First look at Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora

After destroying my disk out of frustration a couple of weeks ago
I had not yet fully grasped your level of frustration with this. Personally I don't think I would have gone that far. Then again I only have a digital copy.

I agree the way the game has been set up can be jarringly frustrating at times. It feels sometimes like it is just you vs the entire RDA while the rest of your faction gets to chill in their base or home. I would say that is one of the least immersive things about the game, being forced into the one-man-army role. And then there are the times when you are going about your business walking through the forest when you get an indicator that something hostile has detected you. You get 2 seconds to react and then a thanator pops out and one-hit-kills you. You can't outrun and outgun it. Again, it seems that Quaritch was right with being shit out dead with zero warning when you get soft on Pandora, but it is only funny once...
 
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  • #62
So, I had a chance to get through maybe 1/3 of the main story, and likely only 1/10th (likely less) of the total content. Some impressions:

Graphically, this game is phenomenal. Easily the next Crysis, with a graphical jump and feel akin to that 2007 masterpiece. While graphics are typically not the most important thing in games, when it comes to Pandoran immersion it largely makes the experience, not just elevates it. For those of you who have not been playing games, it may look slightly worse than the movies, and it is, but as far as what's possible in 'real-time' rendering (i.e. a video game), no other game has reached what this game has as an overall package. Not Cyberpunk 2077, not Horizon Forbidden West, Not Alan Wake 2. Human face models and maybe some parts of the water are slightly questionable, but nothing big to nitpick here. Outstanding stuff overall, especially the ray-traced lighting, foliage density, and textures. Digital Foundry's unequivocal number 1. The sound is also ray-traced to the point of convincing realism where every sound you hear has a directional source (animals, leaves ruffling, etc.). It looks amazing on the PS5, Xbox X, and S as well, so not only on a high-end PC (though it scales well on weaker ones too).

Gameplay-wise, it is a solid experience. For gamers, it might be too much of a condition-optimizing, flower-picking walking simulator, while for non-gamer Avatar enthusiasts, it may have too much combat. I think this middle ground is probably the perfect balance of both, achieving the maximum amount of slow-paced cultural immersion, and the Pandoran hunter-gatherer experience that it could have while still having the budget of a AAA game. To have such a budget, it would have to appeal to the masses to some degree (meaning combat), and the budget from the mass appeal (likely $100-200 Million or more) is what is required for such a graphically impressive game to be available for only $70-100. Luckily combat and some gameplay elements of Far Cry and Crysis fit a lot of the themes of Avatar quite well (the last third of both movies). Voice acting is quite good, but can sound a bit juvenile at times, though, that's likely intentional for a Teen-rated game, and also how it would likely be if Pandora was real (many teen Na'vi around :) ). Flying feels and looks fantastic as well, but believe it or not, the foliage-boosted ground traversal system is even better. Frontiers of Pandora is a convincing solution to the longing we feel for Pandora, as well as a mirror to our Eywa, Gaia, Earth, which needs to be cared for.

Having said that, the combat can take some getting used to. And in many cases, can be avoided with some stealth and 'run and disable the switch' techniques, followed by running and hiding in the jungle for a bit. Make sure to be at least the minimum level required for the quest, ideally 1 or 2 over. Give yourself points towards health, ideally Vitality IV, and all the other vitalities. Other skills are more or less depending on your style... more damage? Or better food buffs, etc. Either pick top-quality plants and hunting components to build the best bows/armor you can so far, and/or do side quests and such to gain enough clan favor to obtain good bows and armor/clothing from the Na'vi at hometree. Touch all the bellsprigs and tarsyu saplings you can find. Study the biomes and your hunter guide.

@Wind12, which system were you playing on, by the way? Perhaps I can offer more system-specific tips to help! Everyone in this forum deserves to experience this game, as in many ways, it's like a more immersive 100+ hour variant of the movies. I do hope you can get another copy! Btw, the co-op works great, I play on PC while my wife on the PS5 sometimes. Give it a few more tries, and if nothing can help, I'd love to hop on co-op and help you out!
 
So, I had a chance to get through maybe 1/3 of the main story, and likely only 1/10th (likely less) of the total content. Some impressions:

Graphically, this game is phenomenal. Easily the next Crysis, with a graphical jump and feel akin to that 2007 masterpiece. While graphics are typically not the most important thing in games, when it comes to Pandoran immersion it largely makes the experience, not just elevates it. For those of you who have not been playing games, it may look slightly worse than the movies, and it is, but as far as what's possible in 'real-time' rendering (i.e. a video game), no other game has reached what this game has as an overall package. Not Cyberpunk 2077, not Horizon Forbidden West, Not Alan Wake 2. Human face models and maybe some parts of the water are slightly questionable, but nothing big to nitpick here. Outstanding stuff overall, especially the ray-traced lighting, foliage density, and textures. Digital Foundry's unequivocal number 1. The sound is also ray-traced to the point of convincing realism where every sound you hear has a directional source (animals, leaves ruffling, etc.). It looks amazing on the PS5, Xbox X, and S as well, so not only on a high-end PC (though it scales well on weaker ones too).

Gameplay-wise, it is a solid experience. For gamers, it might be too much of a condition-optimizing, flower-picking walking simulator, while for non-gamer Avatar enthusiasts, it may have too much combat. I think this middle ground is probably the perfect balance of both, achieving the maximum amount of slow-paced cultural immersion, and the Pandoran hunter-gatherer experience that it could have while still having the budget of a AAA game. To have such a budget, it would have to appeal to the masses to some degree (meaning combat), and the budget from the mass appeal (likely $100-200 Million or more) is what is required for such a graphically impressive game to be available for only $70-100. Luckily combat and some gameplay elements of Far Cry and Crysis fit a lot of the themes of Avatar quite well (the last third of both movies). Voice acting is quite good, but can sound a bit juvenile at times, though, that's likely intentional for a Teen-rated game, and also how it would likely be if Pandora was real (many teen Na'vi around :) ). Flying feels and looks fantastic as well, but believe it or not, the foliage-boosted ground traversal system is even better. Frontiers of Pandora is a convincing solution to the longing we feel for Pandora, as well as a mirror to our Eywa, Gaia, Earth, which needs to be cared for.

Having said that, the combat can take some getting used to. And in many cases, can be avoided with some stealth and 'run and disable the switch' techniques, followed by running and hiding in the jungle for a bit. Make sure to be at least the minimum level required for the quest, ideally 1 or 2 over. Give yourself points towards health, ideally Vitality IV, and all the other vitalities. Other skills are more or less depending on your style... more damage? Or better food buffs, etc. Either pick top-quality plants and hunting components to build the best bows/armor you can so far, and/or do side quests and such to gain enough clan favor to obtain good bows and armor/clothing from the Na'vi at hometree. Touch all the bellsprigs and tarsyu saplings you can find. Study the biomes and your hunter guide.

@Wind12, which system were you playing on, by the way? Perhaps I can offer more system-specific tips to help! Everyone in this forum deserves to experience this game, as in many ways, it's like a more immersive 100+ hour variant of the movies. I do hope you can get another copy! Btw, the co-op works great, I play on PC while my wife on the PS5 sometimes. Give it a few more tries, and if nothing can help, I'd love to hop on co-op and help you out!
Irayo nìtxan for trying to help, sadly trying to figure out strategy in real time is definitely not my strong suit, I just don't have the skill to get anywhere, its a beautiful world but not being competent enough to unlock 99 percent of it, or even to get far enough to unlock co-op, just has made it into a very depressing thing for me, I honestly don't know if I will get another disk or not, I love Pandora, but FOP just makes me sad with the thought that this new version of exploring Avatar has passed my ageing brain by. The system that I used was a PS5. I could get my brother to do it, but then it won't be my journey and I won't be shaping the development of my Sarentu, as it would be his gaming style that would develop the character, and it would hurt in a different way. I hate to say it but my Sarentu's journey has ended. 😔
 
I hate to say it but my Sarentu's journey has ended. 😔
I really wish there was something I could do here to turn it around for you.

Personally I prefer a keyboard and mouse and I wouldn't be able to properly control anything with a console game controller. So I guess for you it is the other way around? Or have you simply picked a platform without knowing your preference? It that case, I would ask myself the question if it was the correct choice.
 
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I really wish there was something I could do here to turn it around for you.

Personally I prefer a keyboard and mouse and I wouldn't be able to properly control anything with a console game controller. So I guess for you it is the other way around? Or have you simply picked a platform without knowing your preference? It that case, I would ask myself the question if it was the correct choice.
The only games I have ever played (outside of Oregon trail at school #lukoaktan) was via console ( I finished the original Avatar game on an XBox) honestly buying a whole PC system, trying to learn a whole new way of gaming, just in hopes of succeeding at one game( even if it is Pandora) is just out of my league, the only reason I "have" the PS5 is that my brother uses it, and last year I went in half on it knowing that one day FOP would arrive.
 
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  • #66
@Wind12, oh yes, co-op is not yet available at that point, unfortunately. I think, in a way, it's the lesser of two evils to let 1% of the game (that one, rather forgettable drill tower combat situation) be done by someone else such as your brother than to deprive 95% of the experience for you/your hero's journey. It's not much different than doing co-op when 90% of the fight would be done by someone else. Also... watching a movie is experiencing a journey as if someone else is playing it 100% of the time! Yet we were all moved greatly by the first Avatar, no?

You will, in time get better at the combat naturally - whether from hunts, or just lesser combat experiences, or just from having the ability to boost health stats. I genuinely think that you need an external push that you may not be comfortable with, but would then appreciate in hindsight. A slight real-life version of what Neytiri did to Jake, throwing him outside of his comfort zone :) . A Psychology hack for the 'software', definitely nothing lacking hardware-wise in your brain as you alluded to!

Are you situated in Ontario / GTA by any chance btw?
 
@Wind12, oh yes, co-op is not yet available at that point, unfortunately. I think, in a way, it's the lesser of two evils to let 1% of the game (that one, rather forgettable drill tower combat situation) be done by someone else such as your brother than to deprive 95% of the experience for you/your hero's journey. It's not much different than doing co-op when 90% of the fight would be done by someone else. Also... watching a movie is experiencing a journey as if someone else is playing it 100% of the time! Yet we were all moved greatly by the first Avatar, no?

You will, in time get better at the combat naturally - whether from hunts, or just lesser combat experiences, or just from having the ability to boost health stats. I genuinely think that you need an external push that you may not be comfortable with, but would then appreciate in hindsight. A slight real-life version of what Neytiri did to Jake, throwing him outside of his comfort zone :) . A Psychology hack for the 'software', definitely nothing lacking hardware-wise in your brain as you alluded to!

Are you situated in Ontario / GTA by any chance btw?
I probably will go that route at some point, I am just taking it hard right now.
Actually kehe (no) I live in Missouri, I met TLFN on Avatar forums (now defunct) years ago and we chatted alot, became good friends and met IRL on some Avatar oriented meets, I have been to Toronto twice now though :)
 
The only games I have ever played (outside of Oregon trail at school #lukoaktan) was via console ( I finished the original Avatar game on an XBox) honestly buying a whole PC system, trying to learn a whole new way of gaming, just in hopes of succeeding at one game( even if it is Pandora) is just out of my league, the only reason I "have" the PS5 is that my brother uses it, and last year I went in half on it knowing that one day FOP would arrive.
It is understandable if you don't even have a PC that you are reluctant to switch over. I suppose if you are more used to a console game controller there wouldn't be much to be gained anyway. I have had my own PC for over 20 years and I have been playing games on PC every now and then for the past 25 years, so I guess I would have an easier time with AFOP overall, even though I don't consider myself to be a gamer. I use a PC also for mass storage of other media, for video editing, for data processing, etc.

I got a second hand XBox for free once; only thing I did with it was modify it to run a PC-like operating system when I found out that the proprietary harddisk couldn't be ripped out and used in a regular PC. :)

You will, in time get better at the combat naturally - whether from hunts, or just lesser combat experiences, or just from having the ability to boost health stats.
I can definitely confirm this. Once you figure out how to gather the right resources you can upgrade your character to such a level that you can easily rip through the bases around you. This is true even when playing on medium. Also, by now, I kind of have a reflex of drawing my character's weapon when I see or hear something strange around me.

I have been taking it slow with the game, and am probably halfway through the story now after almost 2 months. The game reminds me a little bit of how real life works unlike how movies work. In movies you only get to see the good or interesting bits of the characters' lives, while in the game you kind of just live on Pandora and there isn't a noteworthy experience every day as there also wouldn't be in real life. Imagine if the original Avatar had been let's say 100 hours long. You would have seen long scenes of not-so-exciting things happening also. But every one in a while you encounter something truly beautiful or extraordinary and that makes it worthwhile (both real life and the game).

So, like real life where you must do things that you would rather not, in the game you have more or less a day job as a warrior fighting the RDA. And you fight them so that you can enjoy the true wonders of Pandora. So the game doesn't give you the wonders of Pandora for free; you have to work for them, but then it is a lot more satisfying when you finally get to experience them.
 
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