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Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora Review


Developed by Massive Entertainment and published by Ubisoft, Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora offers players an immersive experience in the vast and unexplored west of Pandora, a location previously unexplored in the film. As a Na'vi warrior, you take on the task of saving the beautiful world of Pandora from the threat of the RDA.

There's a lot to like about Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora, but the absolute highlight is without a doubt the lush and breathtaking world the game offers. For fans of the Avatar franchise, it will be a treat, with an abundance of familiar flora and fauna bringing the world to life. The game's visual presentation is nothing short of stunning; from colors to lighting, everything contributes to the atmosphere. Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora is the type of game where players can lose themselves completely and that is what happened to me on a regular basis. From following scent trails to collecting resources and discovering new creatures, the developers have absolutely succeeded in creating a beautiful world. But there's more.

The world not only acts as a backdrop but also tells a story about the history of the Na'vi. Pandora is created as a vibrant, organic environment that is not only beautiful to look at, but also an integral part of the gameplay. Exploring the world is an adventure in itself, with an abundance of plants and animals to discover. Using the Na'vi sense, players can discover all kinds of things and learn more about the lore in Pandora.

The world is especially beautiful in the evening and night. West Pandora then turns into a neon color palette and comes to life even more. The visually impressive world is supported by a near-perfect audio design. Play this game with a surround headset and you will hear everything happening around you. Animals sniffing around, plants cracking or hiding when you pass by, waterfalls. The details in the game are endless.

One of the game's biggest flaws lies in its presentation of the enemy, the RDA. In sharp contrast to the film franchise, where the RDA is portrayed as a destructive entity and many viewers must have felt somewhat misanthropic after the film, the game does not really succeed in hitting the same emotional layers. In fact, as players we hardly get to know the RDA and that is a real loss. The lack of this essential background, an 'us versus them', makes it difficult for players, at least for me personally, to get drawn into the storyline.

Players will rarely see anything from the RDA. The RDA does not really have a face, no clear storyline and therefore little meaning. The RDA is mainly those few robotic machines that can be seen in the distance in RDA facilities that you will take out with your bow and arrow, more about which later in this review.

A second point of criticism focuses on the lack of depth in the main character, your Na'vi. Important aspects of the background, such as the circumstances that led you to captivity and their impact, remain underexposed. No emotional flashbacks of Na'vi crying, no collective memories and anger at oppression. To name just a few facets that make the films so moving.

The gameplay of Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora offers first-person shooter action in addition to exploration and resource collection. As a player, you have unlocked a range of weapons as the game progresses that you can also improve. Think of explosives, different types of guns and of course the iconic bow and arrow. The shooter experience feels solid. In terms of gameplay loop, Avatar can best be compared to the Far Cry games and Far Cry Primal in particular. Looks quite tasty and certainly not bad.

Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora can be played with two players. The game uses drop-in and drop-out co-op and that works very well. Not only do both players make progress, but as a non-host you also take all the collected items with you. Quests that you manage to complete together do not have to be repeated in your own game, because the story progression is neatly checked off. As far as I'm concerned, that's as it should be.

Another positive aspect of co-op is that as a player you can virtually go your own way. I managed to spend a number of evenings with fellow editor Rob. Do some missions together and then explore independently. Finding each other again is a different story, because navigating through the world is not that easy, partly due to all the 'verticality' in the world. But certainly also because of the exasperating world map. Ubisoft is known for its tight navigation through large complex open worlds, but does not really succeed in this in Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora. But hey, it does take you to beautiful places.

While Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora excels in technical aspects and the exploration of Pandora's enchanting open world, the story and gameplay lag behind. Nevertheless, the game is still a joy to behold, especially when it comes to visuals, and it's easy to recommend one to lose oneself in the beautiful version of Pandora brought to life by Ubisoft.


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