Thor: God of Thunder
Movie to Game Tie-ins have been a tradition since video gaming hit the mainstream. They have a reputation of being hashed together quickly, follow the same story as the film and are generally sub-par. SEGA have decided with THOR: God Of Thunder to change tact slightly.
Written by the Thor (comic) writer Matt Fraction who also lent his talent to the story of Iron Man 2 The Videogame, is more of an alternative take on the comic book series. This also features the voices talents of Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston who play Thor and Loki in the film, which is a welcome change. The game has a short introduction to the surrounds of Asgard and then plunges hammer-first into the first battle against the evil Frost Giants of Jotunheim.
While the exciting opening throws Thor straight into the heart of battle, frustratingly the game insists on teaching all of the “basic” combination attacks and magic spells, which involve pressing the X button a set number of times then finishing the combo with Y. This detracts from the excitement and puts a dampener on the battle.
Progressing through the first level, the God of Thunder is quickly trained on aspects of the combat system, such as grappling foes, flying, the rage meter and most importantly – Valor points. Grappling enemies and flying are used as action points and can only be used in certain circumstances. For instance when a large area needs to be covered or when a Frost Giant has it’s armour broken.
The Rage meter is again only used in certain points, primarily when there are an exceptional number of bad guys and a sub-boss is following straight after. The meter is built up by killing enemies and once unleashed causes an electrical storm to attack the remaining squadron.
Valor however is a different kettle of fish. Valor points act like experience points in a RPG. They are earned by seeing off the bigger enemies. These can be spent on upgrading Thor’s powers, be it increasing HP or by upgrading the spell set. This system is basic and is very easily completed. It lacks any challenge to complete all of the upgrades.
As the game progresses, it quickly becomes that God of Thunder it is just one button bashing battle after another with a minimal plot to follow. Each level is played out like the last, with different background scenery to keep interest. Granted that there is some movement, but that is only to link the fights. Playing through this does become tedious as it is very repetitive in nature. Also while in combat if the camera is disturbed in anyway it tends to auto centre to the screen as opposed to Thor himself. This means Thor can spend sometime looking back through the TV screen rather than facing the enemy trying to kill him.
The boss battles are a refreshing change of pace. Button bashing the controller won’t see off the big bad guys. This time well timed attacks and looking out for that all important grapple icon will win the day. However because of the temperamental fighting system/camera angle there will be a few uncalled for deaths.
Graphically the game is a mediocre looking by today’s standards. It looks like it was ported directly from the Wii with blurry textures and the occassional invisible wall that appears every so often. SEGA didn’t seem to make use of the High Definition functionality that the Xbox 360 produces. The game music and sound effects are ample however apart from the two main characters being who they are, nothing that truly stands out.
This is a shame as SEGA had the right ingredients to break the curse of the movie tie-in, a Marvel writer, voices from the actors in the film and a story that wasn’t ripped straight from the movie. There are little gems to be found in the game such as 3D capabilities when played through a 3D TV and random facts from the Thor comics on the loading screens. The game feels like it was rushed in quite a lazy way.
The game is good up until the realisation sets in that button bashing is what is going to happen until the very end. Unfortunately this happens very early on around level 3. Thor: God of Thunder isn’t a terrible game but with it becoming repetitive quickly and with the camera issues, substandard graphics and lack of story means it is forgettable. The game will rest in the realms of limbo rather than being sitting in the chamber of kings which it easily could have been!