Thor: God of Thunder review (Xbox 360)

Ah, the movie tie-in video game. They've never really been a pretty sight, have they? There have been some right stinkers over the years – unforgivable failures even – but there have also been the odd few that were pleasant surprises. Now, since we're talking Marvel here, let's dwell on a positive note from the past as I would like to take this opportunity to give the guys behind the Spider-man 2 game from all those years ago a big pat on the back. But as for those responsible for the latest console release based on a Hollywood superhero/comic book movie, here's a smack in the face instead.

Packing as much punch as an inflatable hammer rather than the Mjolnir, Thor: God of Thunder is a mostly tedious game with substandard graphics, a largely uninteresting story that for the most part stays with the movie, and offensively linear gameplay. I'm not one to bitch and moan about a game just because it doesn’t look as appealing as Uncharted 2: Among Thieves or what have you, but visually, Thor is incredibly outdated, all except for the rather slick animation.

The action begins right away in Asgard, a Norse city that has been besieged by ice giants and other distasteful little creatures, with the player getting to grips – or attempting to at least – with the outrageously complex combat control scheme as they guide Thor (complete with the likeness and voice of Chris Hemsworth) through the level. There are just far too many ways that you can eliminate your enemies: here we have a near countless variety of combo attacks, grapple moves, magical strikes and defence stances at our disposal. Players will find themselves doing everything from precision-targeting foes with the Mjolnir by using one button, to quick-throwing it God knows how many feet through the air in a split second with another.

The combat as a whole is very repetitive and so it appears as if the amount of ways in which you can smack the opposition around (and don't forget the onslaught of upgrades for all of the above) was the developers' way of keeping things fresh, only it doesn't work – at all – and merely leads to button-bashing frenzies whenever Thor is surrounded by monsters, which is way too often. This game is all about clearing screens and moving on, over and over, and it's flat-out boring.

Don't get me wrong, Thor: God of Thunder is perfectly playable and features some epic Shadow of the Colossus-style boss battles, but the oxymoron that is the straightforward gameplay melded with difficult controls only serves to result in player face-palms.

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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