Thor: God of Thunder Review for Nintendo Wii (Wii)

Thor: God of Thunder Review for Nintendo Wii (Wii)

Glitchy, Broken, and Unfinished, but Still Fun at Times

Thor: God of Thunder for the Wii is a tad better than its HD counterpart. It’s still a generic action game, but the Wii’s motion controls, coupled with a tighter battle system, make this a bit more fun to play than the button mash fest that was the HD version. Considering we really haven’t had any Wii games to play lately, it at least took me longer to get bored with it.

The story is just boring. Loki tricks Thor again, this time getting him to attack other planets. Or something. So Thor smashes things until people get upset, and he eventually realizes what he’s done. It was boring. I’m not a Thor fan, and I pretty much ignored whatever story they tried to cram into this game.

Thor: God of Thunder Screenshot

The Wii version of the game fares a bit better in gameplay than it does in story. Thor’s basic attacks are mapped to the A button, and more powerful attacks are mapped to the motion controls. You can also summon lightning, dodge, perform combos, and do all the other stuff that action games are known for. The game includes a hit counter much like in God of War or Devil May Cry. As the hit counter increases, Thor gains access to more powerful moves. Essentially, the more you attack, the cooler you become, which goes a long way in making combat feel awesome.

Thor earns experience points through battle, which can then be spent on upgrades. Extensions to my health and Odin Force were certainly welcome, and the special abilities granted by equipped runes were also useful. Expanding my attacks, however, never really seemed worth it. Simply mashing the A button will get you through this game.

Thor: God of Thunder Screenshot

The levels themselves are mostly linear affairs. Thor walks down what are essentially hallways before coming to what’s essentially a room, which locks and forces him to defeat all the enemies inside. However, enemies go down a lot easier in the Wii version than they do in the HD version, so battles don’t take nearly as long. As a result, the pacing of the game isn’t too slow, and you rarely find yourself having to play battles over. Sure, it also makes the game easier, which isn’t a good thing considering you could already mash your way through, but at least it’s not tedious.

There are chances (albeit small ones) for exploration in the levels between fights. Finding secret tokens can unlock new concept art and costumes, some of which are modeled off of Thor’s classic comic book appearance. Sometimes the levels give way to flight sections, which require you to point at the screen with the Wiimote and defeat enemies with Thor’s lighting-based powers. This effectively changes the game into an on-rails shooter for a while, which is a nice change of pace. It still gets repetitive though, since there aren’t nearly enough secrets to make exploration worthwhile, and the shooter levels are essentially just button mashing with a pointer.

Thor: God of Thunder Screenshot

Boss fights in the Wii version of Thor are actually way more fun than boss fights in the HD version. Almost every boss in the game is absolutely huge. Surtur alone is about three times the size of his HD incarnation. This makes most boss fights extremely cinematic, and they only get better as the game goes on. The final few fights in the game are truly epic in scale.

Unfortunately, the Wii version doesn’t have the open-ended grapple system the HD version does. Instead the game relies heavily on traditional quick time events controlled by waggle commands. I think we all know how frustrating those can be.

The graphics in the Wii version of Thor had to be limited to fit the Wii’s lower-end specs. The developers handled this by giving the game a cartoony cel-shaded look that actually fits the game better than the HD version’s photorealistic approach. It kind of feels like a moving comic book, which is exactly what a comic book game is supposed to feel like. The giant bosses just look better in this version, with more expressive faces and smooth animations. In any comic book game, it’s better to have your movements be over exaggerated than overly stiff, and it shows in this game. Everything is exaggerated, from hit sparks to lightning animations, making your skills feel incredibly epic. It’s tons of fun to fill the screen with thunderbolts and watch your enemies keel over from the sheer might of it all.

Thor: God of Thunder Screenshot

Unfortunately, the cartoony graphics didn’t do enough to make the game playable on the Wii. The frame rate frequently drops to horrid levels. Even without much happening on screen, the game experiences some slowdown. In the really epic encounters with multiple enemies at once, the game can slow to a crawl or, in some cases, freeze altogether. There are plenty of other glitches that hinder the game as well. Sometimes Thor will get hung up on the environment or spaz out randomly. Hit detection often seems to just disappear or shift over a few inches. Sometimes it even looks like attack and death animations don’t trigger right.

The Wii version actually lags behind the HD version in the sound department. The voice acting is way worse than anything you hear in any other version of Thor. The grunts you hear from the villains sound like they should be in a 1980s Saturday morning cartoon, not in a brand new Wii game. The music is generic and barely worth mentioning. It’s the same orchestra/drum beat you hear in every Thor game/movie/TV show/whatever. We get it. Thor is epic. He’s a god. Let’s move on.

The Wii version of Thor: God of Thunder did a lot of things right, but did equally as much wrong. The game is repetitive, button mashy, filled with glitches, and plagued by slowdown. But it makes up for all this a little with changing level design, a decent graphical style, and a somewhat epic feel to the combat. I would call it a nice try that didn’t turn out so well. Once again, you could do a whole lot better.

The cel-shaded look was used to fit the Wii’s lower end specs, but it actually works well for the comic book subject matter. 3.0 Control
The waggling gets annoying, but this is still a decently straightforward, if repetitive, action game. 2.5 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The voice acting is bad, and the music is nothing to write home about. 3.5 Play Value
The pacing of the game is decent even though it’s rather easy. You’ll eventually get bored, but you’ll have fun until you do. 3.5 Overall Rating – Good
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.

Review Rating Legend
0.1 – 1.9 = Avoid 2.5 – 2.9 = Average 3.5 – 3.9 = Good 4.5 – 4.9 = Must Buy
2.0 – 2.4 = Poor 3.0 – 3.4 = Fair 4.0 – 4.4 = Great 5.0 = The Best

Game Features:

  • First 2011 Summer Blockbuster: Following Marvel’s $620M hit Iron Man 2, the Thor film will be backed by a bigger marketing campaign, generating huge franchise awareness.
  • Become the God of Thunder: Step into the role of Thor and wield the mighty hammer, Mjölnir, in Thor’s first standalone game.
  • Superhuman Elemental Powers: Unleash Mjölnir’s primal storm powers of lightning, thunder and wind. Electrocute throngs of trolls or split the ground in two with an earthshaking thunder attack that knocks frost giants to the ground.
  • Epic Combat: Use brawn and brains as you bash opponents with hammer attacks and throw combos. Scale titanic frost giants and trolls using multiple grappling points to find and attack weak spots.
  • Level Up: Choose new abilities, powers and weapon upgrades as Thor earns Valor runes through battle victories.
  • Original Storyline: Narrative was overseen by Eisner Award-winning writer and lead Thor comic book author Matt Fraction.
  • Star power: Features voice and likeness of Thor film actors Chris Hemsworth as Thor and Tom Hiddleston as Loki.

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