Last week, I had the opportunity to spend some time with the upcoming Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora, an open-world adventure based on the Avatar film franchise. This demo allowed me to get hands-on with some of the combat, bond with my Ikran, and experience the wonders of the Western Frontier.
In one of the first missions, I’m tasked with finding a type of nectar for someone at my camp. Fortunately, I’m equipped with a handy sense that allows me to easily track down the needed material. On the way, it becomes apparent just how self-sufficient I’m permitted to be as part of a Na’vi clan. I was able to collect resources to craft ammo and pick up other useful items to take back to camp, and access to a crafting system meant I could always be prepared to take on whatever lurked in the wilderness.
Back at the camp, I was able to access better weapons and gear, but the commerce here is kindness. I can gain favour among my fellow Na’vi by helping them out and donating resources, and spend the favour gained on new tools and upgrades. There’s also a skill tree, which allowed me to gain new abilities and build out the character I wanted.
Before long, I’m back out in the wilds, trekking towards a mission that will reward me with my very own Ikran. In the Avatar universe, Na’vi can form a lifelong bond with these impressive flying creatures, but such a friendship is not easily earned. Here, I put the traversal mechanics to the test, leaping through canopies, grappling up vines and navigating the peaks until I was able to finally bond with my Ikran, which I lovingly named ‘Floof’.
On the back of Floof, I soared through the skies and really had an opportunity to take in how vast and exceptional this world looks. On the ground, the paths feel treacherous and unpredictable; the surroundings are full of odd sounds, dangerous foliage and creatures, and one wrong step could result in big trouble. Atop of Floof, however, I feel invincible, swerving around sky islands and nosediving into new areas at will. The sense of exploration is unrivalled here, I feel like I could go anywhere and do anything, and this gargantuan, vibrant world invites me to do so.
Up here, my mind is abuzz with plans. I’m circling a large RDA facility, brimming with workers and dangerous robots. My task is to shut this place down to stop it from disturbing a local species by any means necessary, and there are a lot of means at my disposal. I am vastly outnumbered by threats, but I’m given plenty of ways to sneak around, use the environments to my advantage, and of course, use Floof for a tactical escape if necessary. The fun lies in how you choose to approach this complex situation; I had a great time burning a few robots to death by accidentally firing an arrow into some overhead pipes.
With the RDA threat dealt with, my time with the game ended. While I had great fun with the combat (I’m a sucker for a good, thwumpy bow) and even more fun zipping around on my Ikran, I could have spent much longer digging into these complex systems and exploring this behemoth jungle. If this snippet of gameplay is anything to go by, Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora is set to be one hell of an adventure.
AVATAR: FRONTIERS OF PANDORA™
Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora™ is a first person, action-adventure game developed by Massive Entertainment – a Ubisoft studio, in collaboration with Lightstorm Entertainment and Disney.
Built using the latest iteration of the Snowdrop engine, and developed exclusively for the new generation of consoles and PC, Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora brings to life the alluring world of Pandora with all of its beauty and danger in an immersive, open world experience.
In this new, standalone story, play as a Na’vi and embark on a journey across the Western Frontier, a never-before-seen part of Pandora. Explore a living and reactive world inhabited by unique creatures and new characters, and push back the formidable RDA forces that threaten it.