Avatar the Game PC Demo Review
By Guest Writer Chibi Chaingun
Chibi: First off, the release of the demo caught me completely off guard and it was a pleasant surprise to see the demo up. After a few failed downloads and faulty installs, I finally got it to work.
Immediately upon starting up, the game impresses with crisp menus and backdrops. As any true 3D lover does, I first played in stereoscopic 3D.
The performance hit in 3D-mode is substantial, but manageable on my moderate PC: 2.51 ghz Intel Dual Core, 4 gb RAM, 8800 GTS 512 mb, and Vista 32. I was running at high to ultra high settings @1600x1200 resolution obtaining roughly 25-40 fps. Manageable.
Techy tid-bits aside, upon jacking into Pandora for the first time in 3D (well that's not true, I went to the 15 min of footage at IMAX - so second time) the first thing you notice is the sheer sense of scale.
HUGE floating landscapes (giant floating...islands) with beautifully flowing waterfalls filled the scenery as you take control of a Hornet aircraft. You delve deeper through this levitating corridor into the lush, dangerous forest of Pandora.
Upon landing, you can't help but stare in amazement like a little kid with an inquisitive lust to see more. Well luckily you're heading right in.
The forest is full of bioluminating creations from feathery plant particles to neon edging on massive prehistoric looking leaves. The atmosphere, in my experience, is quite possibly the best I've seen in a game yet.
Granted, this game was being viewed in full 3D, this game is arguably more impressive than the likes of Gears or Crysis, in its own stylized kind of way.
You will even get to witness the sun go down and see the bio luminescence plants and animals of the forest REALLY come to life. The details here are rich; Small glowy fish in a shallow pool of water to glowing flurries flying about.
Eventually you make your first combat encounter with some native species - a blue vicious wolf like creature.
Instinctively, you waste them as fast as possible to move on to the next area where you will have more unfriendly encounters with numerous native creatures from the giant hammerhead dinosaur like creature to the Navi themselves. The creatures all feel vicious and unrelenting, which seems to be the tone of the Pandora forest so far.
The combat in the game is fairly straight forward, but still fun. There is little new here, perhaps nothing new. However what is here is done well with nice polish. You can choose between pistols, machine gun, flamethrower, and a grenade launcher.
It's straight up gun-fun here. Not a bad thing. In addition, you also have some cool abilities like cloak, heal, a sonic burst that kills enemies, or call in an air strike.
Probably the coolest aspect of the gameplay comes with little to explore in the demo, but you gain XP (experience points) as you...ahem... destroy Pandora. Yes, you get rewarded to wreak havoc.
Another great feature is the ability to view all the creatures you scan in an encyclopedia for Pandora, however this feature is locked out in the demo but lets you scan creatures via your visor. There is also a mention of a risk-type strategy game that was not touched on in the demo (nor was the Navi campaign).
You also encounter numerous vehicles such as the AMP suit, a buggy, and a another buggy vehicle packed with serious fire power.
Near the end of the demo you will battle more Navi than you want to encounter, but the action is intense and the ending ends in a nice cliff hanger of a HUGE calvary of Navi riding in about to WHOOP YOUR .....
All in all, the demo was a huge surprise that impressed me as a gamer, an artist, and a game developer. I have never worked on a game near this complex, but I have an idea of the amount of work that would be involved to make something this outstanding.
I generally am one of those bad statistics of someone playing a demo and NOT buying the full game, but in this case... Instant buy just based on the RDA portion alone. If you like Lost Planet, think of this as a superb polished version, on Pandora, in 3D. I don't think AVATAR fans can go wrong here.