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Hands On: Thor: God Of Thunder

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As with every blockbuster movie, there will be tie-in games released day-and-date, and this summer's Marvel Comics productions are no different. I recently had the opportunity to get my hands on Thor: God of Thunder at a special preview event held by SEGA. There's a version for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii and DS, details of which you'll find after the break (along with a gallery of screenshots)!

The first version I got my hands on was the PS3 one, although the 360 is the same. Basically, you play Thor, and venture through five of the nine Norse worlds to battle monstrous enemies. While the character models are based on Chris Hemsworth and Anthony Hopkins and the cast of the movie and many of them do voice work, the plot doesn't follow the film. It's its own story set in the movie universe. (Although I was also informed that you can unlock bonus character models that will let you make Thor look like the comic book version if that's what you'd prefer.) The graphics are really nice and detailed, although I thought things looked a bit jaggy. I played the tutorial level because I thought it might be nice to learn the controls instead of having to wing it. Turns out Thor is a combo-intensive button mashing beat-em-up. Swarms of enemies attack and you use your various powers to take them out. There are multiple power sets, and you can switch between them (like lightning and wind) in the menu. Presumably some work better against certain enemies than others. The tutorial only had ice-based, so it wasn't really an issue. Also, while facing off against the massive boss (I was informed that later bosses are even bigger), I realized that because it was a demo, my health never depleted. So that took some of the challenge out of it, and just kind of made it tedious because there was no danger of failing, so it was just about pounding on the boss until it finally went down.

The Wii version naturally skews younger, as many Wii titles do, and thus has a cleaner, cartoonier graphical style that looks more comic-booky. And again, while it's modeled after the movie style, you can again sub in a variety of costumes, including a couple comic-book variations (which I naturally preferred). Instead of button combinations the controls obviously use the Wiimote as Thor's hammer, and you whip it up, down, left or right to various effect. The Nunchuck is used to move, although I did find that since many of the buttons on both controllers are also used, it gets a bit complicated. Of course, since I was being talked through a random level and not a tutorial, there wasn't exactly what you'd call a learning curve. Obviously, the graphics aren't going to be as pretty as in the next-gen versions, but I have to say that swinging the Wiimote around was a lot more fun than trying to remember button combinations on the PS3. While the Wii version has the same overarching storyline as the PS3/360 ones, it plays out quite differently. It has a level set on Midgard (Earth) that the others don't, and they've also thrown in some flying levels for a little variation. These play out like Panzer Dragoon, and you move around the screen shooting wildly at various obstacles and enemies in your path.

There's also a DS version, but I didn't have time to actually get my hands on that one. But it's going to be a traditional 2D side-scrolling adventure, probably with lots of beating up of monsters like it's bigger brothers.

Thor: God of Thunder is due out on May 3 (just a few days before the film) for the PS3, Xbox 360, Wii and DS.

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