Another big-budget Hollywood blockbuster. Another tie-in video game. But this one has James Cameron’s name on the box, so it can’t be that bad, right?
To be fair, I had very low expectations for James Cameron’s Avatar – The Video Game. It immediately brought back horrific memories of playing through another movie tie-in videogame with a title as long as my forearm (Peter Jackson’s King Kong The Movie The Game). It has always amazed me that a videogame form of a film seems to need the suffix “The Game” tagged on to the end of the title, as if the general public wouldn’t be able to figure out that the product they are currently holding, which may say Xbox, PlayStation, or Nintendo on it, isn’t actually the film that’s currently in theatres, but a game based on said film. But I digress….
If you’re expecting any kind of spoilers about the movie from this game, you won’t find them. The game is set two years prior to the events of the film, and you play a forgettable character that really doesn’t matter. You have a wide range of choices at the start of the game as to your gender and race, but this has no affect on the rest of the game, as you soon become a nameless grunt stuck on both sides of the ensuing conflict on the planet of Pandora. The basic story is similar to that of the film in that the humans are on Pandora and the Na’vi don’t really appreciate them, but since this is a few years prior, things are a little less established, and the invading human force hasn’t set up such a large presence – at least, not yet.
Through the main arc of the game, you progress to fighting with the humans and then with the Na’vi, eventually allowing you to make moral choices as to which side of the conflict you feel more at home with. The problem with this is that the game makes it very hard to side with the technologically-inferior Na’vi, especially when you can pilot mech suits, use rocket launchers and flamethrowers when you’re human, and on the flipside use bows and arrows and command bees. Bees? Really? I think I know which side I’m going to be sticking with, thanks.