Talk of the Town: Thor (Wii)
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The God of Thunder has himself a busy schedule come May 3rd. As we touched on recently, he is set to star in his own handheld adventure, but he will also be on the home front as well. There will be Thor games released for the Ps3/360/Wii and while the PS3/360 versions are similar beasts, the Wii version is quite distinct. And in some ways, better?
Developed by Redfly Studios who are no strangers to the Wii having developed Mushroom Men, Ghostbusters and The Force Unleashed 2 for the console. So it should come as no surprise that Thor handles surprisingly well on the console. While I feared for a game that uses motion in lieu of buttons especially in a button masher, it is used in such a clever way that it adds to the experience at times.
The core game play elements is a 3D beat’em up. By pressing the A button, Thor is able to dish out some damage with his standard attacks. Waggling the Wii-mote does his heavy actions and based on swing (left to right, down to up, etc) you will get different attacks. You can of course combine button presses with motion to get various combos from Thor. And you’ll need to as various enemies have different weaknesses/defenses that you must exploit. You can also use the B button to launch Thor into the air and deliver pain to enemies from above!
Other than the standard attacks, there are moves/powers attached to the nunchuk as well. By holding down Z, Thor is able to create wind-shield in front of him, which helps protect against certain moves and if you shake the controller will unleash a gust of wind, which is helpful in cooling down enemies covered in fire. By holding down C, Thor is able to spin his hammer over his head, and when charged he can use it as a projectile, which came in really handy in one boss battle, I saw. It is also handy when fighting airborne enemies.
Finally, you wouldn’t be the God of Thunder, if you didn’t have some control over the elements, and Thor comes with quite a few attacks. Using the d-pad allows you to select from various elemental powers and swinging the Wii-mote activates these powers. In my hands on with the game, I was able to see his lightning powers in action as well as his hurricane powers, which I had the most fun with. There were two others, but drawing a blank on them at the moment.
To offer the player some breaks from the standard brawling action, there are on-rail segments included as well. These seem to be closer in design to the horse segments of Darksiders or a light StarFox, but includes Thor taking flight and raining down lightning upon various foes. In a cool little twist, when I encountered Surtur there would be periods during the fight in which these segments would pop up. I actually found that I enjoyed them more than I thought. And serve as a much better way to break up the battles than QTEs featured in the HD versions.
As one would expect, the game doesn’t look nearly as good as its HD counterpart, but does have its own unique charm as it goes for a more Saturday morning esqueÂ aestheticÂ choice. If only the developers went full out, and actually made it a cel-shaded experience.
The story is told through motion comics, which actually have a pretty nice look to them, and are unlocked as you progress through the game for viewing. In addition, there is an episode of Avenger Earth’s Mightiest Heroes included on the game. The episode or combination of webisodes that introduced Thor to the series. A cool added bonus if you haven’t checked out the show before.
I have to say, I wasn’t expecting much when I got my hands on time with the game, but of all the versions of Thor that I played, I had the most fun with this copy. While it doesn’t look as good as the HD versions, and the art style isn’t strong enough to carry it like the DS version, it had the most fun and accessible game play of the three games. If you decide to check out one version of Thor, this would be my recommendation.