There is a conversation about the true impact of the franchise Avatar in pop culture. Despite having the highest-grossing films in history (without adjusting for inflation), they are feature films and, after their release, no one talks about them anymore. We saw this happen after the release of the original film in 2010, and again after the new The Water Path. The film was released in 2022 and there is a third on the way, but there is only other talk about it.
This may be by choice of director James Cameron, who focuses his efforts on creating technology to bring the universe he created to life. However, with the launch of Avatar: Frontiers of Pandoraa game that adapts this universe that is so profitable in cinemas for video games, it seems that there is a movement to make the franchise something more present in the minds of the general public.
There’s nothing wrong with that, it even makes a lot of sense, but Ubisoft’s effort with the new game raises a very important question: who was this game made for?
A story as deep as that of cinema
Avatar never had a really impressive story. Much of what draws attention to the franchise is the technical mastery used to create the special effects, with hitherto unprecedented technology to create 3D effects that give life and depth to the planet Pandora. The story is something that ends up being a backdrop for the beautiful images that remain in our memory.
Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora it’s exactly like that. Technically, the game is very beautiful. Pandora’s creation really stands out, and it’s impressive to see the details of the world created by James Cameron. But the film tends to advance the plot, presenting increasingly beautiful visuals, which ends up not happening in the game.
Frontiers of Pandora It’s beautiful, but when you realize how repetitive it is, all this beauty ends up losing its charm. This could be resolved with a more engaging story, but Ubisoft seems to have gotten too carried away with the visuals and not given as much emphasis to the narrative, making all this beauty soon become empty and tiring.
If all the technical part is very cool, the story is as superficial as possible, featuring a Na’vi clan that is eliminated and the surviving children captured and raised by the RDA, the military organization that explores the world of Pandora.
These survivors end up being placed in cryonics for 16 years when they try to escape and are only awakened due to the evacuation of the base, a reflection of the events of the first Avatar. A character, which can be customized by the player, takes on the role of hero, working with the Na’vi and human resistance to save Pandora from its colonizers.
Everything is treated in a very shallow way, with moments that should cause some emotion in the player passing by as if they were nothing. This happens because the game apparently assumes that the player is a big fan of Avatar and is completely invested in the history of the films and the Na’vi.
This means that a story that could better explore themes such as environmental preservation, colonialism, among others, ends up being an excuse to make the player run from one place to another to do repetitive missions for 20 hours.
Far Cry by Avatar
From the first images of Avatar: Frontiers of Pandoramany saw the game as a Far Cry com skin de Avatar. Playing the game, it is possible to say that the structure is basically the same, but some powers characteristic of the Na’vi make the gameplay a little more interesting.
Still, if you are someone who is already tired of the Far Cry, maybe the game won’t please you. You basically run around the scene to reach bases, destroy them, free up the map and help characters with items or to eliminate enemies.
These missions are repeated for several hours, and, halfway through the campaign, you are already exhausted from doing the same things. This is a shame, because the game’s controls are very pleasant. If, at first, they seem a little strange, with your character seeming heavier than they should, soon things become more dynamic and movement and combat become quite fluid.
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Do you know which game is exactly like this? Far Cry. This doesn’t mean that the game is exactly the same, with Pandora as the setting and some big, blue characters, but the whole spirit of Frontiers of Pandora comes from another title.
Personally, I’m not the biggest fan of Avatar, despite finding a franchise that borders on technical perfection. But I feel the same thing in the films that I felt with the game: there is a lack of soul in everything that is done related to Avatar.
It’s all beautiful, very well done, but the game lacks personality. You’ve seen everything he has to offer elsewhere, done in a way that feels more sincere. There is a certain sterility in the technical quality that the game presents.
It’s wrong to think that the game is bad, because it isn’t, but it’s the kind of game that doesn’t make much sense other than being a soulless licensed product. It’s very well done, with each developer deserving of congratulations for their work, but it doesn’t excite at any point. It bothers you because you realize that the effort put into a game like this could have been used on something much more interesting.
Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora is available for PC, PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series S and X.