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Avatar: Frontiers Of Pandora could be a stunning first person adventure, I just don't trust it yet

I'm blue

Artwork of a Na'vi riding an ikran in new artwork for Avatar: Frontiers Of Pandora
Image credit: Ubisoft

I may not have seen Avatar or its sequel, but I like to think that means I'm numb to any preconceptions or bias. I am a man who understands only that there are lanky Smurfs who live in a world you'd get if you mashed Halo and Viva Piñata together. So, having seen roughly 30 minutes of Avatar: Frontiers Of Pandora, I can give you the unfettered lowdown of a person who's analysed it with a cold, hard stare. In brief, the game looks rather lovely! If… too lovely. I worry there's a big catch somewhere and I can't put my finger on it.

According to the game's creative director Magnus Jansen, it is three things: a first-person (1) action adventure (2) set in an open world (3). You play as a tall blue person who was raised as human from a young age by the RDA (Really Dreadful, Apparently), led by John Mercer, a man in a crisp white shirt. As a human, you were raised to wield guns and starved of any connection to your blue heritage because Mercer is a horrible man.

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Thanks to the sacrifice of one of your own, you were able to escape the confines of the RDA and put into cryo-sleep for 15 years, by which point the RDA had effed off elsewhere. That is, until the RDA comes back. And so the thrust of the game lies in taking the fight to the, RDA who've begun colonising your lovely flora once again.

The scope of the game seems particularly enormous. You've got various colonies, the ability to tame and ride animals, a big bird companion who opens up an explorable world above the skies, aerial combat, crafting, cooking, two-player co-op, the list goes on. Not that the devs aren't capable of building a game of this scope, it just seems particularly ambitious and we're not given any sort of deep dive into how any of these bits spin individually or mesh together. Instead, we get a convenient glimpse and a quick shuffle onto the next thing.

From what I gather, the game most likely resembles the template of something like Far Cry, where your main task is to destroy RDA bases dotted around the map. Once you've done so, apparently, the world heals, and you can then harvest better resources to upgrade your weapons and armour. Oh, and you're able to harvest materials "well", as opposed to the bad RDA kind of resource harvesting, represented by a gif of a blue hand plucking at a yellow fruit. Riiiight.

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As for combat, the devs say you're a "child of two worlds", which I've translated as "got an AK and a bow, innit" on my phone. If you use human weaponry like assault rifles, they're powerful but loud. So, if you're after more of a stealthy approach, it's best to use bows and arrows and the like. We saw both in action as our resident blue protag rattled some shots into mechs and RDA members, with some slides and hops in there to give encounters a little extra sauce.

One thing I'm totally confident in is how gorgeous the game's forests and sky rocks are. Cor, fields glisten in green and there's a rich colour to the fruit that dangles off vines, with all these believable communities nestled in the recesses or outskirts of the jungle. If the world truly is as delightful as the trailers, then that's quite the feat.

I'm sorry I wasn't able to glean much more info out of the presentation for you, but I'm unsure whether there was much to draw from in the first place. Either Avatar: Frontiers Of Pandora is going to be an open world stunner, or it's conveniently keeping us in the dark. I'm leaning towards the latter right now, but I really do hope I'm wrong.

NotE3 and Summer Game Fest 2023 is over for another year. You can find out all the latest news by visiting our E3 2023 hub, or you can catch up with our round-up posts of everything that was announced at Summer Game Fest, the Xbox Games Showcase, the PC Gaming Show, Day Of The Devs, and our top highlights from the Wholesome Direct.

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