E3 2010: The Last Airbender: It's a movie game!

The Last Airbender live-action adaptation may not bear the familiar name of the popular Nickelodeon cartoon -- thanks for that, James Cameron -- but at least the game based upon it won't be known solely for providing cheap Achievements.

Instead of producing a cross-platform licensed experience, THQ is focusing this one solely on Wii (with a separate Nintendo DS title, as well), delivering an action title that lets you assume the role of three characters while battling through a campaign inspired by the M. Night Shyamalan flick.

While the Wii game lets you play through a small chunk of the levels as young Aang, the series protagonist, a larger portion is devoted to series villain Prince Zuko, as well as the Blue Spirit. Zuko's missions are decidedly more melee-oriented, plus you'll have the ability to launch fire-based attacks on unsuspecting foes. Aang's action delivers a bit more finesse, along with his trademark wind abilities and some puzzle-solving sequences, while the Blue Spirit promises stealth elements and ninja-like wall climbing.

The expected eight-to-10 hour campaign uses lightly animated, hand-drawn images to convey the narrative, while film stars like Dev Patel and Noah Ringer are on tap for voice-over work. You'll also be able to play through a local two-player arena battle mode, though we didn't get a chance to see that one in action.

Based on the bits and pieces of missions shown at E3, we'd find it hard to get terribly worked up about the prospects of this Wii game. We're glad it's not another licensed waggle-fest -- you'll mostly use buttons for the action in The Last Airbender -- but the generic enemies and environments didn't inspire a whole ton of enthusiasm. Instead, we're guessing the game could turn out as a fairly solid offering for young Avatar enthusiasts still in the thick of The Last Airbender fever after seeing the flick early next month.

In other words, it's a movie game. Surprise!

Jun 16, 2010

Andrew Hayward
Freelance writer for GamesRadar and several other gaming and tech publications, including Official Xbox Magazine, Nintendo Power, Mac|Life, @Gamer, and PlayStation: The Official Magazine. Visit my work blog at http://andrewhayward.org.