Avatar The Game – Review

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The above video is my first attempt at both a game review and videoing myself. So please be nice. 😉 If you can’t see the video, please ensure you are viewing this article on Arteki.com and are using a Flash-capable browser with the latest version of Flash installed.

Please find a transcript below. I have slightly edited bits to make it read a little clearer than it would have otherwise.

The following are corrections to what I have said in the video:

  • There is a quest-log in the game. You can press the tab key to display it.
  • You can press R to display the heads-up-display.
  • The information section is indeed called the “Pandorapedia”.

Transcript

Hi there, I’m Gaby, aka eldris. Some of you may know me as the author of Arteki.com. I’m going to talk today about James Cameron’s Avatar The Game.

First impressions of [the game]: very bad – not because of the game itself, but because of the initial problems the game had.

The first problem I encountered was after installation, when I went to run the game I couldn’t get the shortcut I had made to work. I tried running the game and it crashed. Luckily, searching through some forums I came across the fact that it was the shortcut it wouldn’t run with, so I went into the installation folder. If you are having this problem, go into the folder you installed the game in and then go into the “bin” folder and load Avatar.exe. I would recommend first you listen to my next point though.

My next point is that (and I have to say that this is being played under Vista – I don’t actually have it installed on XP or Windows 7 to test it, so this is all Vista-based) when I eventually got it to launch, there was no sound in the game and nobody wants to play a game with no sound. The subtitles weren’t appearing either. So, again, I looked at the forums and read that there was a patch, so I hunted around a bit but I couldn’t find a patcher tool – when you click Avatar.exe it just goes straight into the game. But there is another file in there; I think it’s called AvatarLauncher. If you run that it should go through and check for patches first. So, before you go playing the game, run [AvatarLauncher]. The sound should work.

I will say that [the game] is still quite glitchy even with the patch. There are some bits of dialogue in the game were it just skips, so then you have absolutely no idea why you’re doing a quest. You just pretty much get the arrow on the map that tells you where you are going.

As far as I’ve seen there’s no actual quest-log, so you can’t see what you’re currently assigned to do. You just have to follow the arrow and if you’ve got any extra tasks then it’s quite hard to tell. I’ve only been playing the game for a few hours so far, so I suppose I’ve missed something there. I really hope I have because if there is no log or such for active missions, that is a bit ridiculous really in my opinion, because if you go away for a bit and haven’t played the game in a while, then you’re going to come back and you’re just going to completely forget what you’re doing.

And again, when that dialogue skips, you don’t want to just go off and do the mission it’s telling you to, you want to know why your character’s doing it.

I’ve just got to the point where it splits off into the two stories (I’m a little bit past that). Without [spoiling] it too much, there’s a point in the game where you get to pick whether you’re going to play for the humans or the Na’avi.

I picked the Na’avi because I see them as the good-guys. Having watched Avatar twice, I absolutely love their culture, so I wanted to play through as them.

It’s really very fun. I think the Avatars look very good. The colours are good; not as bright as in the movie, which is a bit unfortunate. Everything looks a bit… I don’t want to say flat, because obviously I’ve seen the film in 3D, but it’s got that appearance that games do where there’s just not enough contrast.

The weapons are quite good. I’ve found [that I’m] not very good at the kind of combat that this game has; I’m more of a “give commands and let them get on with it” player. For example, with Dragon Age [I played through] on easy, because I don’t like combat.

The Na’avi weapon set is incredibly cool. There are dual-wielded swords, which do quite high damage. At the stage I’m at they can pretty much one-hit kill a human. The only thing is, actually getting to the humans. I think it might be slightly unbalanced. Although, yes, you can one-hit kill them, getting to them requires that you don’t die while they’re shooting you and that is quite difficult because if there’s even just two or three people shooting at you, your health can drop really quickly. I haven’t got very far through the game yet [and] this is the first time I’ve played it, so I should expect it to be difficult.

There is a nice part where you can get life recovery. It’s not clear how you get them – I think it’s by collecting cell samples, but I’m not 100% sure. Again, they’re not very clear on these kinds of things. I could probably find it in the “Pandorapedia” (I think [that’s what] they call it – a bit of a rubbish name in my opinion, if that is [the correct name]). Even that is quite hard to navigate, because you have lots and lots of sub-menus – you have to pick a category, then a sub-category, etc. I think there are easier ways of displaying it than what they have.

Another thing where I think they haven’t displayed the information very well is with the heads-up-display. That only comes up when you’re in combat. I haven’t worked out a key combination to just bring it up so I can what skills I’ve got on without having to go into the other menu.

They’ve numbered [the skills] in a diamond shape. [I indicate a diamond shape with a hand gesture.] The diamond shows you the skills your character has. They’re numbered from the top, [I point to the top of the diamond] 1, [I point to the right] 2, [I point to the bottom] 3 and [I point to the left] 4, which means that 4 is [on the left], but on your keyboard it’s the right-most key [of the four skill shortcuts]. This is something where they haven’t helped people make a link between the visual display of the icons telling you which skill it is and the key you have to press on the keyboard.
Maybe it’s just me, but I find it hard to see [the 4th skill] on the screen on the left and then think “Press 4”, which is on the right. It’s just a bit unintuitive, I think. I don’t see why they couldn’t have just displayed them in a row across the top – I think it may have even looked better.

It’s the same with the weapons, although at least with the weapons you can use the [mouse wheel] to change between them, which is quite good, except I do tend to forget which way I want to scroll it.

It’s quite a good game all in all. I’m not sure it’s worth the price. I paid around £27 for it. I know it is a new game, considering which it is a good price (which was from Tesco), but were I to have the knowledge I do now I probably wouldn’t purchase it. It’s not a good enough game for that price, in my opinion.

I don’t know how far through I am, I suspect that I’m probably not that far through at all. I’m hoping that it will end up being a very in-depth and worthwhile game, but other than giving you skill upgrades and new weapons there’s not really much to it so far in the way of giving you new things. There will be new mounts; I should get an Ikran soon – I think I’m just about to start the quest for that.

The vehicles aren’t that great, I don’t think. They control very well, but there’s just something about them that doesn’t feel quite right. It would be nice if you could use your weapon [while] on them. That’s one thing – if you have a fight you have to keep getting out of the vehicle or off the mount and then fight. It’s just a bit tedious.

There is one thing I will say for [the game]. I have not got annoyed at any voice actors yet. That is one thing I do tend to get annoyed at in games if they’re bad, so the voice acting is quite good. It’s not as good as [in Dragon Age] , but considering it is a movie spin-off game where they haven’t actually got any of the actors from the film, except for one bit at the start, [they are] good voice actors. If you are a regular game player [where the game] has voices in it, you will know how annoying it can be when people have just got rubbish accents, or like in Oblivion where it’s the same person doing the voice for “all” the characters in the game.

That’s my opinion of Avatar The Game. I’ll be interested to know what you’ve found about it or if you’re having any problems running it let me know.

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