Avatar: The Legend of Aang

Format: PS2

4 005209 08257
Age Restrictions: 3+
09 February 2007

Play as Aang, Katara, Haru and Sokka as you grow your team into an unstoppable force making discoveries in a blend of magic and martial arts combat. Use your fully customisable bending powers to master the four elements of earth, air, water and fire and explore the environments of the Avatar nations...

Avatar: The Legend of Aang (known as Avatar: The Last Airbender in the USA) is based on the Nickelodeon animated TV series. This is a single-player game featuring martial arts style combat and customisable "bending powers" mastering the four elements of water, air, earth and fire.

You start the game as Aang, a young adventurer, who is soon sent on a quest to find a missing member of his village. Along the way he can talk with other village members, as well as collect jewels and money to trade for items with the local merchants.

At its heart, Avatar is a run-of-the-mill hack-n-slash action RPG with very simple controls. There's nothing that challenging here - mainly, I suspect, to ensure that young followers of the TV show can easily pick up everything they need to play this game without being bamboozled by a complicated control system.

You only get the one combat button and one defence button to start with - a more complicated set of attacks are available over time by pressing the R1 button and any one of the four main buttons (O, X etc.) To be perfectly honest though, there isn't that much skill involved in offing the enemy.

As your team comes together, you can switch between all members. This is handy, and is extremely useful, as each member has a very different specialised skill to offer. Sadly the developers failed to go down the obvious route and provide a multi-player option. How much more interesting this game would have been if you could have played with up to three other friends, each taking on the role of a different one of Aang's gang.

While on the whole this is a good solid game for the younger gamer, there are a few problems that I found a little irritating. Firstly I was a little surprised to see that you are given the opportunity to talk to all of the people you come across. The reason I was surprised is that very few of them have anything to say, and so you end up wasting time listening to the same thing over and over again. After a while, this makes you not want to interact with any of the characters and instead only talk to those that have an icon over their head that indicates they want to talk with you.

Another problem is with the way that your enemies seem to respawn. For example, once you kill a wolf pack they reappear if you go back to that area - which makes actually getting from point A to B quite tiresome if you've already sliced and diced the critters once.

While this is an entertaining offering for the younger gamer, there's not really enough here to appeal to the more experienced player.

Nick Smithson

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