Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora Preview: Pandora has never looked so beautiful
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Featured Image Credit: Ubisoft
Recently we had the opportunity to play Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora at a special preview event hosted by Ubisoft ahead of its launch later this year.
Unlike Avatar: The Game from 2009, Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora is its own standalone story and is not based directly upon any of the movies, but is set within the same universe. As such, Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora has its own story to tell. However, that’s not to say that doesn’t ride the coattails of the James Cameron movies.
Check out the Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora gameplay below!
Our preview begins roughly 20% into the main story campaign. After getting used to the gameplay mechanics, and mission structure as well as getting to grips with its large open world in an all-new area not seen in the movies, I was ready to see what the region of the Western Frontier had to offer. Though in truth, it looks almost identical to what I had seen in the cinematic counterparts, though I’m not complaining. Before long, I was then ready to take on the main mission that began our playable preview: ‘The Eye of Eywa’.
I had the opportunity to take part in some of the game's side missions, but considering this was a two-hour demo, I decided to focus on the main mission at hand to immerse myself in as much story content as possible.
Playing as a pre-created Na’vi, I was tasked with collecting hive nectar to later perform the Kinglor Queen Ritual with elders Etuwa and Nefika at the Glade of Light. It’s believed that the big bad humans, collectively known as the militant group RDA (Resources Development Administration) were behind a series of attacks and disruption amongst the lands of Pandora (shocking, I know).
This mission was very run of the mill and felt like a generic fetch quest, but at the very least it allowed me to explore the beautiful scenery of Pandora with its wondrous biomes and wildlife. It was during these moments that it felt like I was exploring the world that we had seen on the silver screen.
On my travels I encountered my fair share of wildlife, some more aggressive than others. Some I was able to tame and others had to be killed in self-defence, unfortunately. There were some RDA soldiers to be dealt with, too. Thankfully I had a number of bows, spears and firearms at my disposal. The combat felt rather tight and perhaps had more in common with 2016’s Far Cry Primal than any of the mainline Far Cry games.
Once some of the more mundane tasks were completed, this preview reached its pinnacle moments when I was taken to the floating islands to eventually tame my very own Ikran. Navigating through the islands in the sky made me feel like a Na’vi more than anything else I had experienced in this preview. I was able to test my supernatural ability as I traversed the terrain, making long-ranged jumps when a single misstep would result in my untimely demise and climbing vines made me feel like a Na’vi that that had a purpose. During this process of navigating from one island to the next, I was chasing my Ikran in the hope of taming it to be my own. Eventually, that moment came and before long I was soaring through the skies seeing the sights of Pandora from new heights, as well as taking out some Scorpion Gunships.
While we can’t show the footage of the menu that featured the character skill tree, I can at least tell you about it. During my two-hour playtime, I was able to level up my Na’vi, at least by a little. What’s more, as long as I gathered the required resources, I was also able to upgrade some of my weapons and gear. The skill tree is broken up into five segments: Survivor (health and toughness), Warrior (weapon efficiency), Hunter (improved senses and stealth), Rider (more compatible with creatures including Ikran) and Make (crafting and cooking).
Sadly, just as I was about to finish the last main mission featured in the demo, Ubisoft called an end to my allocated time. That being said, I came away feeling very impressed by what Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora had to offer. The combat felt crisp, flying on an Ikran was awesome, the world looked gorgeous and the compelling soundtrack had all the hallmarks of a James Cameron movie.
If I were to have some complaints about the demo, it would be that the mission objective indicators on the map weren't as clear as I had hoped, as they blended in too much with the vibrant colours of Pandora. When I was asked by the Ubisoft rep for my thoughts on the demo, I raised this issue, so hopefully, this will be improved come release. Nonetheless, my overall experience with the preview was positive and I’m genuinely looking forward to the full release.
Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora will be released on 7 December for PC, PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S.