Thor: God of Thunder Review (PS3/360)

May 31, 2011

PlayStation 3, Reviews, Xbox 360

Thor is a third-person action game based on the Thor film and developed by Liquid Entertainment.  Thor: God of Thunder is the first standalone game to feature Thor in a videogame, and is available for all three major consoles (PS3, Xbox 360, and Wii).

Story: 2/5

Thor: God of Thunder is written by Matt Fraction, one of the top comic writers in the industry, yet his tale in the Thor video game falls flat and is mostly uninspired. The story for the game is a sort of prequel to the movie, which adds more characters and worlds that we know from the comic books. Asgard is invaded by frost giants and many citizens are captured or injured, leaving Thor on a quest to vanquish those responsible across the nine realms. As always, the master of mischief, Loki (also known as Thor’s brother) uses the situation to his advantage as he manipulates Thor to achieve his ambitions of power. There are many locations within the nine realms that were fun to see, as well as some well-placed cameo appearances from the Thor film, and even certain characters that longtime comic fans will enjoy. Yet the story is a bit lackluster with dull narrative and basic plot points. If you’re looking for a good Thor story, I recommend reading his comic series instead, as the game’s storyline has no interesting moments to fuel the advancement of the game.

Gameplay: 2/5

At first, Thor feels like a GOW clone, which is not a bad thing, but you soon realize the issues that the game presents. Using the might of Mjolnir (Thor’s hammer), you beat and bash your way through hordes of enemies until you are allowed to advance. However, the repetition builds quickly as you enact the same basic moves throughout the game. The developers added multiple combat moves in order to attack your enemies, as well as three different magic powers (lightning, earthquake, wind) that you can upgrade along the way by collecting runes. These are all elements to a game that work for genres such as this, but the inconsistent hit detection makes the process a hassle. The move sets quickly become limited and you find yourself bored as you progress further through the game. One of the biggest challenges I faced while playing the game was when facing boss encounters. Many of the boss encounters required the use of quick-time events (something that is overly redundant in the gaming industry and actually takes away from game play), but these quick-time events do a poor job of explaining what to press and when. It was almost as if the developers forgot to add the visual cues for the player. This occurred numerous times and made the boss battles frustrating to play. Not only was this annoying the first time around, but many of the same bosses were recycled throughout the game, having you redo the same broken technique again and again. Thor also has the ability to grapple his enemies, but the same issue of never knowing when the proper time to attack an enemy often left you on the bashing end of the enemy instead. There were some moments where you felt the strength of Thor when he used his powers, but not enough to bypass the combat issues. Another problem with the game was that there were moments when you weren’t quite sure what your objective was in certain levels, leaving you scratching your head for a few minutes before stumbling to where you needed to go or what you needed to do to progress. Also, the final levels of the game leave you defending Asgard against invading enemies, and the only way to accomplish this is by keeping the moral of Asgard up (basically, a time based trial). The problem here is that the game saves the moral meter at a certain point when you die, making it much harder to complete these time trials in an unrealistic time limit. I eventually completed the level, but it was one of the most frustrating game experiences I have faced. The game does try to add different variations of gameplay, where you are riding a water beast through a level, or firing your lightning bolts using a reticule, but unfortunately, the broken gameplay makes for an unpleasant experience.

Graphics: 3/5

Graphics in Thor are a mixed bag. In many moments, the graphics are anywhere from decent to very good, with visually striking character models and background environments. Yet there are other moments with severe clipping issues, facial expressions and effects that are not detailed, and an unpolished look to the game. There were some visual cues missing from the game, and the Chapter 12 logo that signals the player to the beginning of the chapter is strangely absent, going from Chapter 11 to Chapter 13.

Sound: 3/5

The sound in Thor mainly works, with powerful sounding lightning and earthquake attacks. It’s nice to have the voice talent from the actors of the movie to portray their characters, but the dialogue does not engage you into the story. Music in the game is mediocre, and doesn’t drive the experience further or possess any memorable tunes.

Overall: 10/20 = 5/10

Thor is lacking in many areas and doesn’t provide the gamer with any enjoyable moments or gameplay. If you are a fan of Thor, or Marvel, you might enjoy it in small bursts, but it barely holds any entertainment value.

PROS:

+ Seeing Thor in his own game.

+ Cameo appearance from well known comic characters from the Thor series.

CONS:

– Repetitive, and often broken, gameplay

– Dull story and experience

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