You would have to have been living under a particularly large rock to avoid hearing about the movie phenomenon, James Cameron’s Avatar. This box office hit stormed into our cinemas and stole the hearts of critics and fans alike. Can a game version of said movie replicate such success? Thinking of previous experiences of games of movies it seems unlikely, but perhaps the Wii version of this particular franchise can make something more of an impact.
Firstly it should be noted that the Wii version of James Cameron’s Avatar: The Game is nothing like the PS3 and Xbox versions of the title. In fact, an entirely different team were in place to create the game for the Wii, meaning that this game is one that has been built from the ground up specifically for this console. The plotline itself was created purely for this console. Instead of playing a human taking the role of a Na’vi Avatar as in the version on the Wii’s rival consoles, you play the role of an actual Na’vi warrior who is unhappy at the human’s desire to steal Na’vi artefacts for profit. Your role then is to steal back these treasures with either full frontal attack or with a more sneaky stealth style. While the plot isn’t going to tug too strongly on your heart-strings with its lack of depth, there’s more there than expected and it’s nice to see an entirely new story.
Unfortunately, though the concept of James Cameron’s Avatar: The Game for the Wii was certainly sound, the more you play the game, the more it feels like an unpolished, even an unfinished, product. It seems that the developers have fallen into the usual trap of rushing to complete the game on schedule with the release of the movie itself.
On foot you’ll find the game develop into an all out brawl, in which the Wii Remote is used for attacks by swinging to the left, right, up and down. To add a little complexity however, the idea of stealth attacks is given a high level of importance. Avoid being seen and you’ll be able to deliver a swift swipe with your weapon to silence your foes forever. Unfortunately the inclusion of this combination of styles has left neither feeling perfected, and this only continues with the flying portions of the game.
Using the Nunchuk to steer by tilting, you’ll aim at your enemies with the Wii Remote providing a particularly unchallenging segment of the game which quickly becomes dull. If you’re in possession of the Wii Fit Balance Board, you’ll at least be able to use this in your flying by leaning your body weight to the left or right. This helps with control, providing faster reactions than the nunchuk with some exercise thrown in to boot, but doesn’t address the difficulty level of said segments.
It seems then that, yet again, we are faced with the game of a movie rushed out too quickly. The concepts that create James Cameron’s Avatar: The Game for the Wii are sound, and you’ll certainly enjoy a few hours of exploring your way around the reasonably attractive planet of Pandora. It’s just a shame then that a little more time and polish weren’t applied to make this game great.