James Camerons Avatar The Game Wii Analysis Essay
|James Cameron's Avatar: The Game|
Fox Digital Entertainment
|Release||Microsoft Windows, Nintendo DS, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 & WiiPlayStation PortableiPhoneiPadAndroid|
|Genre(s)||Third-person shooter, action-adventure|
James Cameron's Avatar: The Game is a 2009 third-personaction video game based on James Cameron's 2009 film Avatar. The game was developed by Ubisoft Montreal and released on the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows, Wii and Nintendo DS on December 1, 2009, with a PSP version released later on December 7, 2009. It uses the same technology as the film to be displayed in stereoscopic 3D. As of May 19, 2010, the game has sold nearly 2.7 million copies.
The game, which acts as a prequel to the film, features Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang, Michelle Rodriguez, and Giovanni Ribisi reprise their roles from the film. The casting and voice production for Avatar: The Game was handled by Blindlight.
The online services for the game were shut down on August 8, 2014.
Set in 2152, two years before the events of the film, Avatar: The Game starts out with a new signals specialist, named Able Ryder, arriving at Pandora, assigned to an area called Blue Lagoon, a large piece of jungle, fenced in to make sure no larger predators get inside. Their first mission is to save five marines from Viperwolves, with their CO, Kendra Midori, suggesting they use a turret to help fend off the wolves. After saving the marines, Ryder must go help another Sig Spec, Dalton, who is afraid of the Viperwolves and trapped outside the fence.
Helping out at another base, Ryder is told to go fix the fences and animal repulsors, which are attracting creatures rather than keeping them away. After fixing the fences, Ryder is told to enter his avatar. Ryder's first mission in his avatar body is to get cell samples from certain non-hostile plants. After getting the samples, a Na'vi, Tan Jala, tells Ryder to kill his infected animals. A RDA air strike is then seen being launched on the Na'vi village where Ryder had locked the signal. He finds out that there is a mole and that it is one of the avatar drivers. He must then follow Tan Jala, who will lead him to the mole. After finding who the mole is, a scientist named Rene Harper, who is sympathetic with the Na'vi plight, Ryder sees the Na'vi village destroyed in the air strike previously. Commander Falco and his soldiers arrive via helicopter and try to force Rene into surrender. Harper then tries to persuade Ryder to join the Na'vi and leave the RDA. When Falco hears this, he orders Ryder to shoot Rene Harper and keep his allegiance to the Corporation. Ryder must then make a game-altering decision of siding with the defensive Na'vi or siding with the more offensive, better- armed RDA.
If the player sides with the RDA, Ryder, Commander Falco, and his soldiers corner Rene Harper, and he jumps from a cliff rather than surrender to the RDA. As Rene falls, he shoots Ryder in the chest with a bow and arrow. His avatar is killed, but Ryder's human body survives.
As he returns to base on a Scorpion with Kendra, two banshees attack and force down the helicopter. No one is killed, but the pilot is hurt in the crash. Midori informs Ryder of a base near the Crash Site, and that he could use one of the aircraft. However, when he arrives, he finds the base is under constant attack by banshees, resulting in the destruction of many operational Scorpion and Samson helicopters, and causing many casualties. Ryder enters the control room, and the commander tells him to take a helicopter above and destroy the banshee nests, eradicating the banshee threat. When Ryder returns to retrieve missiles from the Crash Site, he learns that the pilot died from his injuries. He reequips the missiles to the helicopter and completes the task, and the player can see that aerial reinforcements are arriving and battling any remaining banshees in the area. Ryder is then ordered to collect three unobtainium shards so that with the help of them he could extract the harmonic from a Willow Tree which would help the RDA to find The Well Of Souls. Ryder collects the shards and then extracts the harmonic. He is again summoned at Hell's Gate and is given a new pilot as his previous pilot died from injuries. He meets with Dr. Monroe who tells him to feed the harmonic into a device called the Emulator. He explains to him that the Na'vi access the planet from a place called the Tree Of Souls, but there is also another dormant site called the Well Of Souls and it could act like a back door entrance for them to cut the connection of the Na'vi from the planet. In order to pinpoint the location of the dormant site they needed enough harmonics.
Ryder is transported to a combat area known as the FEBA, where Na'vi warriors, under the powerful Beyda'mo (who, ironically, dislikes Ryder, even if he joins the Na'vi), are inflicting death and destruction to the RDA and slowing the advance to a halt. At this point his primary goal is to collect the shards and extract the harmonic. But in the process he has to kill Beyda'mo.
After that he is transported to Grave's Bog where along with collecting the shards and extracting the harmonic he also has to kill Tan jala in the process. He then goes to The Hanging Gardens where he discovers that Dr. Harper is still alive and works for the Na'vi with two other people. After killing them he comes to know that Commander Falco went rogue and has stolen the Emulator and has killed Dr. Monroe.
Ryder then travels to The Plains Of Goliath for his final missions. Upon arrival he is ordered to eliminate three Na'vi leaders and the first leader persuades him to join the Na'vi but the player can decline it and after killing the other leaders he is given a Dragon Ship to go to Tantalus and get some charges from Boom Boom Batista and blow up the stone wall and access the Dragon Ship to go to the Well Of Souls. After arriving there he finds that Falco is trying to activate the Emulator. After killing Falco Ryder activates the Emulator and cuts the connection of the Na'vi behind him from Ewya. This finishes the game. However, if the player chooses to accept Swawta's request he has to kill the RDA leaders instead.
The Wii and PSP versions have a different storyline, where the player character is a young Na'vi named Raiuk who engages in a personal vendetta against the RDA after they attack his village.
At first the player is allowed to choose the appearance of the character from a set of pre-defined faces, although not the name. On the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC versions, the player is able to choose a side - to fight for the Na'vis or for the RDA - each offering different gameplay, weapon set, skill set, and environment.
As a soldier, the player is equipped with firearms such as assault rifles, shotguns, grenade launchers, and flamethrowers. The soldier generally have to eliminate the enemies, which are fast and resilient and usually charging towards the player, from afar. Playing as an Avatar limits the player to only one Avatar-issued machine gun and various primitive weapons such as bows, crossbows and melee weapons. The Avatar player usually has to charge the enemies since ranged weapon are either weak (the machine gun), have slow rate of fire (bows and crossbows), or have limited ammunition; however, the human enemies are generally weak and the basic foot soldiers can die after getting hit once with one strike of a club. The environment also reacts differently to the character: many plants will attack the soldier, while the Avatar can walk past said plants unharmed. A variety of vehicles or mounts are also available to each race.
If the player's health is reduced to 0, they can use a recovery that instantly recovers to full health. Recoveries can be acquired by gathering cell samples left behind by killed creatures (including Humans or Na'vi) or plants, but only 5 Recoveries can be carried at any one time (excluding the PS3 version, which has a limit of 10). Avatar players can collect Cell Samples more easily from many plants without having to "kill" them. If the player falls to his death, however, he cannot use Recoveries and have to reload from a check point which is automatically saved. The game offers no way to manually save when playing the game (it is only saved when player reach certain points, completed an objective, or quit the game). A special case involves a separate checkpoint when the user decides which race to side with, which cannot be overwritten.
As the player completes mission objectives or eliminates opposition, the character gains experience points and levels up. The leveling up process is quite linear, with no way to customize the character. Each level rewards the character with better versions of the weapons, armor and skills they already have. The character can have only one armor (one type of combat gear at a time, though with higher levels, different types become available, which may be selected instead of the original), four skills and four weapons equipped into quick slot at any one time. The skills can be offensive (boost damage, summon air strikes / wild life), defensive (boost damage resistance, heal) or tactical purpose (boost speed, invisibility).
Experience points are converted to credits that is used in the Conquer minigame. It is a Risk-style strategy game in which the player captures territories from enemies. Credits are used to buy troops, which has three types: infantry, heavy ground unit and air unit, defenses or limited special attacks. Some territories captured reward player with passive enhancements such as damage boost, critical chance, armor, health to use in the main game, as long as they are in the player's possession. (PlayStation 3 and Windows version)[clarification needed]
The Wii version of the game uses the Wii Remote controller for combat, and the firing of bows. The Xbox version has a wider range of controls and allows the player to ride animals and drive vehicles.
On July 24, 2007, it was announced that Ubisoft would be developing Avatar: The Game in conjunction with director James Cameron as he filmed Avatar. According to Cameron, "For the movie Avatar we are creating a world rich in character, detail, conflict and cultural depth. It has the raw material for a game that the more demanding gamers of today will want to get their hands on - one that is rich in visuals and ideas, and challenging in play." While Sigourney Weaver, Michelle Rodriguez, and Stephen Lang reprised their voices for their characters, Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana, leading roles in the film, did not. The game was developed as an adaptation of the movie of the same name, with an original storyline and similar features. The developers had carte blanche from the movie. The idea originally came from James Cameron's daughter Mary Cameron and she thought it would be a good idea to create a game for the movie.
On August 27, 2009, MovieScore Magazine reported that composer Chance Thomas had been hired to write the music for Avatar: The Game. It was unclear at the time whether the score would contain pieces of the original score composed by James Horner for the movie.
The game requires an HDMI video connection and a 120 Hz capable display in order to make use of the 3D effects.Avatar: The Game has the option of outputting in most standard stereoscopic 3D formats used by today's "3D-enabled" screens with stereoscopic 3D. The release of the PC demo has confirmed the PC version of the game supports 3D capabilities as well.
According to Neil Schneider, executive director of the S-3D Gaming Alliance, NVIDIA has developed a proprietary method for NVIDIA's GeForce 3D Vision that allows left and right images to be passed directly from the game engine to the PC display, in the form of quad buffers. Up until Avatar, this was a limitation criticized by the gaming industry because they were forced to use NVIDIA's stereoscopic 3D driver when they would prefer to have full control of the S-3D gaming experience. Alternate solutions like iZ3D monitors, interlaced displays, dual output projectors and 3D Checkerboard DLP do not require this enhancement because game developers have full output control.
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Avatar: The Game received mixed reception. Many critics criticized the game's linear gameplay and unintuitive controls, and the Wii version received mediocre scores as well, with many reviewers citing poor camera work, frame rate and story telling, but visuals and controls were regarded comparatively well.
GameRankings and Metacritic gave the game a score of 81.14% and 78 out of 100 for the iOS version; 64.26% and 61 out of 100 for the Xbox 360 version; 60.34% and 60 out of 100 for the PlayStation 3 version; 58% and 55 out of 100 for the DS version; 57.42% and 60 out of 100 for the Wii version; 54.44% and 59 out of 100 for the PC version; and 39% and 55 out of 100 for the PSP version.
Sales of the game had a slow start but eventually performed ahead of expectations selling 2.7 million units across all platforms. Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot called the game a "positive contribution for the company" citing the increased sales due to the film's success and its launch on DVD.
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There's no doubt that James Cameron's Avatar in all its 3D blue-and-green beauty is a worldwide phenomenon, grossing millions upon millions of dollars and becoming a word of mouth sensation. With such a wave of success comes James Cameron's Avatar: The Game from Ubisoft, with its oft-heard promises of being an interactive experience to complement the movie, expanding the story and so on. Fittingly, it matches the movie in one key area: by pleasing despite its obvious formula.
Taking the role of a Na'vi hunter, the game is split into two main sections: a third-person stealth-based adventure and an aerial shoot 'em up, which you flit between four different missions. The on-foot sections aren't exactly Metal Gear Solid or Splinter Cell in their stealth approach - your options are limited to sneaking in tall grass or sneaking on tall ground. In fact, of any pseudo-stealth game it most resembles Beyond Good and Evil, particularly in the way your character handles, and those familiar with Jade's last-gen escapade will be immediately at home with the stealth-and-staff gameplay.
Despite supporting the MotionPlus accessory, the combat is simplistic, with vertical swipes attacking to your front and horizontal movements attacking in an arc, hitting more enemies. Emerging victorious from combat is a matter of swinging your Remote whichever way you please (there's no 1:1 tracking for MotionPlus here) to clobber the enemies at hand, although performing stealth attacks is much simpler, requiring a well-directed Remote swipe at the right time. It's not always replicated 100% accurately however, making it frustrating to sneak up on a soldier, land on him and the game detect the movement incorrectly, forcing you to tackle him and his comrades in battle.
There's also another MotionPlus feature, the Hell Wasp, though it ranks as even more pointless than Ubi's effort to incorporate the add-on with Academy of Champions. The wasp is essentially a nuisance, designed to fly through the air and sting your opponents, stunning them just long enough for you to run up and finish the job. The controls are so inaccurate that after trying it a few times you'll ignore the opportunity in future as it's simply not worth fiddling with.
Once you move onto the aerial section - which got the Panzer Dragoon fans among us rather hot and heavy - you'll find the controls here take the road less-travelled. The Remote's IR pointer acts as your reticule, but you move your Banshee using the Nunchuk's accelerometer, a scheme that though pleasing at first, brings problems against larger enemies. Essentially you never have the immediate reaction time afforded by a traditional analogue stick, making avoiding mines and enemy fire a matter of learning patterns or spotting them early. There's some considerable charm to piloting a huge patterned dragon with free-flowing Nunchuk movements, but once the intensity ramps up it becomes an exercise in frustration rather than freedom.
There are similar control mistakes throughout. Opening a case or door is a matter of waggling until the game tells you to stop, and there are quick time events for major bosses that, if performed or detected incorrectly, return you to the combat with the boss's health restored. Yes, it's one of those games. Whilst Ubisoft is to be applauded for creating a title specifically for Wii, rather than bringing a reduced port to the machine, it's still disappointing to see poorly conceived control schemes happen after over three years and the extra accuracy afforded by MotionPlus.
Despite these control criticisms, the gameplay still manages to be quite enjoyable. Leaping down on unsuspecting soldiers and pummelling them with the Remote is undeniably fun, as is flying through canyons, shooting down helicopters and taking in all the tried-and-tested action film elements. It may lack innovation, but it borrows from the best and though it never hits the heights of Beyond Good and Evil, Panzer Dragoon or the Zelda series (another influence) it's not an unmitigated disaster.
The drop-in, drop-out cooperative mode, for example, is a lot more fun than perhaps it has right to be. Whilst it's not quite as enjoyable as the Lego series, working together to clear enemies from the jungle whilst remaining unseen is undeniably exciting, though naturally it suffers from camera problems if the two of you decide not to stick together.
It also manages to stand alongside some of the Wii's better-looking titles, with crisp detail and good use of colour and texture. The whole thing runs smoothly enough, though there is noticeable slowdown in some busy areas, and there are some nice explosion and lighting effects throughout. It's not the most mind-blowing game you'll see running on a Wii, but it certainly avoids complaints of PS2-quality graphics. Complementing the graphical quality is a decent audio presentation, with voice-overs, orchestral pieces and some suitably sci-fi sound effects rounding out the package.