A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that there is a lot of combat violence in Avatar: The Game but it's not graphic (no blood or gore) and the entire game is deeply rooted in science fiction fantasy. All of this takes place in the future, on an alien world, with or against a 10-foot, blue-skinned species. You can also shoot other indigenous creatures. But as far as shooters go, this one is on the milder side.
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What's it about?
In JAMES CAMERON'S AVATAR: THE GAME, players are dropped onto Pandora, a lush alien world torn apart by a war between the Na'vi, the moon's indigenous people, and the RDA (Resources Development Administration), a human-based corporation keen on extracting Pandora's valuable resources. You play as Ryder, a young soldier employed by the RDA, tapped to protect the company's mining operation on Pandora. But that mining is destroying the habitat of the Na'vi, the blue-skinned, 10-foot-tall aliens, who resent the human's destructive presence. While you start the game as a human, about an hour or so in you'll have a choice to make: continue down the path as a RDA fighter to protect their interests or transfer your consciousness to an \"avatar,\" a half-Na'vi, half-human hybrid who can ward off the RDA.
Is it any good?
Avatar: The Game is just so-so. While not a complete disaster, this ambitious game doesn't deliver the goods. Regardless of the side you fight on, you'll gain access to unique human or Na'vi weapons, special abilities, vehicles, and many characters to interact with. But after playing the game for a few consecutive days, it's clear the magic just isn't here. The combat on this jungle-like moon is decent, as you simply take cover and fire (at humans, Na'vi, or native creatures and plants), move along throughout the lush foliage until you come to the next hotspot, and repeat the process.
This game does have a few things going for it, such as great graphics (and 3-D support if you have both special glasses game and a television set that is 3D-enabled (these sets are still extremely rare), a Hollywood-quality musical score, a strategy minigame, multiplayer modes, and more. But overall, James Cameron's Avatar: The Game doesn't live up to the caliber of the fantasy film, nor does it hold a candle to other Ubisoft Montreal games.
Platform Notes: The console and PC versions of the game offer most of the same features and look, but the handheld versions were designed specifically for a less-powerful, mobile platform.
Online interaction: This game can be played online using a headset so the potential for hearing foul language and inappropriate conversation is there. In the game we played, the experience was decent and without any foul language.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about having the choice to fight as the greedy humans instead of the peaceful aliens? What does it say about the player who chooses one side over the other? Or both? The story does a good job of telling the tale from two distinct sides, but it's hard not to peg the humans as the "bad guys" here. Is it a good idea to let you choose which side of the conflict to play on?
This game is touted as having 3-D graphics, but to achieve those you need both special glasses and a television set that is 3D-enabled (these sets are still extremely rare). Why did the publisher go this route when most people can achieve these graphics?
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