Versions Played: Xbox 360 and Wii Current CEX Price: £1.50 (Xbox 360), £1 (Wii) This may seem to be a super weird choice to cover as a Bargain Bin title. […]
Versions Played: Xbox 360 and Wii
This may seem to be a super weird choice to cover as a Bargain Bin title. There’s no hard and fast rules here, but in general I tend to like sticking to lesser known titles – there have been exceptions, of course, with Driver and Destroy All Humans games, for example, but a really big, licensed game such as Avatar?
Did anyone actually play this though? I assume it sold well during that brief period where the movie took over, before completely disappearing from the collective pop culture psyche, but I don’t recall ever reading much about it or ever knowing anyone who bought or played it.
Like the film it’s based on, it’s very clear that the game had an enormous budget. From a technical point of view, it looks really good, even now (at least on HD consoles – the Wii version looks decent enough for a Wii game, but does suffer greatly by comparison). Levels are huge and open, though due to quite a bit of vertical design, can be difficult to navigate. The map doesn’t really cut it when you’re trying to find a waypoint that can be at any elevated point on the stage.
A protracted prologue sees you playing through a similar plot to that of the movie, with your grunt eventually assigned a Na’vi body and sent off to get them onside, with a point at which you can choose to either side with them or stay with the humans. Unlike the movie, you’re never really sold on how moustache-twirlingly evil the humans are in the plot of the game, so though siding with the Na’vi feels like the right thing to do if you have seen the film, in-game it doesn’t sit right at all – particularly as you’re asked to murder humans in choosing your side.
The Na’vi campaign is by far the most interesting of the two options, however – and it’s this path I’ve spent most time with. The human stages feel like a standard 3rd person shooter, albeit one in a very pretty environment.
I mentioned the Wii version in passing above; it’s worth noting that you’re not a human in an avatar body in that version – you’re a Na’vi throughout – and it’s a very stealth-based game, with both Wiimote MotionPlus support for the combat (not that you’ll notice much difference between this and vanilla motion controls – it’s fairly awkwardly implemented, as is depressingly familiar on the Wii) along with Balance Board support for when you’re riding a Banshee.
Both are very different versions and surprisingly decent games. As popular as Avatar was, it’s odd – but telling – that there don’t seem to be be any really passionate Avatar fans out there; for a film that’s only just been unseated as the highest grossing movie of all time, it’s truly remarkable how little a dent it’s made on the collective consciousness of the world.
That said, at current Bargain Bin prices I’d say these games are unquestionably worth checking out. They’re big, lavishly made and technically pretty impressive, though they’ve not aged well in a few areas – which sounds exactly like the film they’re based on.
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