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Review: Avatar: The Game
Date: February 21st, 2010

Okay, so I purchased Avatar: The Game, because I want to support the franchise a bit, I'd like to play it, and it's 3D capable, so when I get that 3D screen I want so bad, I have something that natively uses it to see how pretty it is with.

I managed to get it from a seller in the Amazon Marketplace for $19.99, half the price Amazon was selling it for. And it was sealed, prompt, etc. Anyways...

This game had a lot of mixed reviews, mostly of it being mediocre. Personally, I'm enjoying it, but I can see a lot of people who wouldn't like it. This game I'm enjoying for the same reasons I enjoy Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon for the Wii. I'm not particularly fond of difficult games. Part of it is simply not having the time to put into games that I'm going to have to see the same boss fight kill me ten times in a row, part of it is, after a few attempts I just get bored. I enjoy a game that I can just play through with a good comfortable flow, and enjoy the story, the graphics, and the design work. This is not a preference held by the majority, a lot of people want the game to give them a challenge, so they get a sense of accomplishment for beating it. As beating a video game isn't really an accomplishment worthy of any note, that really doesn't appeal to me that much.

The game is kind of weird the way it's set up, it's a storyline that is fairly linear, but is set up in terms of quests, like an MMO, but with only one chain. The map makes it easy to see where your goal is at, showing you the traditional exclamation points/question marks often used for MMO questing. It also has an XP system, but it's really only used to unlock additional weapons and abilities. You've also got full movement around a particular area of the game map, even before objectives in certain parts are available, and the game never prevents you from going back to territory you were in before, so it gives it a much more open feel game than some games which really force you to travel along that linear storyline. I guess if you had difficulty you could probably go back and grind till you get better weapons, but as I said, the game's really pretty easy so I don't see that being needed.

The story line, as far as I've gone, has only shown me one diverging point, but it's a big one. About an hour into the game (I'm about two hours in), you have to choose to either continue to work for the RDA, or betray them and help the Na'vi. I am currently working on the Na'vi campaign, I'm about an hour into it. It's nice that these two separate campaigns are chosen between as a decision point in game, instead of choosing a faction in a menu, this slight difference really makes the story feel more a part of the game.

You have a fairly decent amount of weapon variety, as a Na'vi I currently am using a bow, my RDA machine gun I was carrying from before I betrayed them, a fighting staff, and a pair of blades. There's a few others I'm not using right now. The RDA has a similarly wide variety of weapons, but they're pretty much all ranged, and have things like grenade launchers and flamethrowers. I'm personally pretty partial to the bow, the default weapon for the Na'vi.

There is at least two copies of all story materials, because you can play as either a male or female character, and the dialogue of course tailors to it, actually more significantly than you'd expect, not just "he" to "she" changes or something. Because you can choose from like 6 different male, or 6 different female characters (with their matching Na'vi avatars of course), the cinematics are not pre-rendered.

So yeah, you just kind of coast through the game, but it's fun, it doesn't limit you to killing a particular thing in only one way or anything, so there's often a lot of ways you can do essentially the same thing. The RDA and Na'vi gameplay is fairly different, so you know you're going to play the game at least twice. I haven't gotten very far through it myself, so I'm not sure if it gets exceedingly repetitive, or more irritating, down the line, but so far I'm enjoying it.

JW