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Adam Guetti
05 Oct, 2011

Thor: God of Thunder Review

3DS Review | The 3DS gets its 'Thor of War'... Yes, we went there.
It's easy to see that Nintendo's 3DS hasn't received the best reception, both critically and commercially speaking. All this additional slide pad and price drop nonsense aside though, many forget the major woe that kick started it all - a painful lack of games. But now seven months post launch, aside from rehashed classics, shelves aren't looking any more promising. Enter Thor: God of Thunder, a port of the home console title (to read up on what we thought about it, click here.) from many months ago, for a film just as old. It's a strange move, but can this action adventure help boost Ninty's rather paltry line-up? In a word - no.

Following essentially the same plot as the console iterations, God of Thunder acts as a prequel of sorts to the film's arc, as our buffed hero is tricked by his conniving brother Loki into attacking a variety of mystical foes after the death of a close friend. As a narrative, it’s extremely dull stuff and never manages to draw you in enough to actually care about the actions you’re taking. It's all presented via motion comic styled cut-scenes, and while they work considering the limitations of the hardware, they still come off as a little uninspiring; despite most of the film’s cast lending their talents for the average script.

Sadly though, this is the first niggle in a cavalcade of lackluster presentation issues. Many of the game's levels contain noticeable clipping, allowing enemies to magically walk through the ground or meld into rocks, the lack of direct camera control leads to the odd blocked view and the occasional freeze forces a complete halt to gameplay followed by a hard reset. We also encountered a glitch that on multiple occasions had Thor launch into the air and thrust past the barrier you were working to open, leading to creative thinking in order to un-break the game and continue on our merry way. Granted, these problems weren't often enough to make the game unplayable, but certainly highlight the lack of a final polish present.

All of a sudden, there shined a shiny demon... in the middle... of the road.

All of a sudden, there shined a shiny demon... in the middle... of the road.
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3D effects work well for the most part, helping add some much needed flair to otherwise dull environments, however the occasional cut scene can become extremely disorientating as the depth of field effects are pushed that little bit too far. Speaking of visuals though, God of Thunder rarely shows off the capabilities of the 3DS, instead recycling old environments with minor alterations and different colour palates. The first chunk of levels will have you traipsing through ice terrain, only to mix it up later on with a fire terrain that shares many characteristics to the former, except for it being red. This boring level design merely enforces the repetitive nature of the game as you're forced into the same actions, in the same environments over and over again.

The real meat and potatoes of the game though is the combat, and right from the very onset, it's clear that Thor: God of Thunder borrows a great deal of 'inspiration' from the highly acclaimed God of War series. Your X and Y buttons control your basic attacks, alongside your standard jump and a quick dash move, while the triggers will handle your hammer which can either be thrown at enemies as ranged attack, or spun to form a defensive shield. The 3DS touch screen on the other hand is your primary control method for all of Thor's magic Mjolnir abilities. From lightning strikes, to whirlwinds, it's all actioned by a simple touch of the screen, though while it makes sense, it also makes the combat a little awkward at times. The whirlwind ability, for example, forces you to keep your finger/stylus on the screen as you direct its trajectory; in turn taking your hand away from the rest of the attack buttons and leading to potentially fatal delays as you make the switch back to the face buttons.

It might look cool, but it's really not after a while.

It might look cool, but it's really not after a while.
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Like most other third person action games, it's all in the aim to rack up hit points via combos, utilise magic for different enemy types and just be a day to day, hammer swinging bad arse. Combos can be purchased and armour/special abilities upgraded via collectables, but there's not really enough to keep you going, meaning you will consistently be spamming the same attack over and over in order to clear wave after wave of enemy.

It all sounds very God of War because, well, it is. The comparisons are quick and easy to make, but while developer Red Ant would love to be classed in the same caliber as the mammoth series, Thor lacks the style, substance and genuine quality that makes the God of War the games what they are today.

The occasional flying section is added in to help break up the consistent beatings, but these detours never really amount to more than mashing the X button until either everyone is toasted, targeted objects are destroyed, or both simultaneously.

Clocking in at roughly six hours if you know what you're doing, the whole experience is over fairly quickly and it's made all the faster by a very lenient difficulty setting. Playing through on 'normal' we died only twice throughout the main quest, outside of boss battles which tended to rely on the classic three staged approach and cheap attacks to help whittle away your health.

Example #237 of why superheros should NOT help humanity.

Example #237 of why superheros should NOT help humanity.
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For hoarders and completionist gamers there are numerous Runes to unlock and concept artwork or costumes to track down once you venture off the beaten path. Comic book fans will even be pleased to stumble across a Thor focused episode of The Avengers cartoon to sit through. All in all, they're nice additions, and help add to the replay value, but it's nothing that will keep you itching to play on, especially considering the majority of them are unlocked within the first play through.

In small doses, Thor: God of Thunder works, even starting out as a fairly enjoyable romp. Sadly though, over time the extremely repetitive nature and bland environments foster a level of boredom that becomes difficult to dispel. If you're after some third person action on your 3DS (or just something to play on your 3DS), the comic wonder will no doubt provide you with some quick entertainment. As it stands though, this is one game that won't help bolster the system’s rather meager software lineup.
The Score
While proceedings might start out enjoyable, Thor: God of Thunder’s trip to boredom and mediocrity ruin what ultimately could have been a solid third person romp. If you’re after you’re action fix you could certainly do worse; just don’t expect this to be the 3DS’ answer to God of War.
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

Related Thor: God of Thunder Content

Thor: God of Thunder Review
02 May, 2011 Thunderbolts and lightning, very very frightening?
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow Review
18 Oct, 2010 What is a Castlevania game?
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06 Feb, 2010 Is it Divine, or unwittingly Comedic?
2 Comments
2 years ago
Graphics look pretty terrible.

This must be the first 3rd Person Action game on 3DS, after Mercenaries (more shooter), and the latter looks much better.
2 years ago
I used to play the DOS version all the time, giving this one a miss
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  Pre-order or buy:
    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

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