One of the most beautiful worlds in cinema is coming to life in a big way on PlayStation 5. Pandora, the stunning alien world from the Avatar films, takes center stage at Ubisoft Avatar: Pandora’s Borders—alongside your own player-created Na’vi protagonist. If you, like millions of people around the world, were enchanted by the colorful, expansive wildness of this distant movie moon, get ready: you’ll experience the wonders and dangers of this world firsthand through your own eyes.
We recently had the opportunity to try out Avatar: Pandora’s Frontiers, an open-world first-person action adventure, and experience a small portion of what it had to offer, although that small portion provided a lot of great things. action and exploration time.
Return to your roots
As a Na’vi formerly held captive by the GDR, you have returned to Pandora’s western frontier as a stranger to the Na’vi tribes who live there. But the GDR is destroying and exploiting these sacred lands, and you have the inside knowledge that could put an end to them… if you can convince the tribes to fight these oppressive forces.
Our demo session began with a simple recovery mission: collecting mangrove hive nectar for the Kinglor Queen ritual. Here we were able to see how the collection of raw materials for processing and food works. Some items found in fields can be collected with the press of a button, but others require a little more effort, such as using the DualSense controller’s analog sticks and haptic feedback to determine the correct angle to uproot a plant and avoid damage. . Collecting items carefully and under the right conditions, such as at a certain time of day or in a specific weather, can affect their quality and, subsequently, the quality of what is done with them.
After obtaining the nectar, we returned only to find that the Kinglor were in very bad shape, no doubt thanks to the interference of the GDR, but the elders of the Aranhe tribe are reluctant to fight back, preferring to stay out of the fight. But some others aren’t going to sit still and have come up with a plan to attack the GDR base from the air, which of course requires something to fly over.
Onward and upward
So, with the help of our companions, we look for an Ikran of our own to bond with, but first, we do some preparation in the village, crafting weapons with the loot we brought, and upgrading skills using the skill points we’ve acquired. obtained from our missions. It turned out to be a good idea, because we had quite the climb ahead of us.
The mountain lair of the Ikran, a flying reptile-like creature, is well known to the locals, but as an outsider among the tribe, we would have to prove our worth to both our companions and the mountain banshee we wanted. make friends . Fortunately, the Na’vi are well suited to moving in these somewhat hostile environments: holding the jump button before jumping sent us flying higher and further, and a quick tap of the button again mid-jump would give us a slight push to help us overcome those acts of faith that seem impossible. There were also several puzzles scattered across the steep hills, requiring us to find and touch gateway plants to open passages, as well as shoot targets to create climbing vines.
But perhaps the biggest challenge was getting the Ikran to give us the time of day. They are very demanding of those they associate with, and you better show them that you are good enough, even if that means chasing them to the highest peak and then jumping to demonstrate your bond of trust.
In the fight
After some quality bonding time with our Ikran (whom we gave the noble name “Floof”), we spent time with Etuwa, daughter of the leader of the Aranahe clan and an agitator eager to take on the RDF. She is much more eager than her father to take the fight directly to the military, and together we plan a direct air assault.
After locating the GDR’s disruptive aerial devices and hacking them (using some of their own tools), we hopped into our Ikrans again and flew straight to the GDR outpost to shoot it down directly. This turned out to be quite a challenge: there are multiple approaches players can take: be stealthy and avoid detection by sneaking past security, or fly headlong, arrows blazing, to hit all the targets as quickly as possible. In the end we found success with a sort of hybrid approach, drawing the enemies’ attention to one area and then quickly sneaking away to complete the next objective. It helped that we had some food before we went in, keeping our energy levels up (allowing us to regenerate health) and, as an added effect, adding a little floatation to our footwork.
Still, it was a dangerous mission, with many heavily armed enemies that even our best stolen RDA weaponry probably wouldn’t defeat easily, and when we finally escaped, we breathed a sigh of relief, only to find Etuwa seriously injured. Would this be the spark that would light the fire of resistance in Aranahe?
From the number of side quests we saw in the Missions tab, as well as the size of the map and all the markers dotting it, it was clear that there was still a lot to see that we weren’t able to fully explore in the allotted time. Suffice to say, the wilds of Pandora will offer plenty of exciting adventures and drama for players brave enough to venture there.
Your evolving Na’vi
Completing quests and side quests earns you skill points that you can use to boost your Na’vi character’s skills. Skills are grouped into trees that fit different roles, such as Hunter, Warrior, Survivor, and Creator. The Survivor tree, for example, grants abilities that aid in stamina and endurance, such as increasing energy and damage resistance. You can focus on a specific tree or spread out your points for a more complete build.
In addition to skill trees, you’ll have access to a detailed crafting system. Using the materials you collect around the world, you can craft specialized weapons, ammunition, equipment, and more, all tailored to your preferred playstyle. With additional character appearance customization options, your adventure through the wilds of Pandora will truly be your own.
Avatar: Pandora’s Borders launches December 7 on PlayStation 5.