Thor: God Of Thunder Review

By Jason D'Aprile - Posted May 19, 2011

Yet another game attached to a movie license, with the usual results. Thor could have been a decent God of War clone for the teen-rated set, but is so bogged down by a lack of polish that it's completely unrecommendable.

The Pros
  • Decent power upgrade system
  • Teen-rated finishing moves
  • Perfect for masochists
The Cons
  • Amateur hour the whole way
  • Clumsy combat and animation
  • Absurd difficulty level

Thor: God of Thunder Review:

Sega already has the dubious distinction for setting the mark for super-hero movie games with Iron Man—the low mark. By that standard, Thor: God of Thunder is an improvement, but not by much. Taking the likenesses, voices, and story elements from the new movie, the video game doesn’t attempt to move out from the clichés of licensed games. The real shame of Thor is that it’s frequently close to being a decent game—not an inspired one, but certainly a playable T-rated alternative to the very M-rated God of War.

My, That’s a Big Hammer You Have There

Much like the movie, Thor, the arrogant son of Odin, finds himself in trouble when his nefarious brother, Loki, leads him into starting a war that threatens to spill out from the celestial realms to Earth. The story is serviceable, even if the voice acting is amazingly stilted, but there’s none of the grand drama and flare from the film here. The overall presentation of Thor is amazingly lackluster.

The Unreal-powered game sports plenty of shiny textures, and the character models look close enough to their film counterparts to be recognizable. Beyond that, however, Thor is generic looking from top to bottom. On the plus side, the implementation of stereoscopic 3D on both the PS3 and Xbox 360 is actually quite good, but definitely not enough of a boost to overcome the substantial problems in the rest of the game.

Thor focuses almost entirely on combat, and the overall design should have worked well for hammer-smashing action. Thor is capable of standard and heavy strikes and combos, throwing his hammer, and unleashing a wide array of thunder god powers. Destroying objects and enemies earns upgrade points that can be used to purchase new powers and upgrade current abilities. This lets him unleash a variety of thunder, lighting, magic, and hammer-based super moves. 

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God of Pain

Grabbing a weakened enemy lets Thor perform one of several finishing moves as well. These moves are suitably angry, while remaining firmly in the T-rated realm. So, Thor has the basics in place for a brisk and brutal brawler, but as is so often the case, the game completely loses its edge in the details. From start to finish, this is an amazingly amateurish effort. It’s as if the developer started out with good intentions, but left them to the wayside as the deadline to hit the theatrical release date loomed ever closer.

There’s a laundry list of design sins in Thor. The animation is stilted and the hit detection is almost random. This leads to combat where you have so little sense of landing hits, or getting hit that the gameplay simply feels unfinished. The AI is laughably bad. Enemies always come at you in groups, but frequently just stand around waiting to be put down. The combo timing is jerky, especially since Thor seems to hesitate between strikes that should otherwise smoothly chain together.

Boss battles are even worse, hampered by a complete reliance on tired, frustrating, and generic quick-time-event gameplay. Even if you could find some decent rhythm to the mass of mindless combat, the game seems intent on punishing players for their poor purchasing decision. Right from the start, Thor suffers from terrible pacing and an extreme lack of mid-point saves. The game forces players to wade through a connected series of arena-style combat sequences, yet failure inevitably means starting the entire section over again. Combined with the rest of problems, this is the final nail in the coffin that simply makes Thor not worth playing.

Take Back the Thunder

Thus far, Sega has had no luck with their Marvel-themed movie games, and it’s clear that they need to step back and reorganize their priorities with these titles. Thor didn’t have to be a hobbled mess. There are enough elements here that could have worked to make this an ideal brawler for younger players.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a single aspect of the game that doesn’t feel unrefined, unfinished, or just outright broken. Here’s hoping the Captain America game fares better.


Still want to play it? Why not rent it at Gamefly?