|System: PSP, X360, PS3, PC, PS2, Wii, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Ubisoft Montreal||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Ubisoft||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Dec. 8, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
You also have access to a bow, which has a ton of problems that make it fairly worthless. The bow can be manually aimed or directed more easily by holding the L button in order to automatically lock on to your closest enemy, at least in theory. Locking on to enemies rarely works correctly, often refusing to target your closest enemy and going for ones that are potentially out of range instead. This leads to you constantly trying to finesse the camera while repositioning yourself in hopes that the game will actually realize that there is indeed an enemy right in front of you. Readying a shot with the bow can take several seconds, far too slow to be effective, especially once you have been spotted while trying to target the correct enemy. There's also a pretty huge issue with hit detection because of objects in the environment. The game will often not let you shoot an arrow because it thinks that something is in the way, even when you are clearly aiming around it. Conversely, you can also manage to shoot some arrows directly through crates and objects because the game doesn't realize that they're there. The real problem is that you never know which will be the case until you try, and if it fails, it is likely already too late to be of any use.
Both of your weapons, as well as your Way of the Warrior ability, which makes you more difficult to spot and more resistant to damage for a short time, can be leveled up during play. Killing enemies and finding white glowing objects will net you spirits, which can be cashed in and used to purchase upgrades. Each of your three upgradable items have very basic tech trees, with branching lines of upgrades that need to be purchased in order to get to the more useful improvements. This part of the game worked fine and, thankfully, helped to take some of the edge off of the broken stealth gameplay by making your weapons and abilities at least moderately more effective.
Besides the jungle-based levels, you'll also find a few that take place in what The Warrior refers to as metal villages as well as some banshee flight levels. The levels that take place in the metal villages play almost identically to those in the jungle, although you'll need to hide on the tops of small buildings and in water as opposed to tree limbs and grass. However, the banshee flight levels are a welcome breath of fresh air, at least at first. In these levels you'll need to steer the large flying creature to collect spirits while also shooting down enemy aircraft and floating mines. The only aircraft you come across are the Halo-esque helicopters, which generally require a decent amount of damage and a quick-time event (QTE) in order to take them down. Battling these can be entertaining, except that they end with the exact same QTE every time. The button presses required to complete them don't even change. This, sadly, causes these segments to feel incredibly stale after only a few encounters.
In terms of visuals and story, this title really isn't that bad. Even on the small PSP screen, Pandora and its inhabitants look decent and the message about not exploiting others for your own personal gain is a relevant one. Unfortunately, the clunky and repetitive gameplay destroys any chance the game had at being an enjoyable experience. If you want to take control of a Na'vi and experience Pandora before the release of the Avatar film, you're better off either just waiting or trying ATG out on another platform.
CCC Staff Contributor