Set on the fantastical sci-fi planet of Pandora, James Cameron's Avatar: The Game is a third-person adventure with RPG-style character development, featuring predominant shooting and melee combat action. The game's story poses challenges to the player's moral perspectives, as well. A prequel to the movie, set two years earlier, Avatar: The Game follows its own original storyline. Humans have come to the planet to harvest valuable minerals. They find themselves at war with the dominant native species, the Na'vi, a humanoid race of great size and strength but only stone age technological development. The futuristic humans have developed a method by which they can remotely take control of a mindless, genetically engineered Na'vi body, and experience existence through this avatar.
Players take the role of a character named Able Ryder, who is a signals specialist soldier with the human Resource Development Agency, or "RDA." From mission to mission, the game moves from Ryder's experiences as a human soldier, and those in the role of a Na'vi avatar. Players can chose their character's gender and customize appearance, and add skills and abilities as they gain experience and power by progressing through the adventure. They will eventually face a crucial choice, similar to that of Jake Sully in the film: To remain loyal to the RDA, and lead the human forces to claim control of the planet, or to assume the identity of their avatar and side with the Na'vi, leading the native people to expel the invading humans from their sacred grounds.
As a human soldier, the game plays like a 3D third-person shooter. Players have access to high-tech weapons and equipment to help them survive in the brutal environments of Pandora, where hungry, dinosaur-sized creatures hunt and lurk all throughout the surreal wilderness. Humans can also use vehicles, including large, heavily armed, walking mech suits that are more than a match to the sheer physical strength of the towering natives. In the role of Ryder's ten-foot tall Na'vi avatar, players excel in melee combat, swinging a mighty battle staff, and gain expertise with a (truly) long bow as well. Na'vi also have all the advantages of a native people, and even the indigenous creatures may come to their aid, if properly coaxed.
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