It is easy to entice me to play a superhero game, irregardless of if it has a movie license. It’s easy for me to forgive a superhero game’s flaws if the developers make me feel like I’ve actually assumed the mantle of the titular hero, like the experience I had with Superman: Shadow of Apokolips. Throw a digitized version of hottie-bo-bottie Chris Hemsworth into the mix, and you should be able to bank on me loving Thor: God of Thunder. Unfortunately, that was not the case. This game was plagued by all of the typical woes that afflict a video game that ties in to a movie, such as an un-fleshed out plot and rushed design, and to such an extreme extent that it almost feels like you’re playing an unfinished game. Thankfully there are some really fun moments that help make this game not be a total waste of time.
Thor: God of Thunder plays like a beat-em-up adventure with a few RPG elements thrown in. Each world has the same basic setup: Thor’s path through the level gets cut off and will not open until you defeat a seemingly endless swarm of bad guys. Defeating these baddies will release orbs in yellow (experience), red (health), and blue (Odinforce (magic (triple parentheses))). Once Thor has gathered enough experience to level up you can enter a screen to spend your skill point(s) on something from one of the three branches in Thor’s skill tree. It is a very rudimentary adaptation of a common RPG element, but even the most basic layer of complexity is welcomed in this game which consists of helping Thor bash and zap his way to victory and little else.
You execute each of the moves in the god of thunder’s immense moveset with a combination of the +, -, A, Z, or C buttons and waggling either the Wii remote or Nunchuck. You can chain together basic melee and magic attacks to increase your combo counter. The higher the number on the combo counter is, the more powerful your finishing move for each combo becomes. There is a huge amount of combinations you can put together. So many, in fact, that it was difficult to select the appropriate one for the given situation. Thankfully, most encounters could be passed by simply hammering on the A button and waggling the Wii Remote. Some of the gesture based controls, like the downward swings for hammer smashes, were fun if not repetitive. Most players will be left with exhausted thumbs and tender shoulders by the time they finish a level, as if they had actually been wielding Thor’s hammer Mojlnir themselves. Perhaps this was just the developer’s attempt at adding a layer of immersion.
Once you reach the end of the level you will have to battle a boss. Each boss battle plays essentially the same: first you weaken the boss to a certain point, then find the glowing spot on the ground so you can hit the C button. What makes this particularly difficult is that you don’t need to stand on the shiny spot, but rather some minuscule and unseen marker in its immediate vicinity. If you don’t hit the spot within the slotted time, the boss will regain some health and you must weaken him further before making a second attempt. If you do manage to hit the C button in the right spot at the right time, you will then have to complete a series of quick time events to defeat the boss. The first time you do one it will seem fun and exciting; like you’re really bashing the hell out of the onscreen monster. By the final boss it seem so formulaic all the thrill will be gone
It is worth noting that for some reason, despite sharing some of the same actors, this game seems to have no relation to the Thor movie. People expecting to adventure on Earth alongside Natalie Portman will be severely disappointed. As I battled what I now know to be the final boss, I was thinking to myself, “Now get ready Sugar Dumplin’ (as you know, that’s what I call myself in my head), because after you wreck this baddie you’ll probably be hurled to Earth to save Natalie Portman.” Instead, I was abruptly hurled into the credits. This only compounded the sensation that what I was playing was only half of a game.
Visually, Thor: God of Thunder is a bit of a mixed bag. Battle effects look bright and immense enough to give you a feel of just how devestating they are supposed to be. The characters, enemies, bosses have a 3D/cell-shaded look to them that is both appealing and appropriate for a comic book game. The still cutscenes on the Wii version run smootly and tie in to the comic book theme with a unique cell-shaded look, but unfortunately this art style was not carried over into the man game or the full-motion cutscenes. The video turns very choppy and slows to a crawl, adding to the unfinished and rough feeling this game has. On top of that steaming hot helping of visual daisappointment, you will be guiding Thor through through incredibly bland and unpolished environments on his four to five hour adventure. Textures are flat, and the color palate seems uninspired. It’s easy to imagine the development team being rushed to get the game out on time to coincide with the movie’s release.
Sound in Thor is underwhelming, but adequate. The minimal amounts of voice acting from people were believable considering what kind of subject matter is being handled, however the voices for monsters were another story all together. The attempt to make the beasts sound demonic just made their speech completely indecipherable, to the point where subtitles had to be turned on just to understand what was going on.
It really shouldn’t surprise anyone that Thor: God of Thunder is a mediocre game at best. Not only do superhero games have a bad reputation, but movie tie-in games are historically even worse. There are lots of very godlike and shiny-looking moves that can be used to decimate enemies if you have a photographic memory and can remember the control combos. Unfortunately, those fancy moves aren’t really needed because A mashing and waggles will get you through any conflict. There was at least an attempt to add some depth to the game through Thor’s skill tree, but creating a five hour long console game these days is almost unforgivable even considering a reduced price point. Perhaps the Green Lantern or Captain America games can break the curse that has plagued movie video games since time in memoriam. Tell us your thoughts in a comment below!
Thor: God of Thunder
|Battling with Thor using the Wii's motion controls is at least temporarily entertaining, certain visual aspects of the game are highly polished||Poorly constructed story, environments, and cutscenes along with an extremely short amount of gameplay will leave most players feeling like they are playing an unfinished game.|
|Verdict||It could be entertaining if you need a game to fill your afternoon with, but do some stretches first and definitely rent it!|