Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora Video Game Review - Unveiling the World of Pandora in Gaming Excellence

Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora Video Game Review - Unveiling the World of Pandora in Gaming Excellence

With only 2 films, Avatar has become one of the highest-grossing film series in history. It is a goose that lays the golden eggs, but does that mean it works as a video game?

Ubisoft, known for bringing sagas like Assassin's Creed and Rayman , decided to be the brave one and try it. The result is a game that you will most likely have fun with; However, it is also full of ifs and buts that are worth knowing before you spend your money.

Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora ― Available on Amazon

A Graphic Spectacle That Is More Than A Far Cry Reskin

One of the first things you notice about Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora is that it is one of those games that makes you fall in love with just one look. Its graphics are stunning and take advantage of the power of current generation consoles to deliver a world full of nature that feels full of life. On your adventure through Pandora you find several landscapes that are so beautiful that they force you to stop for several minutes to appreciate them.

While it is graphically impressive, it is also impressive in an artistic sense. Ubisoft knew how to capture the most important elements of James Cameron's films to transport you to his world. It is in the latter where the true value of the visual section of Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora lies . Yes, it doesn't look as good as the movies; However, it manages to capture its essence so that you feel that you are part of one of them.

This brings us to our next point: Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora takes full advantage of the license. This has some bad things that we will see later, but it also brings some benefits that end up being its greatest strengths. It's easy to look at this release and think it's just a Far Cry with a movie skin, but it's about something more. Of course, it's easy to compare them because of their many similarities: both are open-world games about exploring and clearing bases; However, Frontiers of Pandora makes clever changes to the gameplay section to deliver unique sensations.

Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora Video Game Review - Unveiling the World of Pandora in Gaming Excellence

The first thing to keep in mind is that in Avatar you are a Na'vi, an alien species, so you are considerably taller than the average man and can run at high speeds and jump enormous distances. Not to mention that you can use Pandora's flora to climb and, thus, take advantage of the planet's verticality. Another point to consider is that your enemies are the soldiers of the GDR, an army with an impressive offensive arm that will attack you with rifles, helicopters, explosives and huge robots.

These are elements that provide a playable identity to Frontiers of Pandora . You see: in the Avatar game you are not Rambo or anything like that. Yes, there will be times when you can pick up a rifle and shoot anything that comes your way on camera, but most of the time you are prey; You are the mouse waiting to outwit the cat who wants to kill him. Thus, you must take advantage of stealth, get kills from a distance with your bow, hack targets to disable the rival's defenses and even launch explosives that function as traps. In fact, you are at such a disadvantage with your rivals that sometimes the game doesn't even ask you to eliminate them; All you have to do is sneak around, find what you're looking for at the base, and escape undetected.

The difference in power between you and your enemies provides a dynamic that makes combat more interesting. As we mentioned, there are opportunities for you to come in with a rifle and shoot like crazy; However, it is a strategy that is only 100% effective with foot soldiers. If you want to eliminate the robots you will have to hack them or shoot them in their weak point, something that can be very complicated if they detect you. In this way, there will be many occasions when you shoot, miss, and a chase begins in which an entire squad is after you. In these situations you will only have one option: run at full speed towards the vegetation and take advantage of its verticality to hide and find another perfect moment to attack.

Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora Video Game Review - Unveiling the World of Pandora in Gaming Excellence

This is how the game offers a fun combat loop that constantly rewards you and makes you feel like you are defeating forces much more powerful than you. Unfortunately, the gameplay section has other problems that we will explain later, but for now, we will say that in your time in Frontiers of Pandora you will do much more than fight.

The world is huge and you can explore it on foot or by riding the local fauna to go faster or fly. If you choose, this exploration can be more than just getting from point A to point B. It can also be an adventure in which you collect fruit through a mini-game that takes advantage of the DualSense or hunt animals. This is how you get ingredients to cook and have food that gives you different bonuses in exploration.

Additionally, there are main missions that will have you exploring different well-designed environments, and some that even have simple puzzles. Although they are simple environments, the quality of their design is enough to elevate the moments in which they are present. They are sequences where you feel like you are in an adventure game more than in another open world. I wish we had more moments like this throughout the entire game. No way…

Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora Video Game Review - Unveiling the World of Pandora in Gaming Excellence

Leverage The Avatar License Faithfully...for Better And For Worse

Before we said that Ubisoft knew how to take advantage of the Avatar license very well . In fact, he did it so well that he kept some of the big mistakes from James Cameron's films.

Yes, Avatar has been a box office success every time it hits theaters; Furthermore, his films are true visual spectacles of an incredible world. However, many of us can agree that his story leaves a lot to be desired. They are films that you surely enjoyed, but we doubt that it was because of their narrative, themes or characters.

As you sensed, Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora commits the same sin: it is a visually attractive game with which you are going to have a good time but... what about its story? You will hardly take it to your heart after finishing it. Like the tapes, here we see a group of Na'vi fighting against the RDA army, a human organization that comes to Pandora to exploit its resources at any cost.

Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora Video Game Review - Unveiling the World of Pandora in Gaming Excellence

It's a good enough context to create an interesting story. Sadly, Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora follows the line of its films and delivers a bland story. While it deals with themes of colonialism, imperialism, and environmental collapse, it does so in a centrist and cowardly manner, making it a game incapable of delivering a message. It is as if one of its creators had been inspired by Princess Mononoke in the most horrible way possible: hunting it as if it were a wild animal, and then proudly wearing its fur and believing that with it it carries its identity and heart. A very colonialist action for a story that wants to be anticolonialist.

What Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora can be thankful for is that the developers took pity on the player and, if they want, they can skip the entire story. What they will have to put up with is outdated mission design. It is a game that many would consider new... if it had come out 15 years ago to accompany the debut of Avatar in theaters.

It's not like it's garbage either. You just have to be prepared for a game with missions that you have played over and over again, so the formula wears out as the hours go by. Of course, the design decisions represent a differentiator, but it's a shame that their good ideas are wasted by missions that play it safe and only dare to ask you to eliminate enemies, participate in a gray hacking minigame, and activate Na' powers. vi to discover which objects you can interact with.

Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora Video Game Review - Unveiling the World of Pandora in Gaming Excellence

Open world games are huge productions that, when done well, can become experiences that organically keep the player engaged. Unfortunately, developers have forgotten that the best way to do this is by creating a fun game. Instead, they fill it with systems that contribute very little and clearly just want to waste your time.

In Avatar we see this phenomenon reflected in its RPG systems, which left us with a bittersweet taste. On the one hand, Frontiers of Pandora decides to be creative and presents these elements in a different way. For example, there is no money in Pandora, so to obtain weapons and equipment from local vendors you must take advantage of a favor exchange system in which you can donate items to obtain others. On paper it sounds interesting, but in practice it ends up similar to using money. Thematically clever, but that's it.

On the other hand, there are weapons and pieces of armor that make you more powerful and increase the level of your Na'vi. Additionally, by completing missions you get skill points that can be used to unlock different advantages. So, you don't have to worry about getting experience to level up, but that matters little when the same sins are committed in games where you do have to worry about it.

That is, in Avatar you level up, unlock skills and get more powerful weapons. Something very standard, but this fails to make you feel more powerful because they are just numbers that increase on the screen, but never translate into more fun. A real shame.

Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora Video Game Review - Unveiling the World of Pandora in Gaming Excellence

A Good Attempt By Ubisoft That Falls Short

But then, how is Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora ? Let's say it's fine, but simply. You see: Ubisoft has been trying for some time to shake up the formula of its games to offer something more than generic experiences that seemed like microtransaction hogs instead of fun experiences. It is an effort that is slowly bearing fruit and in recent years we have seen releases that are far from horrors like Ghost Recon: Breakpoint or Far Cry: New Dawn .

They say that old habits die hard and that is precisely what taints Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora . We have a game that knows how to take advantage of the franchise on which it is based to deliver a product that does enough to differentiate itself from other releases. Although it has several moments of quality and clever design, the quality suffers from outdated mission design, as well as having a boring, hollow and cowardly story that teaches a lot, but says very little.

The latter seems to be a very negative sentence for Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora ; However, its best moments make it worth giving it a chance, especially if you haven't played an open world in a while. Those situations where you are a prey that against all odds manages to take down a powerful army feel very special. Added to this are several moments that will take your breath away with beautiful landscapes.

Bottom line: Ubisoft deserves subtle applause for what it accomplished in Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora . It is a game with clear strengths, but the same goes for the weaknesses, which also distance it from being a genuinely magical release. If you find it on sale it is very likely that you will enjoy it, but for now focus on reducing your backlog which is surely full of gems to play with.