Avatar: Frontiers of Pandord Review – Hello Far Cry 7

Title – Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora

Platforms – PS5, Xbox Series X/S, PC

Release Date –  October 27, 2023

Developer – Massive

Publisher – Ubisoft

MSRP – $69.99

ESRB – T for Teen

Disclaimer –  Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora was reviewed on the PC. Thanks to Ubisoft for providing a digital review code. Gaming Instincts is an Amazon Affiliate and does gain financial benefits if you choose to purchase this product on this page.

2023 has been an insane year for games with titles such as Baldur’s Gates 3, Starfield, Hogwarts Legacy, Zelda Tears of the Kingdom, and many others. Now Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora is about to close out the year. Avatar is quite a big name in the film/movie industry, but now it’s hoping to make a big splash in video games. Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora is an open-world FPS game, and as we all know, Ubisoft is no stranger to open-world titles. But the question is, can they do justice to the movies and make things right for an Avatar open-world game? Let’s find out. Welcome to our review of Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora.

The Premise

If you watched any of the movies or know anything about Avatar, you will know what to expect from the narrative and its premise. It’s very similar to the films, but it takes place on the Western frontier, which has not been shown in the movies yet. The majority of the game also takes place a year before Avatar: The Way of Water, which was the sequel released in December 2022. You might be asking yourself… do I need to watch the first movie or any of them to get an idea of what’s happening? And the answer is no, not really. The start of the game takes place after the first film, and then it jumps forward a bit.

The best way to look at it, as far as the timeline goes, is as parallel to the movies. The cast of characters in Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora is completely new and is not seen in any of the films previously released. Whether you are new to the films, or the game, you won’t be missing out on anything. It’s still a good way to get introduced to the beautiful world of Pandora. As far as the plotline itself goes, I am going to be transparent and brutally honest. It’s very boring. I did not find the cast interesting or the writing any good. Characters are also not memorable due to the “politically correct” tropes that you’d come to expect from modern video game writers, and it doesn’t help that the voice acting is atrocious both for the NPCs and your main character. This is quite sad because Avatar is a massive universe with lots of cool lore behind it. Unfortunately, Ubisoft’s writing team completely dropped the ball on this one. If you are looking for a good, gripping storyline set in the Avatar universe, then you will be quite disappointed.

Welcome to Pandora

If there is one impressive thing about Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora, then it’s the breathtaking visuals and aesthetics. Ubisoft nailed the look and feel of the universe. If you ever wanted to experience the world of Avatar, then this is it. The game was running at 4K over 60FPS on a Ryzen 9 7950X CPU and a 4090 RTX GPU and looked stunning.

Everything looks fantastic, including wildlife, plants, cliffs, rivers, and so on.  Pandora itself truly feels like an alien world in combination with a tropical island and jungle. If you are looking for a good visual feast and fan service in terms of atmosphere and aesthetics then you have found it. It’s nearly impossible to complain about the visuals and the game’s art style. The game has a full day/night cycle and weather. When it starts raining, you will start to see a massive shift in colors and mood of the world.

Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora

Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora is also quite a vertical game, which means the players can get high up and look down at beautiful vistas and adore everything they see. Sometimes, I don’t even want to play the game or continue the storyline. I’d rather explore just to immerse myself in this drop-dead gorgeous world. It’s nice to finally see a game that looks like it has next-gen visuals.

The Gameplay

Now it’s time we talk about the gameplay, and unfortunately, this is where it may fall flat for some players. If you’ve ever played a Ubisoft game before or the previous Far Cry titles, then I am afraid to say that not much has changed here. Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora relies heavily on the Avatar IP, but the reality is that you’ve played this game before.

The game shares a good amount of similar mechanics from titles such as the previous Far Cry games and Horizon  Zero Dawn or the recently released Horizon Forbidden West. In Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora, you will be clearing out random outposts to unlock new travel points, hunting wildlife, and collecting cooking ingredients to craft food that gives you buffs. You may also gather a variety of plants and materials to craft new gear, such as weapons and armor.

While I believe all of these mechanics are well done, the reality is that we’ve all done this kind of stuff before. The only difference is that now it’s taking place in an Avatar universe. Honestly, I believe Ubisoft did a really good job when it comes to nailing the fantasy of being a Navi hunter. I wish this game was a full-on multiplayer survival title rather than just a single-player sandbox game. Don’t get me wrong, I love single-player games, but this game is very similar to titles like Horizon and Far Cry, and I’ve already had enough of those. It just feels like a new skin or, rather, a new theme park that is not much different.

However, if you’ve never played the games I’ve previously mentioned then, Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora will feel fantastic. But by this point, this game won’t blow the majority of gamers away with its gameplay. Despite all of that though, there is still some fun to be had.

One thing that stuck out to me was the “Survival Hunter” feel of Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora. I don’t know what it is, but Ubisoft does a great job when the bow is your primary weapon. It’s hard to explain, but the bow combat feels incredible. Also, since you are playing as a Navi, it is only natural that you can jump super high and run fast. The very agile hunter and the amazing bow combat are the few things that set this game apart from others of its ilk. And yes, you can use human weapons as well, such as assault rifles, but honestly, the bow is and can be very powerful, especially if you craft a higher-quality one. There is also a staff that can place traps and destroys enemy vehicles with ease.

Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora

Everything else feels very standard, such as the mainline quests, side quests, talking to NPCs, crafting, and so on. The game does have a skill system that’s very similar to other titles where you gain points as you level up, and then you can choose different skill trees to invest your points into. Again, that is nothing new and doesn’t make the game more unique than others. At this point, skill trees are just like a default feature that most RPGs and action games have these days.

Final Verdict

I do not believe that Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora is a bad game. It’s above average, but it just doesn’t feel any different from other open-world action titles I’ve played in recent years. The excellent visuals are the one thing that sticks out along with the fantastic traversal, platforming, and bow combat. You won’t find a well-written story here or a memorable cast of characters, which is a complete shame because they could have done something really interesting. But sadly, you can thank the “modern-day video game writers” for that as they would rather appeal to a certain crowd than focus on quality.

The game is $69.99, so you’ll be spending quite a bit of money. There is nothing in here that justifies such a price point despite it being a new next-gen-only title from Ubisoft. Honestly, I would wait until it’s cheap or available to rent. However, if you are a big Avatar fan, then it might be worth it for you. Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora will be receiving a final verdict of 7 out of 10.