James Cameron is a well known name when it comes to successful films. Perhaps you’ve heard of Titanic and The Terminator in your travels? No surprise then that the latest film from the famous director and producer, Avatar, has been eagerly anticipated. Unsurprisingly a game of the movie was to follow and while the setting and story could have created a masterpiece, Avatar: The Game suffers from the fate of most games of blockbuster hits; that of a product that appears rushed and unfinished.
Let’s start with a positive. There’s a huge world to explore in Avatar: The Game, filled to the brim with a stunning jungle environment for you to explore. While you’ll inevitably spend some time gazing at your screen in wide-eyed wonder, it won’t take long before you start to realise that the universe is sorely lacking in life. That’s not to say that you won’t encounter a wide variety of different life forms and foliage, just that with such a stunning setting there seems to be a lack of immersion. Encyclopaedic definitions of different elements of the alien moon Pandora might help to put some elements into context, but will do nothing to help you to feel a part of the areas that you are exploring.
Unfortunately the lack of immersion won’t be made up by an intricate and involved plotline. Instead there is little actual explanation as to why you are in the situation that you are in. Perhaps the developers have assumed that only diehard fans of the film will be interested in the game, removing the need for explanation as to what exactly an Avatar is, or why you should care. You’ll be presented with a variety of different quests and missions to complete, but due to the lack of involvement with the story you may not feel overly compelled to continue.
On the plus side, you’ll have a choice as to which side you fight for as you start the game. Both sides will expose you to different story elements, different weapons and even different side quests. It opens the door to the option of replaying Avatar: The Game without repeating exactly the same missions. The differences run deeply, with the RDA operatives (human marines) equipped with a variety of different weapons providing the ability to shoot the variety of enemies determined to take your life. On the flipside, the Na’vi (an alien race) tackle their foes with melee combat. It’s worth playing on both sides of the battle, but neither is likely to offer a particularly fulfilling or lasting experience.
While the appearance of James Cameron’s Avatar: The Game is seriously stunning, providing plenty to look at as you wander around, there’s not much else to keep you returning to your console to continue. Clunky controls, poor animations (particularly on the Na’vi front) and a storyline that never quite develops into anything to sink your teeth into leave this game feeling decidedly unimpressive.