Published on January 18th, 2024 | by James Wright
AVATAR FRONTIERS OF PANDORA PS5 REVIEW
Summary: Avatar Frontier's of Pandora just opened up the world of Pandora!
Based on the films Avatar (2009) and Avatar: The Way of Water (2022), Ubisoft’s latest open-world game is firmly set in this sci-fi universe that successfully brings gamers into the wondrous world of Pandora. Like the aforementioned films from James Cameron, Aavatar: Frontiers of Pandora follows a similar premise in that you the player must protect this planet from insidious RDA (Resource Development Administration). The RDA are a human militaristic corporation who have been given free reign over the planet of Pandora to callously mine its natural resources and authorised to use deadly force if necessary against the natives of this alien world. However there is a twist because your character was abducted by the RDA and you are Na’vi.
Rather than being raised by your species, you were trained and molded to serve the RDA but 15-years later, you find yourself free but a stranger on your birth world as your keeper, the human Mercer does something unforgivable. The story is also set after the events of the first film takes place on another part of Pandora that gives the developers some great artistic liberty, however some of those iconic landmarks are still linked to the world building of this game. So what does a human raised Na’vi do? Discover your heritage and join the other Na’vi!
Welcome to Pandora
Fun fact 1: The film Avatar made 2.923 billion USD
Cutting right to the chase – Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora meticulously brings the James Cameron’s Avatar universe to life on the PlayStation 5 with flying colours… err… flying ikrans. That’s right, you are not stuck on the the alien ground of Pandora but you also get to explore the skies in some truly amazing ways that again mirrors the film on all levels. Given that, there are some parallels Ubisoft’s other famous games – Far Cry (from its expansive lush jungle environments) to Assassin Creed (the Parkour like Na’vi) but thankfully the alien planet of Pandora takes familiar premises and freshens them up for Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora. Exploring the gaming environment is undeniably fun and whether that’s climbing and using the parkour-like mechanics or flying, everything feels very fluid and feels like how an athletic Na’vi should interact with their world. As mentioned you can fly on the back of a Ikran or ride a Direhorse that adds to the overall authenticity of the storytelling.
The goal for your “avatar” is to liberate this particular part of Pandora from the RDA, including some optional side quests that helps the story of this gaming chapter of the Avatar mythology. This of course opens up new areas for you to explore. Additionally the combat works well (can be fast paced) and as you walk in two worlds, you have access to both Na’vi and human weapons which gives you more control over combat, whether that’s firing a powerful rocket launcher that alerts the enemy or taking a stealth approach with a bow.
However to succeed and depending on difficulty, a combination of both weapons must be used to succeed in Avatar: Frontier’s of Pandora. The first time I encountered the mech-like AMP (Amplified Mobility Platform), it really brought home how close this game was to the films.
Your character levels up via a skill-tree that adds another layer of immersion to the player. There is also an in-depth crafting system behind the exploration and combat that allows you to create new items and weapons that is sought through a hunter gather type system. Additionally cooking allows you to power-up and heal that again nicely mirrors the ethos of the Na’vi people. The only downside of this game is that it does become a little repetitive but by the gaming gods, this is a gorgeous looking game!
Fun fact 2: Ubisoft released a third person action game on the numerous platforms in 2009 that was a prequel to the original film
Graphics & Audio
Graphically, the game looks amazing on the PlaySation 5 and makes you the star of your very own interactive Avatar film. The attention to detail is astonishing, including some excellent diversity with the gaming environments that you explore. The alien rain forests are also quite lush and interactive that makes exploration a treat and not a grind.
Add in some beautiful lighting effects and the developers have created this living breathing world. Further, character models mirror the Na’vi perfectly and more importantly, they are filled with emotion and realism. Further, the strange creatures of Pandora are equally as stunning and move with this real world grace. Some of the larger creatures that you encounter also channels this Monster Hunter atmosphere that are definitely wow moments.
The developer also play on your size in the game and while you are considerably bigger than humans, you are also quite small when compared to some other creatures or the world itself. Also supporting these wow moments is the soundtrack. It’s majestic and injects a real Blockbuster atmosphere to the overall gameplay. So kudos to developers Massive Entertainment on their amazing next-gen recreation of Pandora, one of the many moons of the planet of Polyphemus.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora and I also enjoyed the original game released way back in 2009 as well – even though it was a mixed bag with some. Nonetheless, if you are a fan of Avatar or Far Cry, then Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora will more than likely keep your attention as you explore the diversity of James Cameron’s amazing sci-universe. Sure there is a cliched message of environmentalism and that mankind is literally destroying the world, including some two dimensional characters but hey… so were both the movies. In the end, Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora is a clever homage to the films and offers an interactive visit for gamers of all ages to explore this beautiful open-world game.
Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora is available on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S and PC from 7 December 2023