A Visual Masterpiece of Nature Loving Brilliance
Avatar Frontiers of Pandora is a game that keeps you playing not through its forgetful story, but through its dazzling visuals and beautiful eco-centric setting.
You’re Na’vi in Kansas Anymore
While the main narrative of the movies follows marine to freedom fighter Jake Sully, in this game you take over the role of a native captured by the RDA (the Resource Developmment Administration). Following the events of The Way of Water, members of the resistance find you safely hidden away in a cryo-pod for sixteen years.
I See You, Pandora
The famous saying in the movies by the Na’vi is ‘I see you.’ Well let me tell you, when I first set eyes on Pandora, I was filled with trepidation. Would this end up being another Ubisoft let down?
Thankfully not! The world is rich and beautiful, and while I know many people may question the third person perspective, I genuinely believe that is the best way to experience the world. The sense of wonder and amazement you get running through a field or leaping across treetops can only be truly achieved from that first person point of view.
How Does it Play?
Let’s first talk about the gameplay, which overall has been very fun but also a little flawed as encounters with ‘Sky People’ have been awfully…samey. So far enemy A.I. have been rather disappointing. Enemies can be a little slow to realise when they are being picked off one at a time. And sometimes grunt is just a little too eager to get into my line of fire. That does not make encounters any less fun. Pulling back your bow and hearing that ‘thump’ as your powerful weapons annihilate tiny humans is thrilling!
Of course, that bow means that there is a stealth element, which I DEFINITELY want to get in to. Stealth certainly has its moments in this game, but those moments are sadly very fleeting. Enemies are either too dumb to notice they are being picked off one at a time or two quick to notice me when I’m hiding behind a corner.
This Fary Cry-esque sci-fy game should be thriving on making the most of its Na’vi who are known for their stealth and cunnings. Whilst I try to make a quick break in go unnoticed, I’m always usually less than half a step away from an all-out fire fight. Which I wouldn’t mind – if I was looking for one!
Still – the game still has a lot to offer and a deep message which ties in nicely with James Cameroons films. The theme of Avatar has always been nature and the vulnerability of ecosystems to human exploitation. Wherever you go across the Frontiers of Pandora, you’ll see RDA creating dig sites, protecting oil wells and hunting animals for sport. It’s a bleak and utterly accurate comparison of our own reality and Ubisoft manages to capture it tastefully.
Whilst you yourself will remove flora and hunt animals in this forest, you are never encouraged to do so for your own amusement and frequently punished if you do so. The importance of maintaining a sense of a thriving ecosystem, which works in harmony, is weaved into this world at its very seams. Hunting for resources must be done with respect and care, recognising you are not just killing an animal to get that next level up, you’re doing it for the meat you need to survive and taking the hide to use for weapons and armour.
There is no sense of wastefulness or trophy hunting – and whilst grabbing a more difficult kill is certaintly impressive, the value of the resources claimed with only be as good as the honour and respect put into taking the life.
Whilst not a perfect game, Avatar Frontiers of Pandora is still a great experience that truly hammers in the emotions, making you feel every loss to this natural wonder of a world to the RDA and reminding of the real fight happening out behind the borders of the computer screen.
It’s fast, fun, and beautiful but its enemies need a lot of work to balance out the challenge to this game. Avatar Frontiers of Pandora is avaialbe across all platforms now.
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