|System: PS2, Wii, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: THQ||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: THQ||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Oct. 14, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
The Avatar series of games started off with a lot of potential. They were all mainly focused on pleasing younger fans of the series and, as such, were never really that difficult or memorable, but for what they were, they were pretty nice. However, it seems that Avatar-The Last Airbender: Into the Inferno, which is based upon the final season of the hit cartoon, has taken several hits in the quality department since the games previous iteration last year. It is especially disappointing for longtime fans of the series who were especially excited for a game based upon the events surrounding the conclusion of the series.
Into the Inferno follows the last book of the series pretty linearly. It begins with Aang waking up from his coma following the incidents that occurred at the close of the last season. The gang has resolved to face down the Fire Lord (who now refers to himself as the Phoenix King) during Sozins Comet, when his powers will be weakest. Although the game does recall several of the major events of the series, fans may be disappointed to learn that many of the events have been altered or toned-down for this title.
One particularly painful instance of this occurred in the penultimate battle against Azula, Zukos sister. Those who have watched the TV show will remember that there were quite a few interesting circumstances that permeated the battle and made it one of the most memorable Avatar battles ever. Unfortunately, in the game, this battle is portrayed as just a straight-up fight between Zuko, Katara, and Azula, with no special circumstances or cutscenes. Regrettably, there are many more examples of the game losing the energy of the TV show, even when it comes to the final battle.
In addition to lost story elements, Into the Inferno also loses the open world feel of the past two Avatar games. Although it takes the generic puzzle platform approach to the gameplay, the world feels much more restricted this time around when compared with past iterations, which at least included a semi-open world where you could look around and explore. Instead, it seems that this title is content to keep things in the box, and the linear levels are very frustrating to deal with. The level design also suffers from the games fixed camera system, which makes it hard to look around when trying to make complicated jumps or solve room-based puzzles. Both of these characteristics make the game feel very claustrophobic.
Even though the story cuts and linear game design are fairly disappointing, they are not the worst facet of this title. Unfortunately, the controls for the PlayStation 2 version of the game are absolutely terrible, and make this game close to unplayable. The controls are ported over directly from the Wii version, but instead of pointing and clicking with your remote, you will have to use an on-screen cursor that is controlled with the right stick. And since you have to move with the left stick, it becomes very difficult to interact with different elements while you are moving around. This makes battling enemies very difficult, especially boss battles where you will have to run around and control elements at the same time for success.