Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora is an open-world action game created by Massive Entertainment and published by Ubisoft. The game, based on James Cameron’s Avatar film series, was released on PC and consoles on December 7. The very first film was back in 2009, and now we will tell you whether the developers managed to awaken the same feelings from the film that we got in their new game Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora. This is our PC review.
In fact, Ubisoft has already been adapting the world of the Na’vi. Avatar: The Game was released almost simultaneously with the first film in December 2009. Ubisoft developed the game with director James Cameron while he was filming Avatar. It was conceived as an alternative version of the movie of the same name with an original plot. Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora takes place parallel to the events of the film Avatar: The Way of Water amid the second invasion of Pandora by the RDA corporation.
The main character is a representative of the Na’vi race and one of the last surviving members of the Sarentu clan. He managed to survive the attack of people for only one reason: representatives of the earthly corporation decided to steal children from the indigenous inhabitants of Pandora and try to raise them as people in order to make them ambassadors between people and the Na’vi. The hero of the game turned out to be one of these kidnapped children. At the same time, RDA representatives continued to build resource extraction factories on the planet’s satellite, thereby destroying the local environment.
One of the main plot points in the game is related to the history of creatures called kinglors who support life on Pandora. Much of the story campaign is dedicated to saving these creatures. In addition, this is still a game from Ubisoft, which implies a huge number of third-party activities. In a game that develops the Avatar universe, all these activities work almost perfectly, because this game is one of the most beautiful open-world shooters that I have ever played.
After a short introduction, you create your character. Although the game is a first-person game, there is co-op in the game; you can only see your character in the equipment menu. There aren’t many options to create, but you can unlock and buy more as you progress through the game, being able to change most options at any time.
Because the RDA kidnaped your character at birth to become an ambassador between humans and the Na’vi, he has no idea what it means to be a Na’vi, much less part of a clan that was destroyed. Essentially, that’s a core part of what Frontiers of Pandora is about – learning to be a Na’vi, just like in the movie. You learn to hunt and properly respect your prey, bond with the ikran, fly, ride across the plains on a lutecon, and much more.
Right off the bat, Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora isn’t the best open-world game out there, but it’s still a lot of fun. While playing, most players will immediately remember one game from the same studio, Far Cry Primal. Before you close the review in disgust, let me say that this game is much better than Primal, but it’s hard not to compare both games since the gameplay is almost the same. Upgrading your status in every settlement, the fact that you’re still a damn caveman despite the blue skin and alien face. On the other hand, considering that you are a Na’vi raised by humans, you have access to several human gadgets, such as a hacking device and, of course, an assault rifle.
But getting from point A to point B in Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora is what makes this game worth buying and playing. It’s a fact that the game is stunningly gorgeous, so walking around Pandora is always an opportunity to be amazed by the game’s landscapes and environmental diversity while enjoying some pretty good performance.
The downside is how long it takes to get anywhere at least before you can summon your Icarus, and how easy it is to get lost. Also, what I started to notice that I liked and started to appear in many games was that Ubisoft made every effort to make the user interface as clean as possible. Icons and waypoints only briefly appear on screen whenever you activate your Na’vi Senses. For example, there is no mini-map. A waypoint is marked as a beacon of light in the distance, and the game never tells you HOW to get to said point; it’s up to you.
Also, hunting and gathering have an amazing simplicity and interest for them, and also an authenticity taken from films. In the first case, you want to hit the animal exclusively at its weak point, and ideally you only need to use one arrow to do this. Using another RDA weapon will ruin any materials you might collect later. The closer you come to this ideal, the better quality meat, antlers, bones and other crafting items you will collect after paying your respects. This forces you to be intentional about your hunt rather than just killing everything in sight. You have to choose your weapon and ammo type wisely, and then make sure you have breathing room to gather materials later.
Picking is a little mini-game where you carefully pull a fruit, moss, or other plant in different directions to see which one comes out the easiest. After all, you don’t want something to get out quickly and break in the process. The environment must also be taken into account when harvesting, as some plants ripen during rain or at night.
All of these materials can be used to cook food for buffs or create new equipment. You always need to have food with you to fill the hunger bar under your health bar, because the fuller it is, the faster your health will begin to regenerate. Food buffs can mean life or death in certain situations, such as eating spicy food to protect against the AMP robot’s flamethrowers or increasing damage for a few minutes while you destroy a drilling rig contaminated area. You are very fragile in combat, so anything that can help or completely keep you from fighting directly can go a long way. You will also need food and plants in order to improve relations with a particular clan. Yes, here, instead of a universal currency, each clan values only offerings and with their help you can buy the best equipment and resources.
Gear also has stat boosts that help increase your overall power level. Making good gear requires very specific quality materials, and I never had enough materials to make anything better than what I had. This is partly due to the fact that your supply of crafting materials is very small, and your storage does not count towards crafting, even at the Resistance HQ.
Most of the challenges, as well as the side missions, revolve around fighting the RDA, and while it can be pretty damn repetitive, which is the case with the games and movies, it’s finally time for the best aspect of Pandora’s gameplay to shine. Combat is intuitive, your bow can destroy robots in just a few shots. Homemade grenades and mines can be made from elements found in nature. You can even climb trees and take out enemies on the ground with stealth and agility, almost as if you were a blue, overgrown character from Pandora’s Predators vision.
There is also development of abilities. The more abilities you unlock throughout the game, the more you can rely on your natural strength. Over time, you will become so powerful that your melee attacks can kill every person, vehicle, and beast in Pandora with one shot.
Getting lost in the gorgeous world of Pandora and enjoying the brutal tribal battles make up for the weak story and the fact that, at the end of the day, Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora does suffer from some of Ubisoft’s traditional open-world games. With that said, given the huge number of red flags raised leading up to its release (licensed game, lack of advertising, the fact that it’s essentially Far Cry with blue giants), I have to say that Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora really impressed me in after all, it’s one of the best games the company has released in a while, especially when it comes to traditional open-world adventure games.
One of my favorite parts of this game is the movement through the forest and the built-in platforming. As a Na’vi, you have an enhanced jump, a small air dash, and an incredibly satisfying glide. You can quickly move around the world by touching blue plants to increase your speed, which is just nice, even if the fastest way to travel overall is in Ikran. The game is at its best when it feels like Mirror’s Edge, but with significantly better combat, and much smoother.
Missions are one of the most boring parts of the game. In almost every main quest you meet RDA soldiers to either eliminate them all or destroy their base. Side quests have become a little more varied, such as collecting materials or exploring and following footprints, as well as finding lost residents or their animals, but nothing more should be expected.
After a while, all these bases start to feel the same, and with very few enemy types, most quests just blur together. These RDA bases still mostly follow the standard base-clearing mechanics we’ve seen many times before. Instead of a “kill ’em all” goal, the Na’vi player can choose to go stealthily or go all-out on their mission to destroy the technology infesting their homeland.
The story also seems a little too safe in my opinion. From a technical standpoint, like the film, Avatar: Pandora’s Edge is a masterclass. The game is practically gorgeous from top to bottom, with some of the densest vegetation we’ve ever seen in a game. This can sometimes be problematic as it can make finding clues to the quest objective quite difficult, so this upgrade works both ways. Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora is a showcase of Massive’s technical skills and a hint at some of the promising capabilities of their Snowdrop engine, which powers this and many other Ubisoft games.
What was pleasantly surprising (among many other things) is that this game has excellent DualSense integration. There are also pleasant vibrations in mini-games, such as where it is safe to remove fruits in order to preserve them. It is equipped with an indicator that shows the direction and force to be pulled. After a while, this guide will disappear, as will the indicator. Tactile triggers provide sensitivity you can’t get anywhere else. Likewise, the draw of the bow ensures that the trigger is pulled in proportionately. Firing a machine gun is a visceral experience, as the controller shakes and shakes under the heaviest impacts, and even when you’re just running around exploring, every step feels good in your hands. It’s incredibly satisfying and I highly recommend you give it a try if you have a DualSense.
Players will be able to enjoy running freely as a 10-foot tall alien – there’s even the option to travel through the skies with the help of a thrilling flying animal – navigating the busy Western Frontier with ease and being able to take it all in thanks to a minimalist user interface. . If you’re an Avatar fan, this is the game you’ve been waiting for.
Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora is available on PC, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, and Amazon Luna.
Our review of Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora was completed with a Ubisoft+ subscription purchased by the writer.