Today I got to essentially give a game a second chance, but also play a new game at the same time.
Thor: God of Thunder’s Xbox 360 cousin left more than a bad taste in my mouth. It was one of the worst games I played last year and until Backlog Quest II it was the lowest rated game on CBR. So with some level of hesitation I took a chance on the DS version of the game, which looked notably different.
Looks do not deceive this time around. Thor: God of Thunder for NDS is a 2D, side-scrolling platformer/beat em’ up. Mostly the beat em’ up. Not only does this cheaper, shorter and less impressive “technically” version of the game trump the 360/PS3 version, it does so completely.
Remember like two days ago when I said that I wish Captain America: Super Soldier for the NDS had been real 2D and not that 2.5D? This is why. Not only does the 2D visuals work well for this game, it is proof positive that it works well for the genre. Comic books are in 2D, so it makes sense. Kind of like how animated Marvel shows continue to still be awesome even with great live-action alternatives available. To put it simply, the game looks great. It probably looks even better in 3D on the 3DS version, but the top screen isn’t used exclusively (more on that later) so upgrading to the 3DS version is probably not worth it.
Additionally the environments not only look great but they change every three or so levels. Helping dramatically to keep things fresh and interesting (even if the enemy characters are mostly just recycled throughout the entire game). End bosses make up for that a bit by generally looking incredibly imposing and provide a descent challenge to defeat.
It also plays pretty well to boot. There are some of the same cheap moments mentioned in my review of Captain America; that is moments where you get hit and just continue to keep getting hit because there isn’t much of a cool-down period after taking damage. This leads to a few frustrating moments, but overall it isn’t as big of an issue.
Here is the thing though. Thor and Captain America are basically the same game. There is very little technically different about them, except Thor’s visuals are so significantly superior to Captain America’s and there is a basic “upgrade system” based on the ability to equipt ruins that you can change at any point. Yet, despite the very few technical differences, they feel like completely different games. Thor got all the love and grew up into a well rounded person, Captain America has a good heart but sometimes burns things. It’s actually kind of amazing how two games with so few actual differences feel completely different when played.
Thor: God of Thunder for NDS also implores one of the more interesting uses of the dual screens. The bottom screen handles most of the action, but the top screen is just more of the same level, effectively making all the game’s levels “twice as tall” on screen. This makes a “super jump” move a big part of the game and a big part of making Thor feel like Thor in this version. You spend a lot of time “juggling” enemies in the air, and by and large this is the best strategy to take on overwhelming numbers in the game. I really liked this style/technique; though it helps that the split screen looked reminded me of the classic X-Men arcade cabinets.
Also, Thor, the flying God of Thunder, never has to find parts to activate an elevator in this version of the game. That helps.
Without a doubt, Thor: God of Thunder’s “little brother” on the NDS/3DS is without a doubt the way to go if you want to play a Thor game. The 360 version was long, boring, frustrating and a technical mess. The NDS version is short and simple (the only real reason it loses a couple of points), but fun with fantastic visuals and more or less the same story. Your choice is clear.
Tomorrow I enter the “Danger Zone” in Top Gun: Hard Lock.
Final Rating: 7.5/10
CBR Break Down:
Console Played On: NDS/3DS
Time to completion: 4.5 Hours
Gamer Score Earned: N/A
Price Bought at: $4.99
Current Price: $7.14 (Amazon)
Recommend Purchase Price: $9.99 or under is a good price for this. Click the link above!
Why you should buy it: Best version/format of the Thor game out there!
Why you shouldn’t buy it: Short and a bit repetitive/simplistic but who cares if you are having fun?