Overall I did enjoy this game but it did drag on at times.
Avatar, a movie about an alien moon called Pandora and the battle over its riches. It's a game that I had high hopes for and though it does its best to play to the movie's strengths -- featuring a lush jungle world and 3D visuals – Avatar: The Game ultimately suffers from unpolished and thin gameplay elements.
Avatar: The Game takes place on the same moon as its movie counterpart but rather than retelling Cameron's tale, it offers a prequel story and an introduction to Pandora's past. The reason for all of the commotion? Pandora is the only known place to harvest unobtanium, a mineral worth whatever it takes to get it. Unfortunately, Pandora has a toxic atmosphere and is the home to some hostile locals, including giant carnivorous plants and the Na'vi, an alien race that stands roughly 10 feet tall. The RDA, a military for hire, has countered with Avatars, a genetic hybrid between humans and Na'vi. And so the war begins in earnest.
Very little of this is actually explained directly to the player. Instead, you're thrust into the role of Abel Ryder, a new RDA recruit with an Avatar to control – never you mind what an Avatar is or why they exist. Soon after, you're forced to choose to fight either for the Na'vi as a full-time Avatar or for the RDA. The game wastes no time getting right down to brass tacks, but in doing so glosses over what should have been its chance to lay down the groundwork for any motivation it might have offered the player. Instead, it sets up a series of generic quests and little bits of story about the search for some special rocks that you'll have just about no investment in.
If you decide to fight for the RDA, Avatar: The Game plays as a third-person shooter, offering plenty of guns and war machines to take down the flora and fauna. Fight for the Na'vi and you'll instead wield primitive though effective clubs, staffs and knives. Limited ranged combat is in store for the Na'vi fighter as well through a machine gun and a bow and arrows, but the majority of the action is up close and personal. Though both sides have similar special powers to call upon, this setup makes for two drastically different experiences.
You can choose to fight for the Na'vi, or for the RDA as pictured here.
Both branches of the game last between four and six hours – more if you take on all of the side tasks – but each tell their own story and deliver their own style of gaming. Will you play a straight action game with limited platforming as you fight for the natives? Or will you tackle a third-person shooter and lay waste to everything in sight using guns and flamethrowers? Or will you wind up playing both sides to double your game time? It's a nice concept and the two sides of the Avatar: The Game coin are different enough to make each feel distinct. Neither, however, plays well enough to make it a standout.
There's nothing disastrous here, and the RDA shooter side of things performs well enough to be occasionally enjoyable. The quest design, including both the main and side tasks, is about as generic as they come. Go here, collect this, plant these bombs, or kill this and then return to me. It's mindless, you shoot stuff and it explodes. It works, though it could handle a lot better and the enemy AI isn't up to snuff. During one big boss battle at the end, my foe jumped off of a cliff and then ran across a field and hid in a corner. Searching for him wasn't very fun.
Overall I did enjoy this game but it did drag on at times.Read full review