Electronic Theatre In-depth Review: Thor: God of Thunder

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Rating: 5.0/5 (9 votes cast)

Launched alongside the home video release of the recent motion-picture, Thor: God of Thunder for Nintendo 3DS is the latest entertainment product based on Marvel’s long-running comic book hero. Under the watchful eye of the Eisner Award-winning writer and lead Thor comic book author Matt Fraction, who acted as story consultant, Thor: God of Thunder follows the plot of the popular film with a few additional twists.

In Thor: God of Thunder, the player enters the role of Thor himself as he battles through the numerous worlds of Norse mythology to save Asgard. Players will wield Thor’s legendary hammer, the Mjölnir, and fight enemies with the powers of lightning, thunder and wind to vanquish enemies. Of course, not all of these abilities are available from the start of the game, with Thor: God of Thunder providing an interesting unlocking system.

The game is centred around the typical 3D combat that modern scrolling beat-‘em-ups rely upon: players can enact a number of different combos based on light and heavy attacks, and different combinations thereof. It doesn’t exactly redefine the standard, failing to add anything new to the mechanics of blows, combos and special abilities, but it’s at least average in its delivery. Complimented by the usual array of shield, dash and airstrike manoeuvres, Thor: God of Thunder is never less than solid in its combat gameplay, but is hardly inspiring.

The game does vary things a little with more puzzle-orientated gameplay. While most of the game falls foul to the typical kill-everything-to-continue structure, occasionally players well be giving something more cerebral, be it a switch puzzle or the need to defeat specific enemies, rather than everyone. Boss fights are a highlight of the game, though their reliance on QTEs does become an annoyance near the end of the game.

The most interesting aspect of Thor: God of Thunder comes with the aforementioned unlocking system. As players progress they will obtain new upgrades and Runes. Upgrades make new combat manoeuvres become available, though still nothing that couldn’t have been predicted. The Runes are more impressive however, imbuing modifiers that can significantly alter the way you play. Up to four Runes can be equipped at any one time (once the slots themselves have been unlocked), offering additional damage to select movesets or granting special abilities under certain conditions. The finest example of the power of Runes comes early-on in the game when the player acquires the Rune of Aerial Fury. This Rune greatly increases the damage offered by air-based attacks, and this early in the game that advantage is very welcome, but as the player progresses they will unlock more helpful Runes, and therefore superior abilities. Aside from the story, the potential of the Runes may well be the only thing keeping you playing beyond the first few levels.

In terms of technical presentation Thor: God of Thunder is lacing considerably. The cutscenes are grainy, non-3D affairs, the textures are low resolution and the animation is decidedly basic. As far as the visual quality of the game is concerned, Thor: God of Thunder has all the hallmarks of a game originally designed for Nintendo DS as opposed to the Nintendo 3DS. The sound quality is far superior however, with the narration of an incredibly high standard in both delivery and clarity and the voice acting from Chris Hemsworth implemented as well here as it is on the high-definition releases.

The release schedule for the Nintendo 3DS isn’t exactly packed at the minute, but that doesn’t mean that gamers are willing accept lesser quality productions as standard. It’s commonplace for an individual or a household to own more than one videogame system, and with that in mind it’s hard to argue that Thor: God of Thunder would be worth a purchase on Nintendo 3DS just because there are few new games available on the format when near-every-other system has a number of top tier releases coming this autumn. Thor: God of Thunder is a disappointingly average game in many respects, and with the lack of any really compelling action, it’s a wonder as to exactly what SEGA would define as the game’s unique selling point beyond it’s relation to the film.











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