked at how dastardly the humans seem, the Marines come charging into villages shouting "kill em all" and "wipe em out" etc and you really think, right lets have em. And the thing is they've got American accents, so I guess the point I'm making is it's really surprising that a game that's been directed by an American (Cameron) would have this. For example, when Halo let you play as The Arbiter for the first time in Halo 2, you were only let loose on other Covenant species and the Flood, never the human forces and alot of people thought that the reason for this is that Bungie and Microsoft didn't want the player to be killing Americans. So I find it surprising just how villianous the humans (Americans) seem in this, and how you're encouraged to bring some native-ewok style justice to them!

The story divides the game right down the middle, with the two different factions playing out entirely different games. As a Marine, the game is more of a conventional 3rd person quick action running shooter with technology based vehicles such as buggies and boats etc, as a Na'vi it's an mission driven action / adventurer with platforming elements and animal transport like horses and dragons etc. As the story unfolds it is told from two very different perspectives, ie from the Marine's point of view they are trying to put down the Na'vi rebellion and stop the conflict from spiralling out of control, from the Na'vis point of view obviously they want the humans to stop plundering Pandora's resources and are fighting back against the mining corporations.

I've already decided I'm going to play it through twice (once as each faction) because for one I'm really enjoying it, I think it's actually a very decent game and two, because it's such a different story and game for each faction and I found the humans shooting sections at the start to be alot of fun and the colony buildings etc are all very cool.

Avatar has had mixed reviews and in some ways I can see why, but it really isnt a typical film tie in- it's actually pretty good, with a very well imagined game world (as you might expect from a partnership of James Cameron and Ubisoft Montreal) and surprisingly well made gameplay in all areas. There's online multiplayer modes too, but I havent tried those yet. I also might post up some more comments when I've finished the game, but so far from me a very solid...

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Active Member
ive not played the game (enjoyed the movie but not interested in playing a game on it) but anyway, i noticed it seems to be everywhere online (play.com, amazon etc) at the moment for 15quid which does seem a bit of a bargain :thumbsup:

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