Comic-Con 07: Avatar: The Last Airbender -- The Burning Earth Hands-On

We track down the four elements in our look at this martial arts adventure game based on the popular Nickelodeon cartoon series.

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THQ's Avatar: The Last Airbender--The Burning Earth follows the adventures of Aang and his fellow Avatars as they seek to save the earth from the Fire Nation. The game, based on the popular cartoon series on Nickelodeon, was unveiled today for the first time at Comic-Con 2007, and we got our hands on the Xbox 360 version to see how it's shaping up.

Much like the cartoon series on which it's based, The Burning Earth tells its tale in a novelistic way, with each series of adventures forming a chapter of the overall tale featured in the game. In the opening chapter of The Burning Earth, Aang is seeking out a teacher who can tutor him in the ways of earthbending to complement his already-honed skills of air- and water-bending. Benders, of course, are those who can manipulate the four essential elements--air, water, fire, and earth--to their own needs.

As the first chapter opens up, Aang and his female pal, Katara (herself a skilled waterbender) are accosted by multiple foes in an effort to teach the player the basic skills of combat. The A button handles basic strike attacks, and you can use a quick dash move by pressing the X button. Aang can also use his airbending skills to throw bolts of compressed air at foes--to do so you simply press the B button. Holding down the B button will add some oomph to your shots, and using these ranged attacks to soften up enemies before they get close to you is an easy way to find success early in the game. In addition, you can pick up tokens to earn special moves, and perform dodge rolls by pressing the right trigger and moving the left analog stick in any direction.

While the enemies featured in the opening levels of the game weren't anything too tough, the game does seem like it will throw a lot of different enemy types at you. In addition to the standard grunts that you'll mow down with ease, you'll also have to face slightly smarter earthbending enemies who will look to hurl huge boulders at you in order to slow you down. After mopping up the scrubs, we challenged an earthbending master who was able to use his skills at manipulating rocks to his advantage in several different ways--from summoning huge stone wheels to smash Aang and Katara with, to blasting forth with shock waves of earth and rock that we quickly learned were tough to avoid.

Should one of Aang's companions be in danger of going down for the count, Aang will be able to summon a special power, which will give him access to special options and more powerful attacks. Should Aang go down in battle, you'll immediately take control of the secondary character in the battle (in this case, Katara)--though we couldn't figure out if there was a way to revive a downed ally in the game.

The game's cel-shaded graphics, Asian-inspired settings, and somewhat muted color palette seem to match the visual style of the Avatar television series, and the game's action-first take on gameplay should be a draw for fans of the show. We'll have updates on the adventures of Aang and his pals as they strive for elemental mastery in The Burning Earth as we get closer to its release, so stay tuned.

Discussion

20 comments
herbertfkj
herbertfkj

totally pushover gamerpoints anyone?

jameeler91
jameeler91

The Wii version of the first one was horrible my brother rented it and i found it one of the worst games ive ever played happy feet was even better (which my brother has) im dissappointed because i kinda like the show hopefully this one is better and the next one is a step higher

foritxxar
foritxxar

Ehhh. Graphics suck, gameplay will *probably* be mediocre, and its probably going to simply be a mediocre, overlooked game. Notice, I said probably, because it might be really good... but probably not. :D

Chameleon93
Chameleon93

This game is gonna be stupid, they learned from the first one, why are they doing a second one?

marth678
marth678

umm.... people if you actually watched the show you would know there are other avatars, like roku

eViL_kA
eViL_kA

it's like he avoided giving his actual opinion on the demo he played; i wonder why that is hmmm...

PrinceUchiha
PrinceUchiha

First off the graphics are horrible, completely disgusting. Hopefully the gameplay picks up the slack, but if your thinking about buying this game a word of advice rent it 1st.

XTranscendenceX
XTranscendenceX

it sure would be cool if someone would take the time to do this right. There arent enough cool martial arts games out there. its basically Shenmue, Jade Empire or fighting games. If someone would take on a serious attempt to make a good avatar game it could totally rock.

maddenplayer16
maddenplayer16

This is one of those games you can expect to suck

razz2d2
razz2d2

I think when they say "fellow avatars" they mean like past avatars like Roku and Kyoshi. I'm hoping that's what they mean, it'd be kinda sad for ppl making this game not knowing what the hell they're doing or saying.

SephirothSyZtem
SephirothSyZtem

Fudger. If you think its hard to make a bad game....you might want to think again. Also, if you think its hard to make a worse beat-em up then avatar..... You might be shocked at how awful this game is going to be.

fudger2
fudger2

This game can only be better than the other one. Its pretty hard to be worst.

cg_619
cg_619

Can't wait for the game! This one seems like its much better.

yeah_write
yeah_write

This looks like it will be exactly like the last game: average. It's a shame too, Avatar is a cool concept and could translate into an amazing game.

BeastOfWar316
BeastOfWar316

"just as a minor correction, aang doesnt have fellow avatars, thats why the show is called THE avatar. theyre just fellow benders" And Sakka doesn't even Bend anything, he is just DAMN funny. A Haiku master if you will.

the_chojin99
the_chojin99

looking good ..........but theres only one avatar........what are the chances of paying as toph in this game???

kazen16
kazen16

uhmmm... theres no such thing as "fellow avatars"... only aang the avatar the rest are just regular benders

bobblehead875
bobblehead875

"THQ's Avatar: The Last Airbender--The Burning Earth follows the adventures of Aang and his fellow Avatars as they seek to save the earth from the Fire Nation." just as a minor correction, aang doesnt have fellow avatars, thats why the show is called THE avatar. theyre just fellow benders.

umd1998
umd1998

The Wii version of the previous Avatar: The Last Airbender game looked good, but was terribly repetitive (It seems like all you do is kill wolves) I hope this one is better...