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James Cameron's Avatar: The Game

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Title: James Cameron's Avatar: The Game  
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Subject: Sigourney Weaver, Prequel, Michelle Rodriguez, Nintendo Selects, Giovanni Ribisi, List of PlayStation Portable games, Avatar (disambiguation), List of Wii games, Paul Eiding, List of game engines
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James Cameron's Avatar: The Game

Avatar
File:Avatar-video-game-cover.jpg
Developer(s) Ubisoft Montreal
Publisher(s) Ubisoft
Lightstorm Entertainment
20th Century Fox Games
Gameloft (iPhone, Mobile)
Composer(s) Chance Thomas
Inon Zur (DS)
Engine Dunia (heavily modified)
Havok
Jade
Platform(s) PlayStation 3
Xbox 360
Microsoft Windows[1]
Wii
PlayStation Portable
Nintendo DS
iPhone OS[2]
Java ME
Symbian^3
Release date(s) Microsoft Windows,Nintendo DS, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 & Wii
  • WW December 1, 2009
PlayStation Portable
  • WW December 8, 2009
Genre(s) Third-person shooter, action adventure
Mode(s) Single-player, Multiplayer
Distribution Optical Disc, memory card

James Cameron's Avatar: The Game is a 2009 third-person action video game prequel to James Cameron's film of the same name. The game was developed by Ubisoft Montreal and released on the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC, Wii and Nintendo DS on December 1, 2009, with a PSP version released later on December 8, 2009.[3][4] It was announced by Ubisoft that it would be using the same technology as the film to be displayed in stereoscopic 3D.[5] In a Nintendo Power interview, it was stated that the Wii version will use Ubisoft's Jade engine. As of May 19, 2010, the game has sold nearly 2.7 million copies.[6]

A significant feature has Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang, Michelle Rodriguez, and Giovanni Ribisi reprising their roles from the film. The casting and voice production for Avatar: The Game was handled by Blindlight.

Story

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, he/she is assigned to an area called Blue Lagoon, a large piece of jungle, fenced in to make sure no larger predators get inside.

His/Her first mission is to save five marines from Viperwolves, with his/her CO, Kendra Midori, suggesting he/she 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. Then Ryder gets on a boat, a Gator, to another base, where 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 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.

Gameplay

At first the player is allowed to choose the appearance of the character from a set of pre-defined faces, although not the name. After the player has chosen a side, each side the player chooses offers 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. 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 she/he already has. The character can have only 1 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), 4 skills and 4 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 is also 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 3 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)

Development

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.[7] It was unclear at the time whether the score would contain pieces of the original score composed by James Horner for the movie.

3D capabilities

According to Luc Duchaine, the game's senior international brand manager, the game will require an HDMI video connection, and a 120 Hz capable display in order to avail of the 3D effects.[8] However, the following can be found on the Official Stereoscopic FAQ of the official forums: "Avatar: The Game has the option of outputting in most standard stereoscopic 3D formats used by today's “3D-enabled” screens with stereoscopic 3D."[9] The release of the PC demo has confirmed the PC version of the game supports 3D capabilities as well.[1]

According to Neil Schneider, executive director of the S-3D Gaming Alliance,[10] 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.[11]

Reception

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.

The PC version garnered a metascore of 59 on Metacritic,[12] while the console versions received a 60 for the Wii, a 60 for the PlayStation 3, and a 61 for the Xbox 360 edition.

On IGN, the game received a mediocre score of 5.9 for Wii, and a passable 6.8 for other consoles.[13] It received a 5.5 on GameSpot for the PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 versions, while earning a poor 4.0 for the PSP edition.[14]

In contrast with the mediocre reviews of most publications, according to Meant to be Seen (MTBS), the PC version fared much better with a rating of 8.2 out of 10. Its rationale was that PC stereoscopic 3D displays are readily available. "In a year or two when S-3D gaming is much more common, I really think Avatar: The Game will be a regularly cited example that demonstrates how things should be done and what the artistic potential is behind good 3D gaming," said the reviewer of MTBS.[15]

Also, according to Gamesradar.com, the Wii version scored a 7 out of 10, saying, "You'll love that the forest world is lush and nicely realised, fun stealth-focused combat, and an overall a surprisingly decent movie tie-in." However, the site also said that, "You'll hate heaps of ugly clipping, control frustrations hamper its stealthy nature, and its repetitive goals." [16]

Commercial reception

Sales of the game had a slow start[17] 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.[18]

See also

References

External links

  • www.avatarmoviegame.com
  • Internet Movie Database
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