The lights are on
What new ideas the game brings to the table and how well old ideas are presented.
How good a game looks, taking into account any flaws such as bad collision or pop-up.
Does the game’s music and sound effects get you involved or do they make you resolve to always play with the volume down?
Basically, the controller to human interface. The less you think about the hunk of plastic in your hands, the better the playability.
Flat out, just how fun the game is to play. The most important factor in rating a game.
Superheroes comics had been done to death when Stan Lee, Larry
Lieber, and Jack Kirby created Marvel’s Thor in 1966, so they tried to
do something different. Where other superheroes had received godlike
powers after getting dipped in radiation or finding a mystical amulet in
their uncle's tackle box, Thor was a god in the fashion of classic
myth. The Mighty Thor was never one of Marvel’s most popular comics, but
the character was distinctive. Sadly, this spirit of invention was
stripped from Marvel’s Mightiest Avenger when he made the transition to
video games. Sega’s Thor: God of Thunder feels like it just rolled off
the line at a generic action game factory.
God of Thunder begins with an army of Frost Giants laying siege to
Asgard. Thor handily repels the invasion, but his companion, the Lady
Sif, is killed during the chaos. Thor seeks revenge at Loki's prodding,
but unwittingly sets in motion events that will lead to Ragnarok – the
death of all gods. The set up sounds promising, but I must have yawned
during a few of the pivotal story moments because every cut scene felt
painfully stilted and most of the voice actors sounded like they were
drinking horse tranquilizer during their recording sessions. While
Sega’s story is a kind of movie prequel, it’s completely ignored by the
film, so every action you make feels completely superfluous.
The story could be overlooked if the gameplay was at least
noteworthy, but Thor’s lumbering combat is ill fitted for a god of
thunder. There is no sense of power behind any of Thor’s attacks; every
haymaker Thor throws feels too weak-willed to belong to a guy who’s gone
toe-to-toe with juggernauts like the Hulk and Superman. There seems to
be a major problem with hit detection, because many of your attacks and
grabs catch nothing but open air. As the god of storms, Thor has a few
lightning and wind-based powers at his disposal that add some variety to
the action, but the combat feels very by-the-book and lacks polish.
Sadly, there are elements of the game worse than Thor’s unmemorable
combat. Loki himself must be behind this game’s platforming sequences
and repetitive trial and error puzzles. It is particularly painful to
watch Thor jump from platform to platform since a disagreeable camera
often sends him plummeting into an empty abyss. Thor can fly; why is he
jumping across lava pits anyway? Other game mechanics, such as save
stations and orb collecting, feel as archaic as a Norse myth.
Graphically this game benefits from its association with the movie,
as Sega was able to steal some of the movie’s stunning character and
environmental designs, but that’s about as much praise I can give this
game. Sega’s flavorless texture work spoils what could otherwise have
been a visually exciting game. It’s hard to recommend God of Thunder to
even the most ardent of Thor fans. If you’re looking for another Thor
experience after seeing the film and paging through the character’s 50
years worth of comic history, this game won’t satisfy you. In fact,
you’d probably have a more authentic Thor experience if you ran through a
renaissance festival with a hammer and a cape yelling “Verily!”
Email the author Ben Reeves, or follow on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, and Game Informer.