Avatar - Into the Inferno  - Review

Avatar - Into the Inferno
Ages: Everyone 10+

This game is the only one where I have also checked out the Nickelodeon show. We have reviewed the previous game and this game poses a conundrum for us - we do not review violent games. It was only after seeing the finale of the cable show where Aang is charged with killing the Fire Lord in order to save the world - and he can't and he doesn't, that we proceeded with the review. The show is filled with comments about justice, responsibility, conquering your fear and respect for an individual life - wiping out armies is a different thing.

It is with this baggage that I played the Wii, PS2 and DS versions of the game. The avatar characters are all there: Katara, waterbender and healer; Toph, the blind earthbender who "sees" with her feet; Sokka, brother to Katara and skilled with a boomerang; Zuko, firebender and originally an enemy of Aang, but eventually joining with him to complete the four elements, and Azula, Zuko's sister and the antagonist to the end. Voices sound just like those in the show.

The game dips into the story picking out elements: awakening on the ship; hang gliding on Ember Island; fighting at Ba Sing Se; Day of the Black Sun and the advent of the Sozen Comet bringing ultimate power to the Fire Lord. In each chapter of the game Aang is accompanied with one other bender, and you can change between them, but since Aang can do all of the elements, it is easier to stay playing with him.

I would have thought that with the bending motions the Wii would have been the most engrossing - not so. All the different manipulations take you out of the story instead bringing you into it. While the B button will pick up and release the bending object/skill - each element requires a different motion. Let's face it - the Wii controller is not a precision instrument - moving sideways to slice water and shaking sideways to freeze water is at the edge of it's capability. Yet I can see why they wanted to do it.

The PS2 has a more constrained button attack and all motions are the same, so you just have to find the element and pick it up, aim and let it go. Aiming is still wobbly and since bending requires a number of steps, it does not serve well in battles. Simpler to just mash a button.

The DS version is a surprisingly well designed game. Much is made of switching between the characters - one operating levers and pressure switches while the other uses his/her bending skill. Bending elements abound, and one is always near when you need it. A nice touch is the Progress Bar which indicates how far into the level you have progressed. Check points are so numerous that you hardly die. Music is pretty standard but the sounds are great and are used to clue the player that they are on the right track. The designers have created a game without rough edges -- it's smooth.

Fun Factor: High when you get past the kludgy controls
Female Factor: Katera, Azula and Toph - the good, the bad and the witty
Player Friendly: Not enough saves

Reviewed by: Editor - 11/08

  • Avatar - Into the Inferno
  • © PlayTHQ
  • Platform(s): Wii GBDS PS2
  • To Order: WII http://www.amazon.com/ $29.99
  • To Order: PS2 http://www.amazon.com/ $19.99
  • To Order: GBDS http://www.amazon.com/ $19.99