Avatar has one strong point and that is Pandora, Pandora is a pretty place and comes with a long day/night cycle. It is however worth seeing at night, since the place becomes eerily beautiful and almost magical, everything changes, the water gives off a fluorescent glow as you step in it and so does the ground. Itís like someone turned on a Black Light and coated everything with UV paint. The overall effect is pretty breathtaking and is certainly one of the graphical highlights of the game. Pandora during the day is no less beautiful and Ubisoftís graphic designers/level editors and environment artists are to be commended. If you loved the look of Crysis then youíre going to adore Pandora. The special effects are good, the dynamic lighting is suitably effective and the only thing I could not check out was the 3D option, since I donít have the glasses and Iím not sure if my HD TV can handle it.
Thereís a good level of detail on the characters, the equipment and especially on the Naívi themselves, with their gorgeous tribal markings and the flowing colours. The RDA favour very Quake-like colour schemes but the whole game eschews a brighter palette and makes a refreshing change from drab-shooter colours.Animations
These are good, solid and very well done. The RDA move like humans, their soldiers are grunts and they have the motion down to a T. The Naívi are graceful hunters and move with a fluid motion in combat, their attacks causing the RDA to fly backwards most of the time. The hunting creatures like viperwolves are extremely well animated, theyíre lightning-quick and they provide a challenge even at the higher levels of the game.AI
Itís a mixed bag; it provides a challenge at times but doesnít do anything overly special. It can lose the plot sometimes and just sit there not doing anything. When it works it presses you hard as both RDA and Naívi.Sound
The sound effects are good, the ambient spot effects are excellent and the planet is brought to life extremely well by the audio of the game. The RDA gunfire and the whip of Naívi bows are well done. They probably pulled a lot of sound from the actual movie assets.Music
A very grunt-like score for the RDA is counterpointed by a whimsical tribal one for the Naívi. I love the music in this game a lot; itís extremely well composed and very well performed.Voice and Dialogue
The voice work isnít too bad, there are some famous voice actors doing various roles in Avatar, such as Commander Falco...who I can describe as a lighter version (same actor) of the Colonel in Metal Gear Solid. There are some parts which sound forced. The dialogue is vanilla and thereís nothing overly wrong with it, the Naívi speak in a suitably cracked tribal way and the RDA are gung-ho.Multiplayer
RDA and Naívi throw down in some basic deathmatch, team deathmatch, King of the Hill, Capture and Hold, Final Battle (kind of like defend objective or destroy it play). Itís generic and vanilla; it wonít hold many peopleís attention too long I donít think. Not when you can get the same fun out other games that are more established in the mp genre. I think the game deserved co-op and that co-op is still vastly underused in gaming these days. You might find some milage in it; the experience was occasionally interrupted by a bit of lag but nothing monumental.Movie to game...
Avatar went the route of doing the game set in the world of Avatar, not trying to shoehorn in the movie. It is set 2 years before the movie and tells a self-contained story from two viewpoints, it has rpg elements and is actually a fun game if a little flawed. I can truly say this is actually one of the better movie based games Iíve played, but in the end there arenít that many great movie based games. Perhaps, Riddick and thatís really it.
Still, itís worth a play and thatís what counts!