by Josh Butler
previewed on WII
With Joss Whedon’s The Avengers movie drawing ever closer, the superteam’s ranks continue to grow as Thor and Captain America’s instalments in the series of movies breach the horizon. Their trusty side-kicks - the inevitable videogame spin-offs - are of course sure to follow, but this time out it appears they are being inspired by other heroes.
Cap’s been making a stir with his recent appearance in a game trailer that showcased tactile combat sequences and parkour window climbing, suggesting he had been taking a few leaves out of a certain cape crusader’s comic-book. Thor’s title, meanwhile, wears his colours even more proudly by adopting a ‘God of’ subtitle and unapologetically featuring a disgraced God being cast from the heavens by his father and faced with defeating various otherworldly behemoths in order to make his return to glory. Clearly, the question that is on the lips of every Marvel fan who can still muster the strength to hope for a worthy game adaptation, is whether these games will be able to meet their lofty ambitions, or miss and fall in to the same mire of mediocrity as The Incredible Hulk and Iron Man before them.
Despite being featured prominently in Marvel vs Capcom and Ultimate Alliance, Thor has never appeared in his own game. God of Thunder, if nothing else, gives him the best possible start. Based on a script by Matt Fraction (who took responsibilities on the Thor comic after Kieron Gillen’s run) the narrative of the game runs parallel to the film. This allows a freedom to adapt a more game-suitable plot structure unlike its predecessors. The studios even worked with Marvel when designing worlds not featured in the current movies in order to be consistent with future releases. Yes, that’s studios plural. With Sega producing, three different games are being developed under the God of Thunder banner by three individual studios. They aim to release a multiplatform title that plays to the strengths of each of the consoles.
Unsurprisingly, the PS3/360 version is the most God of War like, with what the industry has frustratingly coined ‘BAMs’ (Big Ass Monsters) taking prominence. Relatively unknown developer, Liquid Entertainment (behind Rise of the Argonauts) has shown us boss battles for the game. These sequences betray a familiar reliance on felling colossal opponents by quick time events and systematic dissection of oversized anatomy, but what the game does with these is legitimately imaginative, if not innovative.