Thor: God of Thunder Review

To give you an idea of how truly bad Thor: God of Thunder is, it should be noted that my wife would frequently ask me to stop playing the game as I was preparing for this review. It wasn’t because the game was annoying to listen to (though it can be) or because it is difficult to look at (it’s ugly), but rather because I would loudly exclaim each and every one of its bad design choices and all of my personal frustrations with the game. She was tired of hearing me invent profanities and yell at the television set. She was also worried about my sanity.

The first thing to marvel at when it comes to Thor is how ugly the character models look. Even Thor himself, a character whose design one would think should have been given quite a bit more effort than other characters, looks messy and pixelated. His cape moves behind him, not with playful physics, but instead with rigid animation that behaves more like tin foil than actual cloth. Everyone else just looks like they never made it to that final render pass, leaving them blurry with smeared details.

Facial animations are limited to two places: the upper lip and the lower lip. I think I saw an eyebrow move once, but I’m fairly certain it was just my mind playing tricks on me. The characters deliver story with the same emotion as plastic action figures acting out an eight-year-old’s superhero fantasy.

The environments actually end up being the most attractive part of the game. That isn’t saying very much, though. From Asgard to the Hellish lava worlds, the locations Thor has to visit are interesting are varied. The level design within those worlds, however, amounts to a number of typically straightforward walks from points A to B.

The story is actually somewhat interesting. Thor never makes it to Earth in Thor: God of Thunder, but is instead left to save Asgard after being sent on a wild goose chase by his brother Loki that accidentally unleashes the ultimate evil. The narrative may be read aloud with the same excitement as a class lecture by a bored professor with an immobile plastic face, but at least seeing what is next in the underlying tale is exciting.

The gameplay is typical action. Thor can beat up monsters with his hammer, and has a few weather-related special attacks, but it all just feels sloppy and can be incredibly frustrating, especially when it comes to taking on the gigantic boss monsters. Hit detection is terrible, and everything clips together all of the time. You won’t encounter errors like falling through the world, or being able to walk through walls or anything like that, but the interaction between characters just makes it seem like no boundaries have been set on the models. Everyone just bleeds together all the time. The worst, though, is when the game barely responds to your input, ignoring timely combo inputs, or simply forgetting that you are pressing the grab button. It happens most frequently during the boss battles, which means unforgiveable frustration. The game ends up being harder than it has any right to be, except without all the reward of a worthwhile challenge. Instead of, “Yes! I finally beat the difficult boss,” it becomes, “That thing I have been doing for the last twenty minutes finally worked!”

The game can be played in 3D, which is worth mentioning, but not really worth taking advantage of. The 3D option exists purely as a bullet point on the box. Nothing really takes advantage of it, even though there are moments when it seems like 3D would have been cool. Standing above Asgard, looking down on the crumbling city in the end of the game, still results in a fairly flat image. Even the gigantic bosses do little to separate themselves from the background. It is a nice option to have, though. It just seems like there were pressing areas of the game that could have received fixes, as opposed to adding this new feature.

The biggest problem with Thor, isn’t the hideous state of the visuals, the flat delivery from the voice actors, the marginally interesting story, or even the somewhat glitchy combat. It’s the assumed complete lack of play testing. Thor: God of Thunder seems like a first draft, and a rough one at that. It doesn’t feel broken, necessarily, it just feels like everything has been swept under the rug. Glaring problems crop up all the time that surely could have been tweaked had the game had more time to sit in the oven. Thor is just another obvious case of a game that was rushed out to coincide with the film, and there is no reason to recommend it, even if you are a fan of the Norse God/superhero.


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Author: Kyle Hilliard View all posts by

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