Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora on PC / Ubisoft Connect – The DVDfever Review

Avatar: Frontiers of PandoraAvatar: Frontiers of Pandora Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora

Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora has finally launched and I have to say I have been waiting on this one for what seems an age! Ubisoft announced this years ago with the stunning trailer and I was hooked from that moment. I will admit I still enjoy the earlier Avatar game also from Ubisoft, released in 2009, which still works flawlessly on Windows 11 without the need for any tinkering.

Frontiers of Pandora is initially set 5 years prior to the first movie, with you as a child from the now lost Sarentu tribe of Na’vi. Take that as abducted for a program, whilst the tribe was massacred by the Sky People (aka the RDA). This is essentially to get you to reason with the other tribes, to get to the unobtanium (crazy name right there! So once the Na’vi are cleared out of an area is it called obtanium?! Someone needs to ask James Cameron about that one!). All hell breaks loose and you end up in suspended animation to save you and the rest of the kids from being killed.

You are awoken by the same scientist that was teaching you in their Avatar, 16 years later. Of course the RDA turn up to kill and destroy everything and you have to escape the facility. This teaches you the basics of movement and stealth going through tunnels and vents and sneaking past various soldiers.

It all sets the scene perfectly for what is to come.

Immediately joining the resistance once you have fled, gives you full access to the open world of Pandora. You will start out in a basin that you can explore and get your first bow on route to the resistance headquarters. You will end up in a small battle and get to use your Na’vi senses for the first time, to collect reeds to craft arrows and to tag enemies, as well as being able to see and be able to track animal scents and their routes in an area (the Na’vi senses very much reminds me of Horizon Zero Dawn and using Aloy’s Focus).

Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora – Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora – Official Game Overview Trailer | Ubisoft Forward

The gameplay itself is very much what you would expect from a modern Triple A open world game, especially one from Ubisoft themselves. As you explore and remove the cloud cover you will see various blue and pink dots scattered about the area. Small pink dots are usually Bellspring which when touched increases your health a bit permanently or maybe something like a new weapon or bit of kit for yourself or Ikran or if a Tarsyu Sapling you will get a few skill points. The larger pink dots though are the Tarsyu Flowers which teaches you one of the ancestor skills. Blue dots tend to be locations you have already discovered and you can fast travel to most of them to speed up getting around.

Exploration is key as virtually everything you see can be scanned for information and / or collected for crafting weapons, meals (that give various buffs) and equipment. You will also gain favour with the Na’vi clans by donating certain highlighted items. Sometimes these donations can be as simple as a superior collected item or in some cases a weapon that you will have received a crafting diagram for. It really makes doing the side quests worthwhile as they all have their own small unique story and integrates into the bigger picture of Pandora and the life cycle.

Of course the main objectives are usually clearing out refineries that are poisoning the landscape and taking out the RDA much like what you get in the movies whilst engaging with the various clans.

Like I briefly mentioned earlier the game is similar to other open world titles especially the Horizon & Far Cry series. You get skill points to add to the 5 skill trees which covers combat, traversal, Ikran and gathering etc. Skill levels are based on equipment so you will be swapping out mods and updating bows and other weapons every so often so you are levelled enough to tackle the upcoming missions.

The gameplay cycle has you exploring and becoming more powerful and knowledgeable about your Na’vi heritage whilst clearing out the RDA. The mission to get your Ikran is very similar to the way Jake Skully gets his in the first movie. You even get pushed off the floating cliffs and as you flip over call your Ikran to land on it and make your first flight. It captures what the first movie did with the scene and it is awe inspiring flying through treetops and seeing Pandora from the air.

Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora – Full Gameplay Walkthrough / No Commentary 【FULL GAME】4K 60FPS Ultra HD – Gamer’s Little Playground

Combat side of things you can go loud or sneak about gradually taking out enemies. You will tag enemies using your Na’vi senses so can track where they are but your senses also highlight weak points on armour or clean kill points when hunting. Hitting these points usually takes a mech or animal out with a single shot making stealth a decent option. Enemies at the various facilities will notice the soldiers you have taken out so you have to do a bit of forward planning to get to an objective without being spotted. Going loud using the RDA shotgun or assault rifle will have enemies swarming in on your location and even calling in reinforcements. This is where you can go full on sliding under the mech suits and shooting them on the weak spots from behind, shooting various barrels and fuel cannisters to cause as much chaos as possible. You do feel like a resistance guerilla fighter at times.

Once in the air you can clear the skies attacking the RDA floating facilities which affect the flying Pandora critters but also taking out the Bicopters patrolling the areas surrounding them. It is really cool strafing on your Ikran taking out the gunner with your oversized arrow and then hitting the propeller blades making the Bicopters spiral down to ground with loss of power. You really feel like a Na’vi defending your home planet.

Visually you are on Pandora. Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora is quite possibly one of the most beautiful games I have ever seen in all my years gaming. You can tell that the developers are passionate about the source material covering minute details if you care to look.

I have put so many hours into Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora over the past week and still only uncovered around a third of the map. It is addictive in the right kind of way. Yeah it is similar to the Far Cry and Horizon series of games but it still draws you in because it is Pandora with its unique flora and fauna. If you love the James Cameron cinematic universe then this game is a no-brainer and you have to buy it. If you enjoy open world games in general with plenty to see and do again you just can’t go wrong.

On my system with a Ryzen 7 5800x, 32Gb DDR4 @ 3200Mhz, RTX 4070 12Gb and installed on a Crucial SATA SSD performance hovers steady around the 60fps mark at 1440p high details. Enabling AMD FSR3 and using Frame Generation and High Quality scaling with details set to ultra with motion blur off my system can hit anywhere from 100-120fps at 1440p. I have had no errors, crashes or glitches at all during my play time so far which is always a plus given some games releasing in a terrible state this year.

Thanks to our friends at Ubisoft for the review code.

Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora is out now on Xbox Series X / Xbox One, PC / Ubisoft Launcher and PS5.

Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora – Launch Accoldates Trailer | Ubisoft

Important info:

  • Developer: Massive Entertainment
  • Publisher: Ubisoft
  • Players: Single and Co-Op

    OVERALL 8.5