Avatar: The Burning Earth Review

I was able to get some playtime with Avatar the Last Airbender: The Burning Earth for the PS2 over the weekend. What are my thoughts on this 2nd game in the Nicktoon-to-game series? Read on.

The second game based on the Avatar franchise (which I love to distraction), Avatar: The Burning Earth is set naturally in Season 2 of the series, or The Book of Earth. Avatar Aang and his friends, the Water Tribe brother and sister Sokka and Katara and animal companions Appa and Momo, arrive in the vast Earth Kingdom to find an earthbending teacher. The main Story Mode of the game is split into chapters, each of which is based on an episode from the cartoon. While the first chapter, The Avatar State, dispenses with any exploration or character interaction and just throws you into a battle against a misguidedly hostile Earth Kingdom general and his troops, the rest of the episodes after have you and a companion (either human or CPU-controlled) going through a stage to end up with a boss encounter or big fight at the end.

The controls are pretty easy- two attack buttons, a jump, a block and a character switching button are available, and the response is adequate. The CPU companion at least does a good job of following you around, but doesn’t seem to do very well with fighting on its own against enemies. Still, I didn’t find myself babysitting my ally since you can pretty much handle most encounters yourself, and they don’t die permanently anyway (this IS a Nicktoon after all). The simple platforming and puzzle elements are kiddie-friendly and frustration is kept at a minimum by the fact that even if you make a mistake and fall off or fail a section, you simply teleport back to try again. Same goes for your CPU ally- as long as you make it, they’ll make it.

The game’s challenge is usually found at the end of the stages, when you face off with a boss fight. Some are expected, like General Fong in Chapter One, or the Swamp Monster in, well, The Swamp. The game diverts at times from the series, such as throwing the Fire Nation Governor at you as a boss in the Return to Omashu chapter (he was a non-combative pansy in the cartoon) instead of a confrontation with the Ozai Angels, perhaps to save the formidable Princess Azula and her cronies as the final bosses for the game.

For the most part, the fighting action is simple and easy, and you unlock moves and characters as you go in the Story Mode for use in the Combat Arena mode. The latter is a one-on-one fighting mode set in the Earth Rumble Tournament Ring, where you can face off with a human or CPU-controlled opponent. Initially only Aang, Katara and Sokka are available, with more unlocked as you encounter them in the Story Mode. There’s not much to the combat, and disappointingly it doesn’t make for a very compelling or deep beat ’em up- don’t expect Street Fighter. But for fans, being able to kick butt with the Avatar cast should be a treat.

This will be a nice diversion for fans of the series and those who played through the first game and liked it- it’s more of the same but slightly better thanks to the inclusion of the series’ more fun characters (Toph) and a more action-oriented feel throughout. Anyone else might be a little lost or confused by some of the storytelling. Better check out the actual cartoon instead of this game to get a real feel of the Avatar series.


7 Responses to “Avatar: The Burning Earth Review”

  1. Hi please can you help, myself and my son he is just 5 are both frustrated with avatar the burning earth game, we play on the nintendo wii and cant seem to gat anywhere in chapter 2 find the palace where king bumi is being held. Can you help.

    • you have to go in the big building at the north (you can see in the map) you have to jump on the box and on the roofs and bla bla bla… and then zuko and azula will come and katara and aang will run away and then you will be in the building. you will find a stairs in the east of the building (see in the map) and then you need to get in a door on the west of the building (you can see in the map too) and then climb up on the boards in the middle and jump to the floor. you will find bumi there but you need to fight some one first.
      I hope you understand me because i’m playing that on the DS

  2. follow the stairs, go left, and find the crate that you push. beyond that, I can’t help much.

    What I wanna know is how do you beat the Governor? I’ve tried four times and I keep dying. I’ve used the healing stuff, I’ve used combo moves, but I still can’t beat him! . . . it makes me feel like a bit of a wimp. . .

  3. Just keep going and save the healing potion when you’re nearly out…
    Can anybody help in the swamp. Can’t seem to move momo pass the creepers on the log..hold triangle plus move analog doent seem to work. Just stuck there.

  4. can anybody help pass the swamp part? plz
    plz plz plz

  5. you have to move the analog stick really fast. I also can’t beat the swamp monster.

  6. Can anyone tell me how to get passed the Fire Nation Governor?

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