It’s officially summer, which means superhero movies, which means superhero games. And with superhero games, there’s always a fine line to walk. For every game like Batman: Arkham Asylum, Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions and X-Men Origins: Wolverine, we get a ton of lousy ones. Does Thor’s solo game debut from Sega and Liquid Entertainment soar, or does it plummet?
The story here is that after an attack on Asgard by the Frost Giants that results in the sacrifice of Sif, Thor heads off to their world to get revenge. Loki follows him, not informing him that Odin has used his power to bring Sif back. While in battle with Ymir, Thor accidentally unleashes the entity of rage and hate named Mangog, who wants to lay waste to the Nine Worlds. Thor must find a way to destroy Mangog and save the whole World Tree from Mangog’s evil. This story, by the way, is one of the few highlights of the game.
Okay, what we have is a basic action game. You have Thor’s hammer Mjolnir, which should be extremely awesome. With that hammer, not only can you smash foes, but call on the powers of the storm like lightening, thunder and wind. And of course, throw the hammer at foes. Sadly, gameplay often feels like you’re mashing the one button while occasionally pressing another. You will find yourself spamming the hammer throw like crazy. Enemies tend to come in three varieties: little things that you can kill easily, bigger things you’ll probably need to grapple, and massive things that you will need to grapple and climb in order to destroy. Honestly, I could have used some variety, like making use of how Thor flies to be a way to fight, not just a way to jump from area to area. And the controls are very loose. I spent more time falling in pits than making ledge jumps. Seriously, the controls needed some tightening. To top it off, there are moments where the game’s difficulty just suddenly spikes and becomes unbelievable. I seriously believe I only made it through those sections due to luck, not skill.
Graphically, I love the designs of the characters and the worlds. It’s just sad that it never seems to really come alive. Asgard is filled with bright golds and rainbow colors, but just seems flat. When you’re in the jungles of Vanaheim, the sheer amount of shadow seems deadset on keeping you from knowing where you’re supposed to go. And then there are the graphical glitches. During a blizzard scenario, my screen just erupted with black bars where there should have been just icy white winds. There were two instances where Thor’s cape suddenly was on backwards. It was only a few seconds, but it was strange. Extras (one of the main reasons to play superhero games) are practically non-existent. Finding all the hidden runes in the game unlocks either new colors for your lightning or two additional costumes (no appearance of classic Thor, sadly).
The voiceover work is kind of stilted. Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston reprise their cinematic roles as Thor and Loki, but the cutscenes feel more like just mannequins standing and talking around. When the inhuman characters like Ulik or Surtur show up, they at least move and are animated in their acting. The music is at least attempting to be grand and epic, but I would have liked a few tracks from the feature film to be used.
This game could have been a lot of better. It has some great set pieces, like battling for Asgard in the climax by jumping around the area to help save the other Asgardians, or battling Surtur and Ulik. It just feels like a rough, rushed game that needs some more spit and polish. There is some fun to be had if you buckle down, but not enough to justify this game. I really hope they release a patch to fix some of the problems. Until then, one superhero game of the summer down, two more to go.
|Some nice designs, and it's fun to face off with villains like Surtur and Ulik.||Glitches appear at strange points, there are sudden and irritating spikes in difficulty, controls are loose, and combat is not as developed as it should.|