On a recent trip to Gameloft’s London offices, we were granted a sneak peek of a single level plucked from their forthcoming Avatar tie-in.
In case you haven’t heard of Avatar, it’s the latest film from the king of big-budget blockbusters, James Cameron. The Terminator and Titanic director has been spouting off to anyone who will listen that his latest project will change the face of cinema with its outstanding effects and 3D camera technology.
It’s a Sci-Fi extravaganza in which our grizzled hero (played by the bloke from the latest Terminator film) gets to take control of a Na’vi (a three metre blue alien chap) avatar.
Avatar the game is set shortly before the events of the film, with you taking control of one of these Na’vis. We’re in action-platformer territory here, which is fitting given the acrobatics on display during the recently released film trailer. It also makes sense when we’re told that the team behind the game was the one responsible for Hero of Sparta.
Evidence of this is seen in the game’s approach to movement and combat. There’s a familiar virtual analogue stick in the bottom left corner, while the bottom right is home to jump, evade and a context-sensitive ‘button’ that doubles for attack.
Hammer this button when engaging your enemies (a mixture of human marines and ED209-like robots enforcers) and our lanky blue hero will whip out a bladed staff and unleash an impressive combination of spinny attacks.
When not engaging in fisticuffs, we found ourselves negotiating some vertiginous floating-platform sections, clambering up vine-covered walls and sliding down giant twisting, gnarled roots. What impressed most at this early stage was how each disparate element blended fairly seamlessly to form a nicely varied whole.
It’s early days yet, of course, and there were one or two obvious glitches and AI bugs that will need ironing out before the expected December release, but there’s every chance at this early stage that this could become one of the better movie tie-ins to be released onto the App Store.