REVIEW: Avatar Warfare

Avatar Warfare (80 MSP) is DigitalDNA Games latest FPS to hit the service, and it’s once again adapting Call of Duty’s gameplay and progression system to fit the avatar crowd, to very good effect.

This installment ditches the neon-drenched hallways of a space station (Avatar Laser Wars 2) and tries for a more serene, grounded setting. It’s certainly pretty to look at (check out the reflection effects on the stream that runs through the level), and the game’s ‘Lost Subdivision’ map (if you’ve played Black Ops, think of it as vaguely ‘Nuketown’-ish) gives you plenty of natural cover and houses to hide behind / strike from.

Most games start off as Free-For-All matches, transitioning into a Team Deathmatch once enough players have joined. In fact, it handles and plays practically identical to the aforementioned Avatar Laser Wars 2, which is a good thing (I ranked the game 10th on my leaderboard). That same familiarity can also lead to some stagnant matches, as the differences (meaing ‘lack thereof’) between the two games becomes more apparent, kind of like how gamers take issue with the annual COD installments. Only having access to a single map, too, tends to stale during longer sessions.

Still, most of the impetus for playing first-person shooters comes in ranking up and unlocking new weapons / perks, and Avatar Warfare offers a plethora of tiered rewards. Much like its spiritual predecessor, you earn experience for hitmarkers and ‘tags’ (i.e. kills), which level up your avatar and give you access to the bigger / better versions of the starting guns (assault rifles, SMGs, rifles, shotguns), and perks that enhance your own latent abilities. Tagstreaks (standing in for ’killstreaks’) make their return as well, giving you the chance to one-up your competition with short-lived boosts and effects, like radar and the still-frustrating shield, or an RPG to wreak havoc with. Earning a set number of tags in a row, with higher rewards requiring higher risk / longer killstreaks, remains a just prize for skilled players and an ample challenge for newcomers.

Avatar Warfare - Screen

Water so pretty!

Feelings of familiarity aside, the usual frustrations with online XBLIGs will apply, including laggy connections and players suddenly dropping out. This is particularly troublesome in the Team Deathmatch mode, juggling six players or more, with others constantly joining in / leaving. It’s never to the point of being unplayable (for long, anyway), though you’ll no doubt encounter numerous situations where you’ll die or miss your shots due to the connection. Individual results may vary, as they say.

Overall, Avatar Warfare is another solid FPS on the service courtesy of DigitalDNA, though those expecting a brand new experience will be slightly let down. While the same fun and pick-up-play components that fuel competitive multiplayer games are present in Avatar Warfare, it feels more like an evolution of previous games. Should still scratch that Call of Duty itch for a dollar.

11 thoughts on “REVIEW: Avatar Warfare”

  1. Avatar warfare is okay game that it go boring after a minute no perks that needs care packages and some new maps like fighting in a mall and Xbox game centre it was a waste of dollar see the only have one map.

    1. The ‘one map’ issue is something a lot of FPS XBLIGs have, but for $1, it doesn’t hurt as much as it would had you paid more. That said, there are plenty of XBLIG shooters that go above and beyond what $1 usually buys you.

      There’s also the issue of finding online games. Avatar Warfare was a good game when you could find matches, but nowadays, you really need friends to buy the game with you in order to find consistent matches.

      If you haven’t already, I recommend looking up Murder Miners on XBLIG. It’s a Minecraft / Halo FPS with dozens of maps, user-created maps, and a relatively strong online community. It also goes for $1, so you’re getting a lot more for the same price as what you paid here. 🙂

  2. This might be a stupid question, but… how I play this game online? The info says “play online with 15 of your FRIENDS” thats means I have to have on my friend list ppl that got this game? I also got Murder Miners and only get to enter one Deadmatch since the three weeks I have been gold, it must be the hours I go online. I went gold mostly for you know who Online, but its seems I need to go retail if I want some competitive action.

    1. It could be the hours you’re online, but it’s possible that anyone playing Avatar Warfare has moved on to another game. That’s the one bad thing about XBLIG; unless you have friends that own the game and can organize a match, you might have a hard time finding strangers to play with.

      Murder Miners was still pretty popular, I thought, so maybe you’re just online when no one else is.

  3. One of the first reviews I disagree with. I wish I didn’t buy this. The game was laggy, hit detection was off, and the weapons seemed really unbalanced if you are just starting out. DigitalDNA are probably the most overrated developers on xblig.

    1. Really? Hmmm. Your complaints are certainly valid. I know it played better in free-for-all than the team deathmatch. There were a few matches that were unplayable because of the lag, but for the most part, I had little to no issues with hit detection.

      Online issues aside, though, I have to say that DigitalDNA does FPS controls / design better than most indie Devs.

      As far as the weapons, I changed my default gun to the second choice (?), a submachine type, if I recall. That worked best for me. Even after leveling up / unlocking more options, I kept coming back to that gun.

  4. I tried a trial, it just didn’t feel good. I know Digital DNA does good fpses but this didn’t click for me.
    Maybe its the theme.

    1. Could be. A had a lot of fun with it, though having put a lot of time into their previous, Avatar Laser Wars 2, it did start to feel same-y.

  5. You’ve gotta hand it to Digital DNA, from the box art to the visuals, they hit the target every time.

    1. Yes they do. Both them and Sick Kreations pretty much have the FPS format down pat, though I’d give the edge to DigitalDNA for creating games with lasting value. It takes some time to level all the way up / unlock everything in their games.

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