Review by EJRICH
"If I had the ability to bend rocks, I'd bend rocks."
The shameful fact about most super hero games is that their heroes fail to be truly super. Whether it's the powers they're given failing to make a true impact on the game play or the overall repetition of the level design in the game itself, most super hero games are complete garbage. Avatar: The Last Airbender fits into that niche rather nicely, and while although most people don't consider it a true Super hero game, most of its merits fit into that category.
For the most part, Avatar: The Last Airbender revolves around the journeys of a young Airbender named Aang. He happens to be the Avatar, more easily known as the person who can learn to bend all four of the elements. Bending can be considered the art of manipulating the elemental energy of your particular nation, such as earth bending earth. Joined by his friends, Aang is in a constant struggle with the fire nation, a land set on dominating the earth. A threat has arisen, however, that is more important than the fire nation, and it's up to the Avatar to stop it once and for all.
Like I really care.
Normally when you go to play a licensed based game you expect to see tie-ins with the movie or the show. Now I see why they do it that way. Trying to differentiate itself from the actual show, Avatar: The Last Airbender creates a story that runs parallel to the one you've seen in the show. If you've never seen the show before, then this shouldn't be a problem. If you have, however, you'll quickly see one of two things. A, it construes actual events from the show because it doesn't fit in with they're psychotic plot. And B, the main reason why they did it was to fuel they're horrific desire to make you go on fetch quests.
I don't know why they had to do it, but for some reason or another Avatar: The Last Airbender relies heavily on making you go from one point to another in a series of fetch quests. Problem A takes place (usually a villager missing something or someone being lost), and it's your job to find said item or person and bring them back to their owner/parents. But wait! During your journey of finding that item or person you'll usually find another person who knows something about the thing you're looking for. In order to advance the game, you'll have to meet their desires. The result? A mingled in game play system that makes you feel like you're going on a never ending sea-saw of tedium. It gets old. Fast.
Throughout your joyous time of fetch questing, you'll be engaging people and animals in a bit of combat, too. What you'd expect to be the part where the game really shines is where it flops the most. Out of your four characters (your party will eventually consist of one Airbender, one boomerang user, one Earthbender, and one Waterbender. Fire is strangely absent), each one can be customized by gaining levels and exp from defeated enemies. As you level up your stats will increase and you'll gain the ability to do more complex bending techniques. When you characters start off, they'll naturally be weak and only have access to a few moves. As they level up, though, they'll gain access to the whole extent of their powers. But you knew that already, right?
Combat generally boils down to a button mashing fest of you jamming on the specific bending button to shovel out your moves to strangely stupid enemies. There are no complex button combos to get the moves off, no amazingly astounding processes, just button mashing. Once you get past the initial glam and glitz of how each move looks, you'll quickly learn that it's all just a show.
To be quite honest, that's how I also feel about the graphics and music. Nothing in this game will really pop out at you save the first cut-scene. Everything after that save one or two other moments is just a rough presentation that looks almost goofy to the eye. For example, characters are portrayed with over-bearing limbs. Colors look a bit bland, too, making everything look shoddy.
Lump that together with a substandard musical track that ends up being repetitious beyond belief, and you really have a game that looks pieced together. Nothing in this title gives me any reason to believe that they took even any time at all on this, and to tell you the truth, I was disappointed. After seeing everything else that's come out of the Nickelodeon franchises as of late, I really started to have faith. Avatar: The Last Airbender once again reminds me of how bad licensed titles can really be.
Reviewer's Score: 4/10 | Originally Posted: 08/15/07, Updated 12/23/09
Game Release: Avatar: The Last Airbender (US, 10/10/06)
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