Move over Kratos, there’s a new God of beat-'em-ups in town.
Mjollnir. If you’re a comic book geek, movie buff, or (less likely) scholar of Norse mythology, no doubt you already know what it is, despite being unable to pronounce it. For everyone else: Mjollnir is Thor’s magical hammer, and while its name sounds like gibberish that baby Thor probably gurgled out in daddy Odin’s arms, the hammer is one of the most recognizable and badass artifacts in all of mythology.
[image1]You’ll get a chance to put Thor’s hammer to great use in Thor: God of Thunder, the video game accompaniment to the big Marvel blockbuster film. Thor jumps, flies, swings, slams, and generally Hulk-smashes whatever stands in his way with relative ease during the intense combat. The game is also set to expand upon the universe set in the film, introducing new characters and enemies rather than the typical rehash of the movie plot.
Thor is an action game through and through, and the gameplay is modeled in some ways after one of Thor’s distant deity cousins. Combat has a very God of War feel to it, with buttons regulating light attacks, strong attacks, jumps, and grapples, and fluid combos strung together with simple button presses. On top of his regular bag of tricks, Thor can also “call down the thunder”, as it were, with far-reaching mana-intensive magic attacks. And of course, it wouldn’t be Thor without the ability to throw Mjollnir at distant enemies and have it fly right back like a very heavy, very painful boomerang.
Our demo levels showed off a wide variety of environments and enemies. A nice little cruise through the jungle was broken up by a gauntlet of baddies who made for some easy, flashy combo fodder. But the boss levels definitely amped it up a few notches; a slugfest in a frozen wasteland with an Ice Giant provided multiple avenues of attack – while you could wear the beast down through its heavy armor with any old attacks, repeatedly going for the joints and shattering portions of the armor ends the fight with considerably less effort.
[image2]In contrast to the Ice Giant, the most compelling fight was against Surtur, a balrog-looking fire giant, in his cozy home inside an active volcano. Surtur took a bit more than brute strength to bring down; after initiating a grapple, you had to swing Thor around to different parts of the giant’s body to pound on its weakpoints. This mechanic proved grapples in Thor to be more than just cinematic button-pressing minigames, allowing extra interaction by strategically moving or altering your grip during the grapple to hit ‘em where it hurts.
Thor: God of Thunder hits on May 3rd, a few short days before the movie debuts. Between this and Captain America, it’s going to be a Marvel summer for sure.