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The Student News Site of Pembroke Pines Charter High School

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Frontiers of Pandora: A breath of fresh air for gamers in 2024

Frontiers+of+Pandora%3A+A+breath+of+fresh+air+for+gamers+in+2024
Justin Betancourt

Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora has been one of the most anticipated titles this year in gaming and seems to mostly live up to expectations, but maybe not for the reasons one might expect. 2023 has been a rather disappointing year for gamers, with botched and undercooked releases for Starfield, Jedi: Survivor, Alan Wake 2, Gollum, City Skylines 2, Last of Us Remastered, Redfall and countless others. While it’s true that we’ve had some better titles like Spider-Man 2, Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty, Tears of The Kingdom, and Diablo IV, this year has generally been considered a rough year for gamers, especially those on PC, with complaints of terrible frame rates and hardware requirements, and overall unfinished games. Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora changes that reputation. 

People have praised the game for its immersive gameplay and beautifully designed world, filled with life and side missions. If you’re playing on a PC with heavier hardware, you might be able to turn on ray tracing, which drastically improves lighting and reflections in real time, at the cost of performance, which Avatar suffers the most in. According to benchmarks done by TechPowerUp, in order to actually play the game at a Full HD native resolution (1080p) and Ultra settings at a respectable 60 frames per second, you’d need a $500 graphics processor (Nvidia RTX 3070/AMD Radeon RX 6800) at minimum, which means at least a $1000 gaming PC or more if it’s custom built and probably $1400 for any prebuilt rig. PS5 and Xbox Series X have it even worse, with severe upscaling needed to keep up with the game, and if you wanted to crank the graphics up to “quality” settings, you’d be met with a disappointing and choppy 30 FPS experience. Even with a $1600 graphics processor, the Nvidia RTX 4090, you’d only manage 60 FPS at 4k ultra settings. However, this is partially excusable due to the incredible detail and graphical fidelity present in the game that it has been praised for. The open landscapes of Pandora are so detailed, and there aren’t many games out there to rival its quality besides Plague Tale: Requiem or Cyberpunk 2077. 

In addition to being incredible in terms of looks, the game is widely known for its interactivity and fun environments. Foraging for food requires users to perform immersive actions that aren’t typically present in other games. The movement and navigation present in this game has been praised due to the intuitive controls that really make you feel just as fast as the Na’vi you take the perspective of. The combat is initially very good, with a wide variety of weapons and enemies to use and face, but gets stale as the game’s story progresses due to the repetitive nature of its missions; most missions have you simply activating a killswitch to detonate a payload after taking out a group of enemies, with little variation in how you can play. The story and characters of the game are also apparently quite lackluster, with a mostly unresolved ending, and the character design and dialogue for NPCs falls a bit flat. However, these flaws don’t take away from the game being worthwhile to play, especially considering the current lack of good AAA games (the gaming equivalent of a blockbuster film). It’s still a solid choice if you’re looking for a new game to pick up this holiday season. 

Mustafa Mourad, freshman and self-proclaimed avid gamer, shared his thoughts on the current gaming market and whether or not he would purchase the game. He noted that one aspect that would definitely make him more open to buying the game would be more media coverage. “If I’m thinking about buying a game and I see a bunch of videos about it, I’d see if it’s something I’d want to buy. It’s a big portion of it, for sure.” One thing he noted was the price. While Avatar rests at a steep $70 price tag, the absolute maximum Mustafa would spend on a game is “probably 60, maybe 70 dollars. I’ve never spent that much on a game before. Usually the games I purchase are only 20, maybe thirty bucks at most, but sometimes I do splurge on more expensive games.” The price is certainly a deterrent, but it’s up to the consumer to decide whether or not they’d be interested in the game. 

This game, however, isn’t aimed at the average person, rather avid fans of the Avatar franchise, or those who want the absolute biggest and most bombastic gaming experiences that money can buy. If you fit into one of these categories, then I’d suggest you jump straight into the world of Pandora with this high-flying game. 

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About the Contributor
Finn Phelps Crossman
Finn Phelps Crossman, Staff Writer
Hi! I’m Finn, a writer here at The CHAT. I’m currently a freshman, and it’s my first year as a member of the newspaper here. When I’m not in school, you could probably find me writing cyberpunk stories, playing video games with my friends, or watching entirely too much Star Wars. If needed, you can contact me at [email protected]

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