Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora review | Agents of Fandom

‘Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora’ Is a Beautiful, If Not Frustrating, Experience

The latest Ubisoft game has the developer’s beautiful yet exhausting stamp all over it.

In a world where video games are a $12 billion industry and rising, many major movie franchises and characters have their quintessential game to go along with it. Insomniac Games has successfully cornered the market on the Spider-Man franchise, and Rocksteady has delivered several all-time greats with the Batman Arkham games. Fans of James Cameron‘s Avatar franchise have been waiting since 2009 for a game to capture the beautiful spirit of Pandora faithfully, and Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora does exactly that.

As with any video game, nailing the world and the gameplay mechanics are two entirely different things. Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora soars as high as an ikran in delivering an immersive version of Pandora to explore and enjoy, but some puzzling gameplay and creative decisions severely hinder the experience. Ultimately, Frontiers of Pandora has much to offer, but the closer you look at it, the more problems you find.

‘Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora’ Review: A Fun Time With a Disappointing Developer’s Stamp

The main character in Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora jumping off a cliff ready to land on their Ikran | Agents of Fandom
Put your trust in your ikran to save you when jumping off a tall cliff, and they’ll come through every time. Image Credit: Ubisoft.

For better and for (mostly) worse, Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora is a Ubisoft game, accompanied by all the frustratingly familiar aspects that fans of Assassin’s Creed and Far Cry know all too well. One of which is a useless microtransaction store that is designed strictly to siphon as much money out of players as humanly possible. The trend of full-price games having more things to purchase inside of them needs to die. Although none of the items are “necessities,” it’s an eyesore to have thrown in your face each time you load in and pause the game.

Sadly, it doesn’t stop there. The loot and leveling systems are the antithesis of rewarding. Each new piece of gear and mod to attach to it doesn’t give any unique bonus or anything to make it stand out, except for the fact it bumps your level up so you can take on higher-powered enemies. If you’re a level 12 and stumble upon a level 15 enemy base, there is no way for you to take it out until you acquire higher-level gear to boost your power level. This common Ubisoft mechanic is, at times, infuriating. It leads you to run around the map, avoiding specific areas and quests until you find the right pair of pants or shirt to boost your damage/damage resistance to make exploring those areas possible.

The main story is also nothing to write home about, and the side quests feel remarkably empty. Most side activities offer little in the way of a satisfying experience and instead opt for a “go here, fetch this, and take it there” that leads to them feeling boring and repetitive. The main story has some great moments, but the emotional beats come and go far too quickly to truly feel the weight of them. The characters in Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora aren’t poorly-written, but developed without passion in a way that leads to all of them, including the main protagonist, being intensely forgettable.

Exploring Pandora’s Beautiful Landscapes Exonerates Most Issues

One of the many beautiful landscapes on Pandora in Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora | Agents of Fandom
It’s impossible not to get distracted exploring the many beautiful settings of Pandora. Image Credit: Ubisoft.

Although Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora has many distracting flaws, what it gets right far outweighs the clunky mechanics, especially for fans of the 2009 and 2022 movies. The RDA (Resources Development Administration) has been holding the main character, a native Na’vi, captive for their entire life. What Ubisoft not only gets right but knocks out of the park in this game is being able to explore and discover the beauty of Pandora alongside your character as you progress. Stepping out into Pandora for the first time is a mesmerizing experience.

Thankfully, that excitement doesn’t fizzle out after you take your first steps, but it extends just as fluidly as the Na’vi traversing the beautiful landscapes they call home. It certainly takes some getting used to, but once you get a grasp of it, making your way around the forests, plains, and mountains of Pandora is endlessly satisfying. The “hold to jump” mechanic present in Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora is reminiscent of cyberware enhancements in Cyberpunk 2077, but it feels far more intuitive and rewarding here.

Above all else, Frontiers of Pandora truly makes you feel like Na’vi. Whether it’s climbing to the rookery and bonding with your ikran, riding a direhorse through the plains, or fighting to free your home from the Sky People, it’s a genuinely authentic Avatar experience. The mixture of different bows and guns in combat creates many satisfying ways to take down enemies and leaves you feeling like Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) leading the Omatikaya into battle. The score and themes bear a passing resemblance to that of the movie, but bring a fresh perspective that makes the game further stand out.

Mileage Will Certainly Vary on ‘Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora’

The main character standing in the foliage holding his bow in Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora | Agents of Fandom
The RDA may have the advantage in terms of firepower, but knowing the lay of the land gives the Na’vi the upper hand. Image Credit: Ubisoft.

Your enjoyment level for Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora will boil directly down to your attachment to the movie franchise. If you’re passionate about James Cameron’s movie universe, you’ll happily spend endless hours exploring the beautiful world of Pandora. If you’re interested in a top-tier RPG and have little to no interest in the movies, you’ll likely find more flaws than fun.

Although this game isn’t perfect, it’s a great place to start and is undoubtedly the new face of Avatar gaming. It’s unknown at this time if there will be an Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora 2, but if Ubisoft decides to develop a sequel, this is as good a starting point as you can ask for. With several DLCs coming over the next year and the game still in the early stages, the future is bright for Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora.

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'Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora' Review

'Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora' Review
3.8 5 0 1
3.8 rating
Total Score

The Good

  • The landscapes are breathtaking.
  • The game provides an authentic Na'vi experience.
  • Combat feels satisfying and immersive.

The Bad

  • Loot mechanics are very frustrating.
  • Microtransaction store is a waste.
  • Main story and side quests are a bit of a drag.
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