Game Review : Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora feels like a wasted opportunity

Hot off the heels of one of the most commercially successful film sequels of all time, Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora delivers a visually stunning experience that showcases the capabilities of the PS5, and earns its stripes as a graphical powerhouse. Running at a smooth 60 frames per second, its visuals are simply breathtaking, and the attention to detail in creating the world of Pandora is certainly commendable. On the other hand, the gameplay falters with generic missions that fail to recapture the magic of the movies or propel the series forward. 

Fighting the Good Fight

You play as a Navi who was captured as a young child by the RDA (Resource Development Administration) who are attempting to radicalise a group of Navi to improve their relations around Pandora. After the events of the first movie ignited Jake Sully’s rebellion, your character goes into cryo-sleep for a decade, only waking to free yourself from the clutches of the RDA and set off on a mission to unite the different Navi clans across the Western frontier to get eliminate the RDA and claim their land back.

General Angela Harding and eccentric RDA agent John Mercer then serve as primary antagonists to give you a hard time. Throughout the campaign, you don’t actually see much of these two in person, and the anticlimactic final confrontation cements how bare-bones the campaign really is. It’s quite disappointing that a game of this blockbuster nature has such little care given to its story, given the films excel at character development and high stakes. This also goes for the side missions and random quests around Pandora. 

Like the villains, many things are one-dimensional and fail to evoke any meaningful emotional investment from players. Even encounters with the Navi, a central element of the Avatar universe, feel surprisingly bland. The villainous RDA group, while intended to be a formidable force, comes off as buffoons, and the weapons available to players easily overpower them. This imbalance diminishes the sense of challenge and excitement that should come with facing a powerful adversary.

Spectacular Scenery

The game’s environment is admittedly as immersive as it gets, blending familiar film scenery alongside new and captivating flora and fauna. The world feels both alive and vibrant, capturing the essence of the Avatar universe. The graphics are incredibly impressive on next-gen hardware, and even in performance mode, when the game kicks it up to 60fps, the overall visual spectacle remains relatively unaffected, showing just how much the game has been meticulously crafted visually. 

Controlling your Navi character does help bring the world to life. You can run, jump and slide your way through Pandora, you can use vines to easily get up and down tall trees to access different areas. Once you find and bond with your Imran, the game completely opens up and it is much quicker to traverse across different areas of Pandora. There is a customisation option for your character which does help determine the gender, the rest of the options are cosmetic and you don’t see enough of your character for this to really make an impact.

However, the campaign is where Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora falters, resulting in a middling overall score. The side missions and various quests across Pandora are disappointingly repetitive and often feel like a tedious grind. Unfortunately, none of the missions could stand out as great or even good, which left me longing for more engaging and varied content. There is a season pass with additional content coming, so there is still a chance for redemption; regrettably, though, as it currently stands, this is not the single-player Avatar experience I was hoping for. While it’s not necessarily bad, it’s just the fact that the characters and missions are completely forgettable, verging on the side of being quite boring. 

Final Thoughts

While Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora excels in creating a visually stunning world, the lacklustre gameplay and forgettable characters prevent it from reaching its full potential. Fans of the two films may find enjoyment in exploring Pandora’s lush landscapes, but the repetitive missions and underwhelming adversaries leave them yearning for a more engaging experience. Despite its flaws, the game serves as a testament to the graphical capabilities of next-gen hardware and the dedication put into crafting a faithful, visually spectacular world.


Highlights: Visually stunning, New unexplored side of Pandora to roam
Lowlights: Lacklustre campaign, Non-threatening villains.
Developer: Massive Entertainment, Ubisoft Düsseldorf, FoxNext, Ubisoft Shanghai, Massive Entertainment AB
Publisher: Ubisoft
Platforms: PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, Windows PC
Available: Now

Review conducted on PlayStation 5 with a code provided by the publisher.