Review: Thor: God of Thunder (PS3)

Thor has always been one of my favorite Marvel superheroes as a kid. So I was thrilled to find out there was going to be a Hollywood movie based on him and that SEGA was going to make a video game. Did the game match a fan’s expectations?

Plot spoiler: No.

Story and Presentation

When SEGA first announced Thor: God of Thunder to be a movie based game, many were afraid it would suck because those types of games usually do. Then it was confirmed that it would that it was being co-written by Matt Fraction (Eisner Award-winning American comic book writer) and that it would expand the Thor movie universe further. I thought that even if the game didn’t have great controls, it would still have great comic book-like moments due to Fraction being involved in the project.

The sad part is that the game’s story feels like it’s either written in the early 60’s or by an 8 year old child who lacks the ability to tell a good story. The story sets up a basic plot, one which is taken right from Norse mythology. Basically ice giants have hurt Thor’s friend, who he thinks is dead. Loki, being the scheming bastard that he is, decides to encourage Thor to go after them as payback for what they did to his friend. There’s a part where Loki’s plot doesn’t go as he wishes, around the same time that Thor finds out he was betrayed by him. Instead of the characters showing human reactions, such as not trusting someone who just backstabbed you, Loki comes out of nowhere and says he will help you stop the attack on Asgard. Thor for some reason decides to trust him without reacting negatively at all.

One would question where Odin, the God of Gods, is at? Well, early on in the game he says that he is going to take a nap. So I guess while Thor and Loki are screwing everything up, he’s laying down taking a nice cool nap… so what if his city is being destroyed? Man has to get his rest.

So what about the voice acting and cut scenes? I mean they should be top notch, it is a game that’s supposed to tie-in with the movie. Not only that, they got AAA talent with the Thor and Loki movie actors playing the voices for their game characters. Well, I wish I could tell you that they gave dramatic performances worthy of playing this game, but they did a horrible job, as if they just phoned it in. There’s a scene where Loki’s plans are being ruined, and instead of him sounding like he might care, his actor delivers the same monotone voice throughout the whole scene. Seems like it was money well spent.

It’s funny when games that should be cinematic, like this one, just aren’t. The story is bad and the characters sound boring. Yet they still added cutscenes, though even though they aren’t too long, the scenes seem to drag due to how badly they’re executed.

Graphics and Gameplay

The game is built on the Unreal 3 engine, the same one that powered great-looking games like Gears of War 2 and Batman Arkham Asylum. Too bad that this game doesn’t make use of all the tools the engine has to offer. If you have seen pictures of the game, you know what to expect. Thor: God of Thunder isn’t going to win awards for graphics. It has low resolution textures, mixed with some good-looking ones. The problem is that the game’s graphics aren’t consistent. It will have good looking water then bad-looking character models. The graphics are a big step up from something like Iron Man 2, which had some of the worst textures I have seen in a long time, but they’re still not very good.

As for gameplay, the developers seemed to think the best way to create this game was to copy the God of War formula. That is a good way to start the game, it’s just too bad that they failed. The animation and hit detection is very hit or miss. It doesn’t feel smooth as it should be. There are little changes throughout the game that are very annoying. For example, if you grab an enemy there is no QTE, you are allowed to either punch them (by pressing punch button), shock them (by pressing power button) or throw them (by press the throw button). I know most people would say this is basic, because it is. But to do moves like this in God of War you have to do a QTE. The annoying part is that later in the game, when you fight bigger bosses, out of nowhere they will throw QTEs in the mix.

Yes, so now that they got you used to just pressing a button you want, they throw in QTEs. But its not like they throw them for certain enemies, they try to keep you on your toes. Sometimes when you grab a boss it will either be a QTE or just you hitting them how you want. This sucks because the game makes you wait for a certain time for the QTE, then if you don’t press it fast enough you fail. The time window for the QTE is frustratingly short. What is the point of mixing this stuff? Its stuff like this that pisses me off.

Most of the game has you fighting ugly monsters, then a boss to move on. But unlike most crappy license games that do the same exact thing over and over, they do try to change it up. They have you swinging your hammer at incoming enemies on ships, while you protect your craft from acquiring too much damage. They also have a bit near the end where you do various missions like this to protect Asgard before the final battle. Some are frustrating, like ones where you’ll be fighting enemies, then having to switch to first person to knock down some rocket things before they leave the screen.

Extras

The game has items you can find as you play through the game that will upgrade your health, weapons and unlock new costumes. Not only that, but when you destroy enemies you’ll get points to upgrade powers in Valor section. This will unlock more powerful attacks or new combos.

For those that are brave, they can take on Fates, which are like are like in-game achievements, which let you unlock more stuff in Valor. Some of the fates include annoying stuff like killing 1,000 of certain enemies while others are specific to the world and moment. Like saving a guard from dying.

After you beat the game, you unlock a harder mode to play through. That is if you are a brave enough soul to play through the game again. You will be able to use all your upgrades you unlocked the first time you played through it. As far as secret items, some of them are only obtainable through harder play through. So you’ll have to play through the game at least twice to unlock everything. That is if you care about that sort of stuff.

Conclusion

SEGA had a big chance to deliver a great action game, instead the title falls short due to bad design choices, mix bag of graphics, and bad story and acting. The developers took what God of War did and did it worse. In the end of the day you have to question why you would want to play this when you could just play Bayonetta, God of War III or Dante’s Inferno. All of which are superior games in every aspect.

Positives

  • Controls are familiar
  • Lots of moves to unlock
  • Hidden items to look for

Negatives

  • Bad Story and acting
  • Frustrating design choices
  • Mixed bag of graphics
  • Hit and miss hit detection
Rating:

D

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4 responses to “Review: Thor: God of Thunder (PS3)

  1. CosmicCastaway says:

    I think it still looks pretty fun. I might check it out once the price comes down a little bit.

  2. Seems George was Thorily disgusted with this game!

  3. matty says:

    ^Nyuk nyuk nyuk! Lemme try! I guess the game wasn't Thoroughgood enough for George.

    Hmm… that will do. That will do.

    I don't know jack about the character, but he was pretty fun in the film. The story was crap there, too, but it doesn't sound like Thor's charming ways made the transition here. Sure as hell not charming enough to drop 50 bucks on.

  4. Centrale says:

    Man, you really hammered them in this review.

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