To say that Avatar: Frontiers Of Pandora surprised me might just be the biggest gaming understatement for me of this year! I have already reviewed some great games on here such as the double whammy of Super Mario Bros. Wonder and Super Mario RPG both of which will be on my game of the year list, along with Spider-Man 2 which is my game of the year. However, I have to say that Avatar: Frontiers Of Pandora is probably going to make that list too.
Let me start by asking you a simple question, do you like Far Cry? Specifically Far Cry 4 to 6? If you said yes, chances are you will enjoy Avatar: Frontiers Of Pandora. This feels like a Far Cry game and I mean that as a massive compliment, hell they could have called this Far Cry Pandora and I would actually get that! It is an immersive story driven first-person action game that is a real thrill ride for the whole time it lasts.
While the game is set on Pandora, it takes place on the Western Frontier and is its own contained story, although it does namedrop Jake Sully. Still, you do not need to be all that familiar with the two Avatar movies to enjoy this, although, if you are, this game is going to be something you truly do love. We play as a Na’vi that along with others was taken as a child and raised by the human led RDA. It is kind of messed up to be honest with you as they feel like having Na’vi that they have raised will help them win trust with the natives.
Eventually, the true nature of the RDA shows its colors and when we are a young adult, we are broken out of our captive facility by a resistance force trying to get rid of the invasive RDA. The scene where we leave our “home” and see Pandora for the first time is one of the most amazing scenes I have played in a game this year. I will admit that I love the movies and I love Pandora at Disney World and this truly did give me a similar immersive experience like what I got the first time I walked into Pandora at the park.
There are many different regions of Pandora and exploring the massive open world is a huge part of the fun. I think that the art team here really outdid themselves and even someone with no knowledge of the movies is going to be impressed. We find ourselves fighting for the resistance and this leads to us going to different parts of the map to try and find other Na’vi tribes to fight alongside us….. in many ways, it is a very typical Far Cry kind of story where you try to find allies to fight alongside you.
This brings me to the gameplay, Avatar: Frontiers Of Pandora as I said, is like a Far Cry game. You need to take on missions to further the story, but you also need to fill out the map (but not with your typical Far Cry towers) and destroy outposts, find resources and do some crafting and always trying to get better equipment and gear. I liked how gathering resources has this kind of mini-game to it where on the PlayStation 5 they make great use of the adaptive triggers. I know that on paper, it sounds like another Far Cry game, and in many ways it is, but it is all done so well and I do think the setting of Pandora helps it stand out.
You can get new skills as you play in the form of ancestor skills. These give you different abilities, for example, one of the first ones gives you this double jump/boost type ability. My favorite has to be when you can smash a mechs window and pull the human pilot out. The game controls great and you eventually get to use the animals of Pandora to traverse the map, flying is great and when you get into an aerial battle it is very exciting. You also get to ride on one of those weird six legged horse things too. The combat is way more challenging than you may think, I found myself getting wrecked during some of the “outpost” style missions and had to grind a bit to get stronger. The gunplay is great and the shotguns specifically in this game are very satisfying to use.
Avatar: Frontiers Of Pandora is the kind of game that you have to just play to appreciate it. I was not expecting too much, but I was blown away by how good and how much fun this was. I hope that it does well for Ubisoft as I think that it is very strange that they released it so late in the year. If you are on the fence about this one, trust me, it is well worth the price of admission!
Thanks for reading and I would love to know what your thoughts on Avatar: Frontiers Of Pandora are in the comments section.