James Cameron's Avatar: The Game



Ambitious but ultimately disappointing fantasy game.
Popular with kids

What parents need to know

Positive messages

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.


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.


Some of the alien Na'vi characters wear very little clothes, revealing some cleavage and buttocks. But it is not nudity.


There is some mild cussing, including the use of "damn" and "hell."


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.


Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

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.

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.

Families can talk 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?

Game details

Platforms:Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PSP, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS, Windows
Available online?Available online
Release date:December 4, 2009
Genre:Third-person shooter
ESRB rating:T for Mild Language, Mild Suggestive Themes, Violence

This review of James Cameron's Avatar: The Game was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Parent of a 11 year old Written bybenito jug February 8, 2011
Kid, 11 years old April 10, 2012

Great game, make sure to get it for PS3 or Xbox 360 though, other wise dont bother

There is nothing that bad violence wise other than on multiplayer you can suicide by jumping off cliffs. The only real problem is the swearing, you will hear b*** once and all the rest of the regular T words including d*** and h***
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Kid, 12 years old January 5, 2012


it does swear once or twice maybe some kids shouldn't really be hearing but it's a great adventure game where you get to choose to be an Avatar or a army guy there is also online options which is really great
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Star Wars Guide