Avatar – Review

If you happen to dwell in some remote, godforsaken corner of nowhere, then maybe, just maybe, you might not have heard that sci-fi supremo James Cameron (Terminator, Titanic, Aliens) is back in the the movie making business. Well he is. And how.

His latest, and judging from critical reaction so far, greatest is Avatar, an epic cinematic adventure set on a distant world which boasts so many snazzy effects and enough explosive action to put the vast majority of videogames to shame. Oh, and it’s all delivered in new fangled, eye-popping 3D. Gameloft have been given the formidable task of shrinking Cameron’s larger than life vision down to Appstore size. So, you ask, do they deliver..?
Thankfully, yes. Even on a 3.5″ iPod display Pandora is a sight to behold, further whetting the appetite for witnessing the spectacle on the big screen from behind a pair of 3D glasses (I’m going tomorrow!). It’s lush green forests and jungles, alive with sometimes deadly indigenous plant and animal life, practically leap from your device.
Eye candy aside, the game is still pretty great. Playing as a “skyperson” in a 7 foot tall, blue skinned Na’vi disguise (that’s next Halloween’s costume sorted so), you traverse this gorgeous gameworld Lara Croft style, running, gunning and leaping through the multitude of lengthy levels that successfully combine platforming with ferocious combat and shoot-outs, whilst following a compelling storyline that acts as a prequel to the film.
Honestly, Avatar feels kind of like Gameloft has taken every third-person romp they’ve made for this format and smooshed them together. Then sprayed it blue.
But, for the best part, this mingling of gameplay styles works well. Whether swinging on vines Tarzan style, trading bullets with your human brethren turned sworn enemy, or taking to the skies atop a “Banshee” (pictured), this title most definately has the fun factor.
Okay, there are minor niggles: the fixed camera can be irritating at times, combat might’ve been deeper, and cut scenes are a bit wonky (couldn’t they have included snippets of Cameron’s footage? perhaps in stereoscopic 3D?). But overall this introduction to the world of Pandora is a pleasure to play and one of Gameloft’s best yet.
iFanzine Verdict: What could so easily have been a shallow piece of interactive advertising (and still sold a gazillion copies) is elevated well above the average film tie-in thanks to Gameloft’s extraordinary efforts and stellar production values. Highly recommended.

8 out of 10

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