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Steam page (demo available).
To be honest, I'm not surprised at all. This game and studio are stuff of legends.
I'm starting to find that HUDs in games clutter the screen and take away from being fully immersed in the game. I like games that force you to pay attention to what's going on in the game and not numbers/markers on the edges of the display. What are some of your favorite games to play with no HUD? Here are a few of mine:
Astroneer - this game has tool tips on screen but that's about it. There isn't even an inventory, all objects are interactive and you can physically place them on your backpack.
Battlefield 1 - super gritty and immersive, but playing without a HUD really puts you at a disadvantage online.
Red Dead Redemption 2 - I liked that you could hide the HUD, but the mini-map was a tap on the d-pad away if you get lost. It was a super immersive experience!
Grand Theft Auto 5 - maybe not designed to be played without the HUD, once you get used to the layout of the city this becomes a lot easier, and you focus more on landmarks to navigate and again this really increased immersion. Sometimes finding things in missions wasn't obvious and required consulting the map but otherwise this was enjoyable.
Game Title: Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora
- PlayStation 5 (Dec 7, 2023)
Publisher: Ubisoft Entertainment
Despite the fact that Avatar Frontiers of Pandora manages to captivate the player from the very first minute with its masterfully designed world, it misses its great potential by having serious shortcomings within itself.
The idea of Avatar being mixed into this formula is great, and when you're flying on your ikran, it's an intoxicating experience, even if aspects of the combat and game stability leave something to be desired.
Even with its faults, Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora is a stunning visual achievement, much like the films on which it's inspired. Only here, a rich narrative pulls you deep into the Na'vi and explores more tangible means of fighting back against a colonial power that offers a cathartic experience... Blow up a pipeline, save an animal, and explore the vast world of Pandora. That's a heck of a way to close out a year.
Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora is a big misstep and feels like Ubisoft's biggest missed opportunity in a while. Not even the fantastical and majestic sights of Pandora and some engaging hunts can cure the buggy, unoptimised product presented to the world. Offering a dull story while it trips and stumbles on delicate themes, it too is simply a confused formula of everything you've seen before from other titles, almost all of it ill-fitting. Two adaptations under their belt and it seems Ubisoft just can't get that voyage of Pandora right.
While it has some novel ideas, Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora's extremely repetitive quest design, underwhelming progression, and wholly monotonous gear system make it one of the most forgettable open world games of 2023.
If you walked away from Avatar wishing a world like Pandora actually existed out there, here you go. This is that world. Seeing Pandora is one thing, but being able to scale its massive treetops, soar high above its floating mountains on an Ikran, and traverse its wide open plains on the back of a Direhorse is really something special. This is the best version of Avatar yet.
Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora can't put its human nature aside long enough to properly honor the Na'vi.
Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora is a nice open world action game. But beside the great and detailed graphics there is nothing worse or better than solid. That might be enough, if you love the movies, but it's not enough to make Ubisoft's Avatar game a need to buy for action fans in general.
There are lots of design choices I didn’t mesh with in Frontiers of Pandora. I love the world, but barriers blocked me from fully immersing myself in it, and it’s littered with activities and outposts plucked straight out of the 2010s and planted in Pandora’s soil.
Even so, I found a lot to love in Frontiers of Pandora, including the welcome addition of two-player online cooperative play, which lets players enjoy the game with a friend. With time, the many interlocking features started to make sense, and I pushed past any frustrations to find a remarkably large and rewarding game. Enter Pandora’s vast wilderness with patience and a willingness for a measured march to understanding, and I suspect you’ll uncover what I did – a flawed but still praiseworthy addition to this growing science fiction universe.
In the face of an IP filled with rich themes with something important to say, Frontiers of Pandora ignores the point entirely and goes on to have a gameplay loop where players spend most of their time killing otherwise docile animals to make arbitrary numbers go up so they can be as immortal as possible within the confines of the game. This would be business as usual for any other open-world gameplay loop, but it's embarrassingly ironic and tone-deaf for an Avatar game. Sure, anti-pollution sentiments are there because it's impossible to make an Avatar spin-off without them, but they're there superficially and treated as a checkbox for players to complete - ultimately ringing hollow. A betrayal of Cameron’s themes with the Avatar IP, seemingly stapled together as an attempt to get a slice of the highest-grossing film of all time’s pie, Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora isn’t just generic; it is downright cynical.
At some point, however, I switched off internally during the trivial story sections. And even though the game promotes free exploration well, I still caught myself working through the points on the map every now and then. So, for me, Ubisoft doesn't completely resolve this part of its formula, but it's on the right track.
Though it includes a lot of familiar open-world elements, a minimalistic user interface, fun movement mechanics, and a gorgeous setting make it a blast to explore Pandora.
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Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora is a gorgeous open-world adventure that, despite having some similarities to Ubisoft’s own Far Cry, has its own identity that begs you to explore every nook and cranny. That exploration won’t be for everyone, but for those of you tired of having your hands held, there’s a lot to see, do, and enjoy.
A decent, if unspectacular take, on an alien Far Cry that uses its source material well to create an engaging world to explore.
Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora has some excellent mechanical depth let down by repetitive missions and a very safe story. When you're flowing through the environment taking out RDA soldiers with volleys of arrows, it feels fantastic. Unfortunately, the game doesn't provide many opportunities to use the full breadth of its systems. Still, it's drop dead gorgeous and very fun for what it is.
As far as we are concerned, Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora is more than a serviceable open-world action-adventure experience, made better for fans who cannot get enough of James Cameron’s masterful sci-fi franchise. That said, for an adventure on a distant moon, it continually hints at a potential to do things differently and with a dose of freshness, but retreats into well-trodden territory to bring us crashing back to Earth. There is always going to be a fascination with the Na’vi, but you just might find yourself backing the RDA this time around.
It's not without its flaws, but Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora is still one of Ubisoft's best games of recent years.
It doesn't break the mold in its gameplay proposal, but Avatar Frontiers of Pandora is an amazing recreation of this cinematic universe, with gameplay and narrative moments that will impact you.
Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora features a stunning alien world to explore, but doesn’t contain as many genuine surprises as other modern open-worlds.
Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora held all the cards and, at least from our perspective, squandered them all. This reskinned Far Cry is a mediocrity gallery reflecting the current AAA production stuck in the last decade. The Snowdrop engine does help cover up some visible flaws, but when there's a lack of polished plot, quests, and meaningful gameplay, players will figure it out sooner or later. So, while Frontiers of Pandora may not rank among the worst games of the year, it is definitely one of those games that will soon be forgotten with all the mediocrity.
Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora is a mesmerizing journey into a place that is very much unlike anything out there. It’s fantasy and technology boldly clashing and offering a sprawling, remarkable world that deserves all sorts of acclaim. The more you explore, the more you realize just how amazing this planet is, the windy peaks making for some jaw-dropping vistas, the parkour navigation and Ikran flying a contrast that ironically couldn’t work any better.
While the FarCry formula is certainly evident in Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora, the game does just enough to make it stand out from similar titles that simply tick off boxes in the open-world formula. The world is beautiful and interesting enough to explore, and Ubisoft and Massive Entertainment have done well to translate this IP into a worthwhile title for some players, especially fans of the franchise.
Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora is an extraordinary visual experience, allowing you to breathe in the atmosphere of a living planet. However, the scarcity and lack of variety in the action makes the pace very slow. Still, if you're a fan of the Far Cry games, you should give it a chance just for the gorgeous landscapes.
Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora gives you the strength and stamina of the Na'vi, but not the consistency and depth of their homeworld. Unless you're an avid fan who wants every morsel of storytelling, Ubisoft's latest open world doesn't always justify the trip.
Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora offers a visually appealing open world that fans of the movies will certainly enjoy. That said, Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora is routinely held back by repetitive gameplay, while a lack of enemy types and weapons stops the combat from being quite as enjoyable as it could have been. Technically impressive and satisfying for the most part, it's also clear that Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora feels essentially just like another Far Cry game from a game design point of view, rather than the sort of entirely fresh offering one would expect from a modern day Avatar video game.
Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora is quite a bit better than I thought it was going to be, on the whole. Despite some half-baked mechanics and ideas, I still had a blast shredding outposts in this overwhelming, sumptuous sandbox.
Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora successfully brings the world of Pandora to video games in a big way. It's lush and vibrant and without a doubt one of the most luxuriant open worlds that Ubisoft has ever created. Its gameplay, on the other hand, is lacking the spark that makes great open worlds sing. Fans of the franchise will absolutely adore exploring everything this previously unexplored side of Pandora has to offer, just don't expect it to reinvent the wheel.
A beautiful open world world can't make up for a dull rebellion that succumbs to Ubisoft's by the numbers method.
Overall, Avatar is a strangely designed game that offers something different than you would expect from an action-adventure game in this world. Not an action adventure, it's more of a survival effort and slow stealth combat. But in no area is it fully fleshed out. But the world itself is handled very nicely.
Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora is a staggering sensory experience, and the consistent beauty of its world goes hand-in-hand with an engaging story and meaningful progress for Ubisoft's approach to open-world game design. Its weakest points are the areas where it doesn't go back to the drawing board, although repetitive elements go down more easily as part of a package that stuns in so many ways. A flight to an alien moon might never be in the cards for most of Earth's inhabitants, but Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora is, and it might just be the next best thing.
It helps that you can see what you're doing when you're driving around a desert.
Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora deserves recognition for staying faithful to its source material. Fans of the Avatar franchise will love what Massive Entertainment created. Despite the flat and predictable story, I enjoyed the significant amount of content it offered, plus the co-op feature where I got to experience the entire campaign with my wife. Frontiers of Pandora showcased the beautiful world created in the Avatar universe by James Cameron perfectly, its incredible flora and fauna, and the scenic views from atop the Hallelujah Mountains.
Frontiers of Pandora is, in essence, just another Far Cry experience—one with breathtaking art direction and a thoughtful portrayal of an alien culture, but a Far Cry experience nonetheless. It’s a tired formula applied to a property that’s capable of showing us much more. This game’s Pandora is a beautiful place to visit, but living there makes for a boring existence.
Even if we appreciate how Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora tries to give fans an experience similar to living the movies in first-person, all its excessive problems serve to point out that, in case we need to say it, developing a compelling videogame is way different from making a successful movie.
This is textbook average entertainment; it won't disappoint, but it certainly won't excite.
With a story that follows predictable beats, mechanics that provide zero gameplay benefit, and murky visuals, Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora delivers an extremely underwhelming experience. PC players be warned of many technical issues.
What Ubisoft Massive has accomplished is nothing short of incredible. While you may come away forgetting the villain’s name or even the reason why you were exploring this world, you’ll never forget what it felt like to fly your Ikran for the first time or step out into the lush world and soak it all in. Frontiers of Pandora is perhaps the best example of a game that exemplifies the saying, “It’s not the destination, but the journey that matters.
Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora is a huge game in which exploration plays a very important role, as every corner of the Western Frontier is full of plants to catalog, ingredients to collect and materials to use to improve our equipment. The fights are very addictive and it is essential to combine stealth actions with raids based on the surprise effect. The proprietary Snowdrop engine offers us a beautiful graphic representation, which combined with a quality soundtrack guarantee an almost cinematic experience. Those looking for non-stop action might find a few too many dead moments, but it remains an open world shooter adventure of extreme quality despite never trying to introduce any novelty to the genre.
I really wanted to like Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora more than I did, but the game’s various shortcomings make it difficult to love entirely. The exceptional graphics and brief moments of greatness make it worthwhile for Avatar fans, but most anyone else is likely to be frustrated by how close it comes to doing something special only to fall shy of its potential.
Like it or not, Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora feels like the perfect companion piece to James Cameron’s movies: it’s big but often intimate. Savage but calm. Familiar but charming. Even without playing a single minute of it, you should know whether it’s something you want to play. If you decide to make the jump, I suggest letting go of cheap analogies and using Na’vi instincts first and gamer brain second.
Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora more than lives up to the legacy of its cinematic counterpart. In fact, the title elevates itself to the ranks of exceptional and essential gaming - an incredible feat for a movie franchise tie-in. Ubisoft, often recognised for their prowess in open-world gameplay, absolutely exceeds expectations with this title. While its foundation may draw parallels to the Far Cry series, the game's unique setting, narrative depth, and immersive gameplay set it apart as a groundbreaking experience.
Look past Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora’s dull story and you’ll find spectacle and freedom lurking in its Na’vi customs and breathtaking ecosystems.
Getting lost in the absolutely gorgeous world of Pandora and having fun with the brutal, tribal-like combat make up for the weak story and the fact that, at the end of the day, Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora does suffer from some of the traditional Ubisoft open world tropes.
'Frontiers of Pandora' may occasionally feel like a reskinned 'Far Cry', but it absolutely nails the ambience and atmosphere of James Cameron's eco-scifi world. One of those rare licensed games that retroactively improves the source material it's based on.Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora
Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora is going to appeal the most to die-hard fans of the film series. The ability to ride some of the creatures of Pandora and take in the lush surroundings of the moon are more than enough to satisfy those who want to wander around and soak in everything. For everyone else, the game is simply decent. The missions are very hit-and-miss in quality and execution, while the ability to use human and Na'vi weapons isn't as appealing as the developers may have expected. The world looks gorgeous, but navigating it isn't that intuitive due to a poor map and navigation system, and that also goes for other elements, like hunting and gathering. The game isn't terrible or as bleak as the first title, but you'll need to temper expectations to get some enjoyment out of Frontiers of Pandora.
A delight for fans of Avatar, this game is so damned good that even one apathetic to the IP like me couldn’t help but fall in love with it.
I have spent about a total of ten hours playing Grant, Lee, Sherman: Civil War Generals 2 (which for my own sanity will be referred to as “CW2” from here on out), which is not nearly enough time to become an expert, but I have managed to scratch a little bit into the surface. Originally I had planned on playing Robert E. Lee: Civil War General, as that had been a game I’d spent tons of time playing as a kid. When I couldn’t get the original game on any digital storefront and my technical abilities to get it running from an abandonware website failed me, I finally went to eBay and ordered an original physical copy. When my order arrived, I was surprised to see the sequel bundled with it, and I learned with a little bit of searching that CW2 released only a year after the first game and is considered a more expanded and polished iteration. It has the same engine, same mechanics, same graphics, and even the same battle videos. What it adds are a few new unit types, UI improvements, numerous campaigns, and the ability to play each campaign as either the North or South; as opposed to the original game which only had Confederate campaigns. If you end up wanting to play these games, just skip right to CW2 as it is essentially a director’s cut or GOTY version of the original.
What is CW2 however? It is a turn based, hexmap strategy game of the US Civil War. There are historical battles presented for stand alone play, or campaigns which string together multiple battles. Unit types include infantry, skirmishers, artillery, cavalry, engineers, frigates, gunboats, and field headquarters. Most units have two formations, one for fighting and one for traveling. Catching an enemy, or being caught yourself, in a traveling formation with an attack can be devastating. All units have three important factors relating to manpower: Organization, health, and morale. Each factor is represented with a small intuitive picture in the unit’s information panel. If the soldier represented looks in good shape, the stats are good. If not, things will be rough.
This combination of charming presentation with brutal gameplay implications is found throughout the game. A unit that has broken ranks and is fleeing will have a characterful depiction on the map, and you click on them to attempt to give them orders you’ll get a snarky reply textbox.
When units meet for battle the game will a play a short video. Rather than CGI, the videos are live action clips of actual Civil War reenactments. There is something quaint about a game published by a major studio using camcorder footage to show off a battle. All of that is fun, but when you find yourself 30 turns in to a brutal slugfest over a series of bridges and your men are dead, dying, or routed, the game shows that it has bite.
Scenarios are often designed to mimic history rather than designed to give the player much of a chance of assuring a path to major victory. I played First Battle of Bull Run in command of Union forces. In real life the battle was an unexpected failure for the Union, and even with my knowledge to not be overconfident, I only managed to turn what CW2 described as a “major defeat” into a “minor defeat”. While my generalship was far from perfect, I submit that the game has no problems loading scenarios that will frustrate, in a good way, even those who are familiar with the genre. I mean look at this bloody battlefield.
In a campaign, after battles units will recover wounded troops from hospitals and receive reinforcements to their ranks. Depending on that amount of fighting a unit has seen, they will gain valuable veteran increases to their morale and organization. As an additional way to increase the fighting ability of the units, the player has the choice of dismissing under performing unit commanders in the hopes of finding someone better. When it comes to hardware, every unit type has a variety of weapons to choose from to rearm with. Be careful, especially as a Confederate player to not just grab whatever the best, most high value weapon is within reach as the more expensive weapons tend to have higher rates of fire, which translates into more expense to keep the unit supplied with ammunition. Running out of supplies will turn the finest repeating rifle into a glorified club and make the unit easy pickings.
When it comes to sound, this is a mid-1990s game. The sound effects seem to be either a member of the development team reading a line in their best attempt at a period accent, or battle noises pulled from the reenactment videos. The music is subtly addictive however. It is compressed, but I found The Battle Hymn Of The Republic tune to be a surprisingly hard earworm to shake.
The game feels like it was made by a team that was really in love with the Civil War. There is a free included program presenting the history of the war going over everything from the leaders, to the weapons, to the battles. It is all fully narrated, much like the in game dialog it is competently, but obviously done by a developer rather than a professional voice actor. To today’s eyes and ears the presentation might seem lacking compared to what can be found on Wikipedia in a few seconds, but CW2 was released four years before Wikipedia existed, making the research that went into it even more of a bonus for a game of its era.
CW2 still holds up as a surprisingly mechanically crunchy game with a presentation that is colorful and clear. Absolutely worth playing for anyone with an interest in turn based strategy wargames.
Same post saved on my blog. (There's other stuff too!)
Seems like Bethesda wants another go at this
- Alan Wake 2
- Baldur's Gate 3
- Cyberpunk 2077: The Phantom Liberty
- Hi-Fi Rush
- Hitman Freelancer
- Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom
- Octopath Traveler 2
- Resident Evil 4 Remake
- Street Fighter 6
- Super Mario Bros. Wonder
I'm confused why Kotaku mentioning next gen in the title when Rockstar only commented on current generation PS5 and Xbox Series X/S.
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