James Cameron's Avatar: The Game
By Marc Saltzman,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Ambitious but ultimately disappointing fantasy game.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Interestingly, the player must make choice about what side of the conflict they want to be on: the Na'vi, who want to protect their homeworld, or the resource-hungry humans (RDA Corporation) bent on stripping this moon. But you aren't penalized for making the "wrong" choice, ethically speaking, so perhaps the game gives mixed messages.Or else it is a way to explore both sides of an issue.
Positive Role Models
This game lets you choose to play as a human (Ryder) or as an "Avatar," a hybrid Na'vi and human who looks like the indigenous people of this moon, Pandora. If you play as the Na'vi it could be argued you're a better role model than Ryder, the human soldier who want to help his company strip this world of its resoruces.
Ease of Play
The game is fairly easy to pick up and play but the vehicles don't handle as well as they should. If you want to see this game in 3D, you will need a special TV, not just glasses.
Violence & Scariness
The game is primarily a shooter, played froma third-person perspective. Gamers will have access to weapons ranging from guns to bows and arrows and some sci-fi ones, too. There is no blood in Avatar but violence is the main gameplay component here.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some of the alien Na'vi characters wear very little clothes, revealing some cleavage and buttocks. But it is not nudity.
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There is some mild cussing, including the use of "damn" and "hell."
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Products & Purchases
The well-timed game is based on the James Cameron's Avatar movie so it could be argued the entire game is drenched in consumerism. But there are no conventional billboards or advertisements in the game.
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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James Cameron's Avatar: The Game
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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?
- Platforms: Nintendo DS, Nintendo Wii, PSP, PlayStation 3, Windows, Xbox 360
- Available online?: Available online
- Publisher: UbiSoft
- Release date: December 4, 2009
- Genre: Third-Person Shooter
- ESRB rating: T for Mild Language, Mild Suggestive Themes, Violence
- Last updated: May 26, 2021
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