Thor: God of Thunder
Reviewed on: PlayStation 3 (also on Xbox 360)
Let's be blunt: This game can be likened to an impetuous young god of Asgard who loses the ability to lift his own mystical hammer. In other words, it is unworthy of the power of Thor.
I spoke in my hands-on preview of the game's generic melee and magic use. With the full game in hand, it has become clear that both of these things are unfortunately worse than first thought. Melee is somewhat pointless to use; grapple attacks are ten times as powerful, and give you bonuses of health and Odinforce (magic) as well as feats and more "valor points" (experience points, used to level up your powers). Odinforce is strong and can often affect many enemies at once. Unfortunately, it also drains very quickly, even if you spend all your valor upgrading it first. The "regeneration" which essentially costs 18,000 valor points, is so interminably slow that if you want to use it to actually re-build your Odinforce, you'll spend a LOT of time standing around. The most satisfying attacks in the game are your hammer-throws, but those, too, use Odinforce. What I'm trying to say here is, you can feel like a god…for about 2 minutes. Then you're a mere mortal again, and being mortal gets boring, fast.
In addition to all this, button presses are often unresponsive, leaving you stranded amongst multiple enemies or in the middle of a boss fight, being pummeled while frantically pressing your power button to no avail.
Last but not least, there's the lack of the ability to fly. During our hands-on preview, a developer told us flight was not included because of the fact that it "didn't fit the gameplay model" and "Thor doesn't really fly much in the movie." Not only does Thor fly in the eponymous movie, but he even delivers a line specifically about flying. Instead of real flying, there are points that you tap on a shoulder button and watch Thor fly into the distance and fade to black. It's actually kind of mean; a tease saying "Yeah, we know he can fly, and we're not letting you anyway!" Instead, you plod around. You have a super-slow walk; I'd say your maximum speed is about 1/2 that of the average human, never mind a god. The closest thing you have to flight, an air dash, gets you about half the distance of Spider-Man's air dash in most of his games; that's a character, by the way, that can't fly.
So, redeeming factors? Well, it's not the amateurish menus or the inconsistent graphics, especially during cutscenes. I guess if there's a shining light here, it's the voice-work, particularly by Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston as Thor and Loki, respectively. The downside there is, they don't get too much time to chat because this game isn't particularly story-driven.
I've probably made this game sound a bit worse than it actually is. The combat is serviceable for the most part, but it has too many flaws to keep you involved for very long. If you're a die-hard action game fan of the likes of God of War, this game can be rented and easily beaten in a weekend. Otherwise, you're better off going and seeing the excellent film 4 or 5 times, as it will be a more enjoyable use of your money with about the same amount of time spent sitting in a chair watching Thor.
Plus, then he'll actually fly.The Portable Factor Thor: God of Thunder DS: You want the real redeeming factor of the Thor game that just came out? It's the portable version! The DS adventure is completely different. A side-scroller beat-em-up (that's a lot of hyphens!), the DS game is fun, easy to jump into, and feels more like Thor in about ten minutes than 10 hours of the console game. Your special attacks are strong and wipe out entire screens worth of enemies. The hammer throw is quick, fun, and responsive. Upgrading abilities is a matter of equipping runes, up to three at a time, to bump up your strength, add new attacks, and more. This is a simple game with tons of guest stars and nice execution. The production values aren't quite as high as some other DS games, but the text-based conversations featuring art by Mark Brooks are fun, with most characters based nicely off the actors from the film. If you're a fan of the side-scroller, you'll have a good time running, jumping, and slamming your hammer into the faces of bad guys in this one. Just watch out for the bosses, as the difficulty ramps up FAST when you meet those screen-tall baddies.