Test – Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora: the new failure from Ubisoft – Geeko – Le Soir

Between layoffs, restructuring and series flops, 2023 will have been particularly complicated for Ubisoft.

The fact is, the French video game giant Ubisoft is not doing well. The company experienced a particularly complicated year in 2023 between layoffs and project cancellations. Despite a difficult year, the company managed to launch some new products. His most anticipated title was undoubtedly the new production from Massive Entertainment (The Division) – Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora.

Test – Avatar Frontiers of Pandora the new failure fromVisually, “The Borders of Pandora” is quite successful.

You’ll no doubt remember that Ubisoft had already attempted to adapt Avatar into a video game when the very first Avatar was released. However, the game released at the time didn’t really manage to leave a mark and was one of the adaptations of films into games without much claim. Frontiers of Pandora is notable for its over-the-top ambition. Firstly, because it’s a triple-A game with a huge budget. Then because the developers have not only adapted the plot of the first two films, but offer us a new plot that allows us to further explore the universe of Avatar. Finally, Frontiers of Pandora is a much more ambitious game in terms of structure, as it is an open-world FPS and, moreover, a title that takes full advantage of the potential of new generation consoles, as it only runs on Xbox Series and PS5 .

Test – Avatar Frontiers of Pandora the new failure fromThe game is played entirely in first person perspective.

On paper, Frontiers of Pandora had everything to seduce. A gigantic world to explore at will, an advanced crafting system, a challenging storyline in the Avatar universe and, above all, a lot of new elements to discover compared to the films. And in fact we have to recognize an undeniable quality: its immense fidelity to the original material. Because Frontiers of Pandora is not only a game that allows us to explore the entire universe of Pandora, but also a canon title with the universe of films. Taking the role of a young Na’vi who is taken in by the GDR and then released by the Resistance, the player freely explores the world of Pandora by searching for the various tribes that populate it with the aim of bringing them to his cause to unite Drive the invaders beyond the borders of Pandora.

1703385043 337 Test – Avatar Frontiers of Pandora the new failure fromThey can also use human weapons.

However, one has to admit: If the world of Avatar is fascinating and admirably constructed and the game’s presentation is carefully designed with numerous dialogues and cutscenes, the story is hardly really exciting. And for a good reason. Frontiers of Pandora, like most other Ubisoft productions, is an overly ambitious game that goes in all directions while forgetting to focus on a compelling adventure. You’ll quickly notice the abundance of quests offered to you throughout Pandora. Sometimes it’s a missing Na’vi that we have to find through a chase. Sometimes it’s a search for materials to build a new bag… The quests are numerous, lengthy and tend to cover excessively long distances in order to artificially extend the lifespan of the game. Fedex syndrome is there, even more so than in other open world games from Ubisoft. And that’s a shame, because the pace of the adventure is completely fragmented.

Add to this the fact that we feel like we are constantly having to complete the same quests and that there is a strong emphasis on loot and crafting in the game, and you will quickly understand that Frontiers of Pandora is not an FPS like others. Before Avatar is an FPS, it’s an open-world crafting game where interactions with the Na’vi take up much more space than combat or exploration. And we have to admit that this adventure, painfully long and lacking in inspiration, often bores us. We will also notice that even at the level of the Bestiary we have the impression that we are constantly facing the same enemies: a few mechas and helicopters, as well as a few wild creatures… And that’s it. Don’t expect any surprises on this adventure, there never will be.

However, Ubisoft has redoubled its efforts to offer variety in its gameplay between the investigation phases, where you are asked to combine different elements to discover new clues, the mini-puzzles to solve, or even the numerous crafting quests that take you on the Go hunting or have to go meet in the world of Pandora to find the elements that will allow you to craft the right tools, weapons and equipment…

1703385045 896 Test – Avatar Frontiers of Pandora the new failure fromTaming your horse, a great moment.

Obviously, Ubisoft has gone in all directions and given us a very extensive open world game. It’s a pleasure to explore the different lands of Pandora. The problem is that the main plot and side quests don’t really engage and we quickly get lost in our quests… quests that go in circles, repeat tirelessly and never do more than show a very small part of its potential of the game.

If the game has very good intentions, it must be admitted that the concept has great difficulty in seducing people, due to sometimes questionable decisions. For example, we think of the progression system, which is not based on experience, but on a leveling system based on the number of skills and equipment unlocked. Avatar therefore leaves its RPG aspect aside and adopts a difficulty level based on equipment. In other words, the stronger you are, the stronger your enemies will be. And that’s not necessarily a good idea for an FPS.

Pad in hand, the sensations are there. Exploring the Plains of Pandora will truly make you feel like a Na’vi. Although the exploration part works pretty well, it has to be admitted that the map lacks verticality – this can only really be exploited on the back of a mount. And when we encounter a lot of creatures and enemies on the map, a certain artificial side comes out. The fighting also leaves a feeling of too little, the fault of enemies who are as stupid as they are naughty. AI is a real problem in Avatar. Enemies tend to follow clearly defined paths, and it’s not very difficult to “cheat” with the system to chain kills. We also notice very quickly that certain ideas that are very appealing on paper don’t necessarily work. You regularly run out of arrows in the middle of battle and then have to explore the environment to collect some branches and craft arrows… The memory limitations are very frustrating and you quickly find yourself complaining constantly about this overly repetitive and crafting system. boring.

The same feeling of frustration about the constant (and ultra-assisted) search for food: you have to follow a very specific direction to find the resources you want to harvest. Then use your Na’vi sense to see them emerge from the scene and engage in a mini-game of sorts where you press with the right amount of pressure to, for example, snatch a fruit from a tree to show him respect for nature. All of this is very true to the original work, but this type of action quickly becomes annoying when repeated.

1703385047 67 Test – Avatar Frontiers of Pandora the new failure fromThe cutscenes are numerous and pretty well done.

Another nasty flaw in the game: Like other Ubisoft productions, Avatar gets lost in the multitude of side quests. You must collect collectibles (logbooks), destroy bases, activate labs, restore resources, bond with plants to gain abilities, and loot chests. Avatar sinks so much into side activities that we often have difficulty navigating them and end up losing the main thread, which is hardly defined anyway… We are dealing with a game that is very sandbox-like, ultimately sometimes in its formula is more like Minecraft than Far Cry.

In the end we say that we would have liked a less ambitious game, but one that does things better. Because too often we lose ourselves in this open world. Boring, monotonous and ultimately uninspired in its narrative, Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora still has the virtue of being a very successful game visually, with a fairly successful soundtrack (despite the lack of flashy themes) and a decent presentation. The game makes excellent use of the capabilities of the Xbox Series and PS5 consoles and is a real treat for the eyes and ears. A nice technical demo, Frontiers of Pandora, on the other hand, has more difficulty convincing in terms of gameplay, with a formula almost similar to that of Far Cry, without the nervousness. While true Avatar fans will undoubtedly be thrilled, many players will put the game down after just an hour of play. And that’s a shame, given the enormous potential of the Avatar universe…


True to the world of films, Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora allows us to perfectly immerse ourselves in the world of films and is considered one of the most beautiful games of 2024. Nice technical demo, but the title is hardly convincing on the first level Gameplay, blame for missions, which completely lack rhythm and force you to constantly repeat yourself back and forth in a world that lacks life. With its uninteresting side missions, its numerous tirelessly repetitive side activities, and its barely engaging main story, Frontiers of Pandora has a hard time convincing. Many players will put the pad down after just an hour of play… The Ubisoft formula is finding it increasingly difficult to convince. And today it is certain that the publisher will have to renew its proposals if it wants to survive …

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Avatar: Borders of Pandora

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We love :

Overall very pretty

A solid soundtrack

A careful presentation

True to the films

We like less:

Uninteresting side jobs

The story is not very compelling

The Ubisoft formula, an aging copy-and-paste of Far Cry

The omnipresent craftsmanship quickly becomes annoying

Untimely back and forth