A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
The suffering of the Na'vi serves as a clear allegory for the trauma experienced by Indigenous people during European colonization of the Americas. Strong themes of environmentalism and spirituality also run through the story, with the Na'vi portrayed as living in harmony with the natural world.
Positive Role Models
The player's character, a male or female Na'vi, is a survivor of a residential school. They begin the game repressed, threatened, and about to be murdered, but eventually begin to fight for their freedom, killing aggressive humans who attack them while befriending others who sympathize and want to help.
Human characters include men and women with a variety of skin tones and accents that suggest everything from Southeast Asian to Latin American heritage. The suffering of the Na'vi serves as a clear allegory for the trauma experienced by Indigenous people during European colonization of the Americas. Accessibility options include settings for color blindness, menu narration, font size and background, rumble feedback, and more
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Ease of Play
Tutorials and pop-up how-tos provide players with all the instruction necessary to play, and combat difficulty can be adjusted for players new to first-person action games. Accessibility options include settings for color blindness, menu narration, font size and background, rumble feedback, and more.
Violence & Scariness
The Na'vi use bows and arrows as well as guns and explosives to fight and kill human enemies. Interactive combat shows no blood or gore, but dead human bodies -- often punctured by massive arrows -- are scattered around the land. Non-interactive narrative scenes include tense and dramatic moments, including one in which a child Na'vi is murdered by a human with a gun.
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Spoken dialogue has occasional profanity, including the word "s--t."
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Products & Purchases
Players can purchase cosmetic add-ons through an in-game portal to Ubisoft's store.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora is a first-person action game based on James Cameron's Avatar movies, and is available for Windows PC, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X/S. Players take on the role of a young Na'vi who is a survivor of a residential school that attempted to strip them of their culture and heritage. They rebel and attempt to take back their birthright with the help of other Na'vi and a group of sympathetic humans. The story is clearly meant to be an allegory for the trauma experienced by Indigenous people during European colonization of the Americas, and features strong themes of environmentalism and spirituality. First person combat against aggressive humans out to kill the Na'vi is intense and frenetic, with players using bows and guns to kill enemies. There's no blood or gore, but bodies frequently litter the landscape and some non-interactive narrative scenes are very dramatic, including one in which a Na'vi child is murdered by a man with a gun. Parents should also be aware that spoken dialogue includes occasional profanity.
Is It Any Good?
Developer Ubisoft took a pretty big swing on this one but came up a bit short. Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora earns major props for presentation, giving players a sprawling and luscious world loaded with fascinating natural wonders to discover using your special Na'vi senses, such as plants with flowers that explode and massive animals with horns the length of cars. The story also provides interesting new details about Pandora and the struggle between the colonizing humans and the local Na'vi that fans of the films and their lore will hungrily devour. If nothing else, it provides the sense that there's more to the Na'vi's resistance to the human occupation and invasion than what's going on with film protagonist Jake Sully and his tribe.
That said, there's also something strangely empty about the adventure, at least compared to Ubisoft's other open world games. Most of the characters aren't as fleshed out or interesting as one might expect, and the story, though charged with timely social commentary and biting colonial criticism, can't help but play second fiddle to the spectacular events of the films. The first-person action, meanwhile, is pretty standard for the genre, with familiar attacks and traversal movements that feel as though they were simply lifted from other games. Even the in-game menus are lackluster, with little of the thematic style or creative interactivity typically built into Ubisoft's dashboards and interfaces. Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora is a capably executed and moderately fun romp around an enchanting alien planet, but it also does little to truly stand out in the crowded genre of open world action/role-playing games.
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