Year 2009 closed off grandly with the much anticipated release of epic science fiction film, Avatar by James Cameron, 12 years after his success with Titanic, the highest grossing film of all time. Avatar, which was originally scheduled to be filmed after the completion of Titanic had to be postponed as the technology required to portray his vision of the film was not yet available at that time. In fact, high tech cameras were customised and specifically built for the filming of the Avatar movie. The result was a stereoscopic movie experience with cutting edge video effects. 2 hours and 42 minutes may be a lifetime to sit through a movie, but Avatar left us craving for more. A sequel or a prequel maybe?
Better still. A video game.
A chance for Avatar fans to personally participate in the magical wonders and adventures of planet Pandora. Developed by french company Ubisoft, the game, also titled Avatar, has been released on Playstation 3, Xbox 360, PC, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS, iPhone, PSP and PC.
The game is set on the same moon as featured in the movie, with the same beautiful but hostile environment and the same inhabitants. It starts off with the player controlling Abel Ryder, a newly recruited RDA soldier assigned on a mission to locate a traitor within the team. But soon after, he is forced to choose either to continue fighting against the indigenous Na’vi tribe for the highly priced mineral called Unobtanium, or to transfer consciousness into a Na’vi avatar and defend Pandora from her human invaders.
According to most reviews, the player would gain an upper hand playing the role of an RDA soldier due to the multitude of advanced military weapons and vehicles available. You will be spoilt for choice with the wide selection of rifles, guns, grenade launchers, flame throwers and also have access to AMP suits, ATVs and missile-equipped aircraft. If you are on a trigger-happy, destructive streak, the RDA will be the undisputed option.
On the other hand, playing a Na’vi will leave you with primitive weapons such as bow and arrows, knives, clubs, staffs, and a relatively progressive machine gun. Also, close range combat adopted by the Na’vi can be a wee bit disorienting. The cool thing however, is their ability to instantly heal and teleport within short distances. The environment is also not as hostile to a Na’vi as it is to an RDA, thus making it easier for the former to navigate through the dense terrain.
Whether playing for the RDA or Na’vi, the goal and tasks remain the same. Both sides are able to unlock new skills and level up as they successfully accomplish specific missions. Conquest, a strategy mini-game inspired by Risk is also implemented within the game. Conquest mode lets the player accumulate points to enhance their skills by capturing new territories. There is also a multi-player mode available, enabling head-to-head team battles once having completed the main game twice.
What makes Avatar stand out from the other video games is its 3D capabilities. Hardcore gamers who appreciate equally hardcore graphics now have a valid excuse to invest in a 3D enabled monitor, or maybe they should consider waiting for leading television manufacturers like Sony and Samsung to launch the 3D TV by end of 2010. Avatar in 2D already boasts stunning and impressive effects, what more in 3D!