E3 2009: First Impression Review: James Cameron's Impressive AVATAR Game

by Joey Paur

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One of the best things I saw while I was at the E3 Expo this year was the actual gameplay footage from James Cameron's 'Avatar' video game. We heard Cameron talk about it, and he offered several details about the game and a few details about the movie coming out. You can see that video presentation and read about it Right Here. Everything he says is pretty exciting, but once you see what he is actually talking about right there is front of your fave, then you will know the magic, power, story, and world that this guy has dreamed up. What I saw in the video game was one of the most astounding things I have seen in years! I am pretty sure I was drooling all over the floor as I watched this game unfold in front of my eyes.

I saw the demo presentation on a 106 inch Panasonic prototype plasma screen TV of death! Not only did I see it on a big-ass TV, but I saw it in it's full awesome 3D glory! Yes, it's true. The game is going to be in 3D, and if you don't have a TV that supports 3D don't worry, you can always play it in non-3D mode because I'm sure it will be just as fun... right? Probably not. The 3D aspect was not cheap looking either, this is the real deal, this is good cinematic 3D.

The story takes place in the 22nd century, and the action takes place on an earth-like planet called Pandora, which is the large moon of a gassy nearby planet. The game design of the planet Pandora was absolutely captivating, add in the whole 3D aspect of it and the world just explodes with beauty. The grass pops up right in your face, particles in the air float by you, and living plants explode into a floating gas clouds that surrounds you. The text commands in the game hang in front of the TV, and when you shoot your weapon the bullet cartridges fly past your head as you empty the ammo mag.

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Pandora looked great during the day in the game. But at night, it is a whole different story. The jungle comes to life in a bioluminescent wonder. All of the plants glow in brightly colored blue, red, and green auras. It looked incredible. I can only imagine what this night time experience will look like in the movie. The whole planet is a character of its own.

As you play though the game your character will be able to learn new skills and abilities, also upgrading your gear weapons and armor. The whole goal of the demo was to get through the Pandora jungle to reactivate three "Repulsor Pods", which clear the area from the hostile life-forms. You will also come across other RDA troops who will help you attack the more massive creatures. For example, there was a giant hammerhead beast, which had a rhinos body, and the head of a hammerhead shark. It is in this part, that you gear up in the "Powersuit" to do battle with the beast. During the battle you're ejected from the suit, and you have to take out the creature with a grenade or rocket launcher.

The Na'vi alien race that live on Pandora. They are the 10 foot tall blue creatures we have all been hearing about, and seeing the Na'vi come to life for the first time was awesome. These creatures looked amazing! They were fierce, but beautiful. At the end of the demo we actually got to see what it would be like to play as the Na'vi aliens. At one point, the character jumped on one of those flying beasts we have seen in the concept art, and then we go airborne. Flying though the Pandora canyons, you really get a sense of how big and detailed the world is. During the flight, the creature suddenly runs into an RDA gunship aircraft, which the creature seems to easily take down in a fiery wreck.

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At some point in the game, the player will have the ability to choose whether or not they want to join up with the Na'vi. So you have the choice of staying with the RDA, or hooking up with the Na'vi, in which case you will become an avatar. This would, I assume, change the outcome of the games ending. One little bit of info the developer repeated several times during the presentation is that this choice of choosing sides in the game will also have to be made while we watch the movie as well. I just found that interesting.

After seeing this presentation, I could only imagine how much more incredible the movie will be. I am extremely excited for both the game and the movie to come out. In the words of James Cameron, “Ubisoft has done it.” They created a gaming experience like no other game has before. I am convinced that the 'Avatar' game and movie, are going to deliver more than you can imagine. To put it simply, it's unbelievable.

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