Thor: God of Thunder
Developer: Sega
Publisher: Sega
Release Date: Out Now
Players/Online features: One
Words By:

Every now and then a really good movie tie-in comes along, and guess what? This isn’t it. Thor: God of Thunder is based on the movie of a similar name starring Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins, Tim Hiddlestone and Chris Hemsworth as Thor. The good news is that Hiddlestone and Hemsworth lend their voices to the game; the bad news is that Hopkins doesn’t, and Natalie Portman’s likeness is extremely poor.

The game, like the “Marmite” movie is a strange mix of fantasy, Norse mythical, medieval and sci-fi. In the movie Thor is cast out of the fantastic realm of Asgard by his father (that’s Odin) and sent to live amongst humans on Earth, where he has lots of spectacular fights ‘n’ stuff. Cool. The game presumes we’ve seen the movie, read the Marvel comics and acts like we’re supposed to know characters we’ve never been introduced to intimately; It also throws new combos and moves at you like nobody’s business, making Thor level up (Mmmmkay like THE GOD OF WAR needed improving) and generally tries to be some sort of glossy RPG whilst failing to appeal or addict the gamer at the first hurdle. The game’s plot doesn’t see Thor on Earth having lots of spectacular fights but instead but it’s something about being cast out again (I wasn’t really listening) and battling across the Norse worlds to save Aasgaard-so needless to say the plot didn’t make the slightest bit of sense to me, but I really don’t think it matters.

Unless you’re as dumb as a bucket of hammers you’ll have gathered by now that I didn’t enjoy Thor much. The game’s main problems are without doubt (and I’m certainly no graphics junkie) its rudimentary scenery and the control over Thor himself. Unless Thor’s performing a preset animation on a boss creature his animation is crude and movement lacks subtlety which makes even an action as simple as plugging his legendary, mighty hammer (Mjolnir to you) into a rune stone to recharge his health (Odinforce or ‘magic force’ by any other name) or simply save the game a fiddly process.

Thor can use the powers of the storm: wind, thunder and lightning. By earning Valor (obviously using the American spelling, as all good Norse Gods should) in combat throughout the game, you can select from a wider range of abilities, acquire new attacks, powers and upgrades. There are also hidden Niflheim (I kid you not) collectibles that’ll give you a healthy valour bonus but these just seemed to want to waste my time and try my patience with their leaps of faith and clunky platform jumping and ledge-grabbing mechanics.

The game’s controls are mapped so: ‘LB’ is dash and Mjolnir boost (an extended zip-jump) if used in the air, ‘A’ is jump, ‘X’ is melee and ‘Y’ power attacks. Gameplay is a simple matter of bashing enemies repeatedly most of the time, while using any one of the truckload of combos that you unlock. Certain types of attack are more effective against certain types of enemies. Some of the combos seem to be SO unresponsive that you’ll be mashing the buttons in frustration and getting most of them by pure accident. Other button responses are also slow, most unforgivably the block move which is set to the L trigger, and seems to work fine as long as there are no enemies around, but fails to activate quickly enough when you’re actually in combat, so that’s great.

Thor also has a quite terrible camera that rarely gives you a decent view of the enemy you’re fighting, there’s no ‘lock on’ either so you’ll miss with more ranged attacks than you’ll hit with, and get hit by enemies you can’t even see.

So what should have been an epic battle over two worlds ends up being just one enemy filled room, mountain ledge or platform full of virtually identical enemies to kill, after another-it’s utterly mindnumbing how the game’s designers thought that anyone would want to perform repetitive button mashing like this in this day and age, with so many better games available. Honestly, your joypad’s ‘X’ button may well need a lengthy vacation should you be daft enough to buy this game and play it to its (and I won’t go into spoiler territory here) remarkably unimpressive ending.

Thor: God of Thunder also features some evil checkpoints that leave you a long run up through cannon fodder enemies just to get back to the boss battle where you died. If it sounds like I was in a bad mood when playing this game—well I wasn’t when I started it, honest. Maybe all that thunder just wore off on me. But seriously, this is just a catalogue of gaming no-no’s and it should be in the game developer’s handbook as an example of how not to make a movie tie-in game. Now, I’m sure we both have better things to be doing so I’ll just sum up with: Awful. Dire. Annoying. Avoid-especially if you enjoyed the spectacular movie.

Best Bits

- None really, and I can’t remember saying that about a game before.
- In-game Thor does look like Chris Hemsworth.
- The very mention of “Niflheim” made me titter, and I don’t know why.
Worst Bits

- Blue ice giants, seemingly millions of them, and that ain't cool.
- Annoying, repetitive and simplistic gameplay.
- A series of 10-minute plus boss battles that will annoy and bore you to tears.
- Clunky controls.
- Thor’s movement lacks subtlety and has few frames of animation.
- Looks like a PS2 game displayed in HD, an old one at that.

by: 'Big Tony' Bolognese

Copyright © Gamecell 2011