Thor: God Of Thunder 3DS
Like the rising of the moon, it is inevitable that video game developers will try and cash in on the next biggest movie blockbuster. The year so far has spawned games such as Thor, Captain America, The Green Lantern and the list goes on. Most are lack-lustre and are missing the element of time it has taken the movie producer to create a genius work of art. SEGA have been at it again with the latest effort – Thor: God Of Thunder. Hold on, this seems a little familiar.
In some what of a brilliant tactic, SEGA have timed the Nintendo 3DS version of Thor to be released in line with the Blu-Ray release of the Marvel picture. This gave the developers – Red Fly Studios an extra six months to make a handheld game that people would choose over the home console versions. But was the extra time that was given used in such a game that left an impression more than the average console version?
Thor: God Of Thunder 3DS certainly makes an impression right from the moment the cartridge enters the system. Unfortunately, it is not the best start to the proceedings. After pressing the A button to bring up the start menu, tapping the bottom screen to choose a profile is a problem. As far as navigating the menus are concerned, the touchscreen is redundant. After nearly 8 years of playing Nintendo DS this is a feature most will have gotten used to. Surprisingly its hard to get used to!
After this small oversight, the game starts with a two dimensional cinematic sequence outlines the plot for the game. Using the same story as God Of Thunder on the Xbox 360: the war to save Asgard has begun and it is up to Thor, to make sure it does not fall. To do so, the Norsk God must battle his way through hoards of enemies using Mjölnir – his big hammer. Although only played in two dimensions, the game starts by throwing Thor head first into battle.
Guiding Thor through the relentless enemies of Asgard is simple enough as the camera is behind the God himself. This eliminates the shoddy camera issues experienced on the console version and with the camera following Thor through the world, the 3D effects never blur and remain consistent. When fighting in big open spaces however, the camera is an issue due to the fact it does not pull back to view the entire area. This means that enemies are often off screen and it is hard to judge how many are left.
Camera improvements aren’t the only thing that SEGA have added to the game. The last six months have seen the battle system heavily overhauled. This time, its not just a case of bashing the same button to defeat the bad guys. The use of two buttons is implemented: one for quick and light attacks, the other is for slower heavy attacks. Providing more of a challenge, it takes longer to break and shatter the pesky ice demons that litter Asgard. They have also brought purpose to the multiplier that is earned by killing the beasts.
Special power-ups are picked up during the game are given extra power if multiplier combo reaches a high enough level. Activated by the touchscreen, and depending on which one used will have a different effect – usually resulting in more power for Thor and more pain for the enemies on the wrong side of the hammer. Valour points are once again used to give Thor his abilities and are gained either by killing large enemies or smashing the environments.
For the Nintendo 3DS, Thor: God Of Thunder looks like a condensed Wii version. Character models are defined, distinguishable and smooth running, however they do not interact well with the surroundings. Too many times has Thor jumped through ledges when trying to climb on them or appeared to be floating above the ground. The 3D in the main game is effective throughout with the exception of the cutscenes where it is missed completely. The sound in the game is not a problem at all. The addition of full voice acting from the stars of the film is a welcome addition and is used as a perfect narration to direct the story.
Thor: God Of Thunder 3DS is much like the console version in terms of plot lines and it’s graphical style. Camera fixes and a hugely improved combat system make the game a slicker version of what was seen only six months ago. Niggles such as not using the touchscreen in menus and the lack of 3D cutscenes is a step back for a console that has two main selling points – a touchscreen and the ability to produce 3D.
The charm of the game can be seen in the character himself, by his very appearance when people see Thor, they know exactly what to expect – no masquerade, no hidden depths just a blonde haired brute with a gigantic hammer and a cape. It is in no way perfect, but it is an improvement on what we saw six months ago. The game still gets repetitive and and some points frustrating due to enemies attacking off screen, however what Thor has against it is slightly outweighed by positive aspects that have been improved on.