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Avatar: The Last Airbender Review

Developer: THQ Studio Australia Publisher: THQ
Release Date: October 10, 2006 Also On: GCN, PS2 and Xbox

THQ and Nickelodeon seem to have a good relationship with each other. And who can blame them? Nickelodeon consistently produces cartoons from which good games can be made, and THQ consistently produces those good games. The latest Nickelodeon series to receive this treatment is Avatar: The Last Airbender. Is this another notch in THQ’s ever-growing list of good licensed games, or is it a clunker? Read on to find out.

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Graphically, this game is amazing. Now, I don’t mean that these graphics push the PS2 to the limit because they certainly do not. What I mean is that these graphics are almost pixel-perfect to the animation style of the cartoon. I’ve seen a few episosdes of the cartoon on which this game is based, and I can’t tell the difference between the cartoon and the game at all. This is a very rare accomplishment, and one for which THQ is to be heavily commended.

In terms of sound, much of the music is the same as the music in the GBA and DS versions, but it is good music, so that is a minor complaint. The sound effects are decent, but they are nothing to get overly excited about. There isn’t much voice acting in the actual game, with most of the conversations taking place through textboxes, but the cutscenes are completely voice-acted, and the voices are spot-on to the characters from the cartoon. Overall, the sound is done fairly well.

In terms of gameplay, this game is a straightforward action RPG. Where the GBA version is more puzzle-based, and the DS version uses a semi-random encounter RPG style, in this game the enemies on the screen are the ones you are going to need to fight. This means that the three versions of Avatar are all different. This straightforward action RPG style works well in the Avatar world though.

Don’t think that this is going to be a deep RPG experience though, because it isn’t. There are armor and other equippable items, but the system isn’t particularly deep. The battle system isn’t particularly deep either. You can attack, or, as the game goes on, you will learn and can use four different types of bending moves per character. There are four different characters, so this makes for a decent, although not overly huge, array of different attack styles at your disposal. You can control whichever of the characters you want of those currently in your party and switch between them at will. The computer AI will fight when there are enemies around, but generally not as well as the human-controlled character.

The plot in this game, unfortunately, follows the same story as in the GBA and DS versions, so if you’ve played any of the versions of this game, you’ll already know the story behind the game. The environments are different though, and the objectives are not fulfilled the same way, so the game is an engaging experience anyway. Add to that the fact that the console version is a fairly lengthy game, although not as long as most RPGs, and you’ve got a game that is worth a look for fans of Avatar. My one complaint would be that THQ could easily have utilized cooperative multiplayer in this game as they have in such games as Tak: The Great Juju Challenge and Nicktoons: Battle for Volcano Island, but that is a minor gripe. Overall, if you are a fan of Avatar, seriously consider getting this game.

Graphics: 8
Sound: 7
Gameplay: 7
Creativity: 6
Replay Value/Game Length: 6
Final: 6.9
Written by Martin Review Guide