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Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora — A Far Cry from Far Cry

75/ 100

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Lush and vibrant IP-accurate open-world sandbox, Fluid movement and traversal system, Simple but unique hunting and crafting mechanics


Riddled with cosmetic micro-transactions, Basic and messy shooting and stealth gameplay, Too familiar gameplay-loop, Disappointingly basic character customization

Posted December 7, 2023 by

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Since the first Avatar movie, the franchise had only ever seen failed and forgettable video game adaptations for the past 13 years. Now, with Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora, will we finally see a decent game worthy of the franchise? 


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Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora takes place in and around the events of the first movie. You play as a Na’vi who was taken by the RDA (Humans) at a young age and raised to be indoctrinated with the ways of the humans, along with a few other Na’vi younglings.

Years later, with the chaos sparked by the actions of Jake Sully from the first movie, your group manages to break free into the wilds of Pandora, joining the fight for freedom not long after escape. You must help Na’vi clans to fight off their oppressors and convince them to join the resistance.

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One thing’s for certain is that the story is very Avatar, with a few caveats. For starters, it doesn’t do much to push a narrative that’s different from the entire theme of the movies. Naïve Na’vi realize the tyranny of man and decides to avenge their land and their people, only told from different perspectives and similar scenarios. One other thing are the cutscenes, though there are definitely some that are much more immersive, majority are idle standing with NPCs in conversation. The motion and voice performance is definitely there, but nothing too cinematic like you would see in games like Uncharted or Horizon. A fair assumption considering this is based on a movie franchise, but serviceable at best.


There’s a few standout characters, definitely, but the game throws so many different characters at you that you wouldn’t be faulted to forget or even not care for some or most of them. This does affect some of the game’s emotional beats, but there’s still quite a few moments that we’re almost a tear jerker. Almost. Despite a near miss in connecting with the characters, there’s no doubt that I still felt a strong immersion through some other aspect of the game.


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The biggest and most obvious comparison at first glance is it’s similarity to Ubisoft’s Far Cry franchise. The concept is the same, you’re in an open world sandbox as a member of some kind of resistance, liberating the map one objective marker at a time. It’s a fair comparison, but you’d be remiss to assume it’s a straight reskin. A few things are significantly different. Far Cry can be a bit over the top but still always grounded to reality, while AFOP takes place in an entirely alien planet, with entirely different biomes.


There’s a few slight deviations from the core FC formula. Combat is much more simplified. You primarily fight with primitive weapons such as bows and spears, as well as a few RDA weaponry such as an assault rifle and a shotgun. Each gear can be customized with mods or crafted from materials found across the world. The base recipe, materials used, and quality of the materials all determine the weapons effectiveness and perks, and there are rare versions of materials that provided better bonuses but require a bit of effort to locate and collect.

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There’s a big emphasis on scavenging, hunting, and crafting, without ever feeling like information overload. Hunting for rare materials can be of a pain though as some descriptions can be confusing or misleading. Nevertheless, I was surprised by how much more interested I was in those features here than I ever was in Far Cry, likely much to do with how interesting the world of Avatar is.

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Traversal is also a bit different. You sprint faster than an average human, are significantly taller, and can jump quite high – higher if you hold the jump button down a bit first. You can also mantle and hurdle over almost anything, and if that wasn’t enough you’ll soon unlock you’re own Ikran, which is a flying creature you can ride which lets you fly near anywhere and land wherever. You can even fight while mounted if you so choose!

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Majority of the core mechanics are also simplified or made more forgiving, which personally I find as a welcome change, as this makes the core gameplay more enjoyable but also takes less attention away from the world, which I believe is the game’s primary selling point.

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This is where the game truly shines. Pandora is AFOP is breathtakingly beautiful. It is among the most lush, vivid, and unique open world maps I’ve seen in a long time, and I found myself taking a screenshot at almost every corner, and that’s not even an exaggeration. The visual quality alone is a good enough reason to pick up the game, and the simplified core gameplay loop makes playing in AFOP’s sandbox feel less mundane or repetitive. There’s quite a few fresh activities scattered about and some of them really leans in on the game’s flora and fauna.


Playing on a 2070S on Ultra-wide, I find the game surprisingly optimized. It certainly pushes my PC’s limits but I never even expected to be able to run on High let alone get decent frames. Playing on a standard 1080p display produces even better results, and people with high-end rigs will definitely end up with sparkly eyes and rainbow puke. Can’t comment on PS5 performance as the review was for PC.



Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora doesn’t break any new gaming grounds, and at worst, it’s still plagued by all the negative nuances of a typical Ubisoft open-world. BUT! All that being said, AFOP’s breathtaking photomode-prone world and dedication to the source material makes this an absolute MUST HAVE for fans of James’ Cameron’s IP or anyone who appreciates an open-world sandbox with insane visual fidelity, despite the somewhat mid gameplay. 

[This review is based on a PC retail copy of the game provided by the publisher.]

Dian Raval

Dian is a writer for Flipgeeks who, in his spare time, stares at a wall in his basement. If you'd like to discuss music, video games, or the infinite wisdom of concrete, follow him on twitter @iburnandfume or subscribe to his YouTube channel @iburnandfume. He's pretty much iburnandfume in everything. Apparently he... burns and fumes.


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