Far Cry: Pandora

Main Street Electrical Arcade
6 min readDec 11, 2023

Hey there, firstly just a quick note for those of you who keep up with the blog, I had intended one more entry before taking a brief break for vacation, but got busy/sick for a bit. I did finish Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 and it’s great, go buy that if you haven’t yet, maybe I’ll write something more in-depth later but there are plenty of other more pressing Disney videogame things to write about this month.

Though they once in a blue moon break out something a little different (and that can be great, go play the criminally underrated Mario + Rabbids games), their big AAA games that they are most known for generally only come in a couple of very well-established formulas. There is some variety in entries but really you have the Assassin’s Creed formula and the Far Cry formula, and even between those two franchises a lot of ideas and mechanics are shared (i.e. big open world with lots of markers, big forts to engage enemies, etc.).

For their second swing at a game based on James Cameron’s billion-dollar franchise, Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora, Ubisoft has gone the Far Cry route. Anyone familiar with that franchise will instantly recognize all the familiar mechanics and hooks. It’s not fresh or daring, but Ubisoft knows this formula to a T. The question is, does this formula benefit the world of Avatar to make a compelling game?

Right off the bat, the first thing you’ll probably notice (once you get past the incredibly long introduction and can explore Pandora with your Na’vi character) is that Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora is a stunning game. This is good because if there’s one thing everyone can agree on about the Avatar movies, it’s that they look fantastic. Arguably the biggest strength of this game is how well it captures the lush mostly jungle world the franchise portrays, and that can carry the game a long way, especially if you are a big fan of the franchise.

Unfortunately, everything else about Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora doesn’t feel as fresh or fully realized as it should. I want to stress, that this is not a bad game, the mechanics are functional, but overall it’s just competent and missing some easy things that other games with similar systems either have or do better and this has also been an incredible year for video game releases, you really need to be more than a simply competent game to stand out frankly.

For example, as you’d probably expect, Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora has a lot of the mechanics that are pretty standard by now, such as a skill tree that can improve various stats or give you new abilities (and this is mostly done well, you can certainly aim for a particular build or be more well-balanced), crafting, cooking, and so on. But gathering resources can be laborious, especially doing it the way the game intends where you have to get resources off plants by pulling them the right way (you can just switch this to automatically grab them thankfully and the trade-off is you might get less pristine resources but it’s a pretty minor difference overall). Fishing exists, but you either use arrows or spears, not a fishing rod and it’s just not fun and barely works.

Then there’s equipment. You get/can craft a pretty wide array of bows and armor, and you can pick up a good amount of guns and mods for just about everything. The problem is, as with a lot of loot games, you quickly become overburdened with junk. In many, many other games you can break this junk down to essential components, use lesser equipment to upgrade better equipment, or even just sell it for currency. The only thing you can do with all your extra crap in Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora is donate it to a sort of community chest, which grants you “favor” which is a kind of currency. But unless it’s a specific item, the amount of favor you get is infinitesimal even with that specific item you only get that good amount one time.

When it comes to gameplay, again Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora is competent enough but there are just some issues that other games have long-solved. I feel like enemies, especially in big outposts, detect you way too easily, they can often see you when they are way out of range of your weapons, and how the game indicates their field of vision/awareness is poorly implemented. In general, this makes stealthy approaches a lot harder than they need to be and this game makes it incredibly clear it prefers the stealthy approach. Granted, it’s another very familiar Unibsoft formula, but I feel Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora would have benefited way more from copying the Assassin’s Creed franchise rather than Far Cry. It just fits better with things like stealth and platforming and honestly, just the way you’d want to play a Na’vi.

Further, Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora is a first-person game and yet chooses to have a ton of traversal that involves lots of jumping and because of the perspective, it’s pretty easy to miss a step and either die or lose progress. This admittedly becomes less of an issue once you acquire an Ikran, a flying mount that can catch you in, mid-air (and the Ikran is pretty fun to just fly around Pandora with), but you don’t get that till fairly far in the game, I didn’t until about 10 hours in and even then it can still be frustrating to consistently fall, have your Ikran catch you, recenter yourself and try again.

Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora also offers little in the way of a compelling story or characters. None of your friends stand out as interesting, the primary antagonist mostly isn’t there and isn’t interesting. The main quest line is pretty basic and all the side-quests are pretty rote and feel the same and offer little in terms of expanding the world you are in.

Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora ultimately fails to make a compelling case for you to drop your time and money on it unless you are a big Avatar fan and just want to play in that world. If that is the case, I do give this a recommendation. But otherwise, it’s a gorgeous but competent game that doesn’t have any particularly huge failings but doesn’t do anything to stand out in a crowded year of excellent games.

That’s all for today, I should have a new post up next weekend covering the new Disney Dreamlight Valley expansion and probably get one more post in after that before the end of the month. After that, I’m planning on taking a break through January because it’s just kind of a light time for Disney videogame news and releases as far as I can tell, but if something comes up I may pick this blog back up sooner than intended. See ya real soon!

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Main Street Electrical Arcade

All about Disney games, past present and future. Mix of reviews, opinion pieces and anything else that fits here.