Bore, Chod of Munter!
Greh. As I drag my wretched body through the swirling misery around me, struggling to keep a focus on my prize, I think to myself, “What have I done to deserve this fate?” No, it isn’t a line from the game, merely the feeling brought on by having to keep playing to write this damn review. It’s safe to say that Thor: God of Thunder isn’t the best movie tie-in ever, although it’s far from the worst (Street Fighter The Movie: The Game wins that hands down), and this action brawler quickly settles into a somewhat repetitive and dull cycle of combat against bland and indistinguishable enemies. Thor is the first 3DS game I’ve played that doesn’t feel right – it gives off the same vibe as a poor console-to-PC port, although more so. Taking charge of the titular hulk of Nordic godliness, your mission is to plough through several levels of action-combat, with a sprinkle of RPG mechanics to keep the move set from going stale. Swinging the mighty hammer of Mjolnir, using it as a shield and projectile, and even occasionally using it to fly, Thor has at least the basic ingredients of a potential bit of fun, bringing the classic scrolling beat-em-up into 3 dimensions, all drizzled with the sparkle of the 3DS’ stunning little screen. Unfortunately, it quickly becomes clear this isn’t the case, as Thor’s presentation is wrapped in a low-quality cartoon-strip style from the outset, with low grade voice acting to round out a quite bewildering tale that skirts with the ideas of the films. Something bad has happened in the heavens, and Loki appears to have a hand in it. Thor quickly has to help save the lands from the bad thingys, and… and…. hurph, I can’t be bothered. Let’s just say, the story is really forgettable, and works merely as the flimsiest of hangers for the game itself. Visually, Thor is not great. The models are basic, and lack the spark found in the best handheld games around. Worse still, however, is the total lack of 3D immersion – for a game designed for such a funky little 3D screen, Thor is incredibly flat and lifeless, and depth is a thing of imagination as opposed to actual visual beauty. Add to this some poor level design, and seriously repetitive textures and backdrops, and you’ll struggle to remember your own adventures once you put the console down. Sound sucks too, with voices from the film actors watered down into short snippets which get played to death within the first five minutes.
At least it isn’t the dire PS3 version
Combat is the main focus of Thor, and involves a couple of attack buttons, a jump button, a block button, and an aim-and-throw combo. Attacks are chained to create combos, which score points to be used for more powerful variants of the moves, and Thor also unlocks magic attacks as the title progresses. Enemies drop the obligatory tokens for collection which are used to buy new move sets, and “hidden” objects (read: really not very well hidden objects) also help to unlock move sets and attacks. By blocking and moving around enemies, attacks can be built into impressive combos, which do look quite cool, although in reality, the same effect can be gained by mashing the attack buttons mercilessly until everything dies. God of War this certainly ain’t. I feel at times as if I’m being too harsh: Thor doesn’t really do anything terribly wrong, it just feels like a game made as a rush job by a team trying to get to the pub on a Friday afternoon. It’s woefully short and easy to beat, and offers little in the way of longevity – in fact the best I can say is at least it isn’t actually broken in some way. Levels culminate in bosses which are too easy, different levels do little bar change colour, and the unlockables consist of some alternative costumes you can buy and the generic combos. It’s the gaming equivalent of ordering a nice pint in the pub, then being told it’s off and all you can have is a half of the manky tap at the end no-one touches. It’s warm, stale, and not a shadow of what you hoped for, although it is still technically beer. It’s a shame too, as it just feels rough and unfinished, which with some more effort and design needn’t have been the case. The stories of Thor are rich and varied, and it’s pretty poor that such a major comic character has this to show for itself. I can’t really see much to recommend it on, even for the most diehard fan, as it’s just a shallow experience that is a game in the way that Big Momma films are funny – one brief initial spark is watered down into a long line of repetitive tripe. At best a weekend rental then, although you’ll be longing for a Pokemon or Link before you’ve even finished the first level. At least it isn’t the dire PS3 version, so I have gotten off lightly in that respect – BenT, we all love and respect you very much, you took one for the team there buddy!
The Bad: Graphics and sound are below par; combat gets repetitive quickly and doesn’t improve; it’s short, with little replay value; the 3D totally sucks and is pointless