Hands-On With Thor: God of Thunder and Captain America: Super Soldier


Captain America Thor PS3 Xbox logos

Marvel and SEGA hosted a massive event this last week hightlighting the new Captain America and Thor video game adaptations. Ron was out of town on con duties, I wasn't available, so fortunately our slab-destroying compadre Ash Aiwase was available to head down to the event and give the iFanboy community a full write-up of hands on impressions. 

Curious how the new games are shaping up? Let my man Ash be your guide. 

Last week, Sega and Marvel hosted an event showcasing two new video game titles tying into this summer’s Marvel movies – Thor: God of Thunder and Captain America: Super Soldier. The Sega team hosted a brief presentation, and let a roomful of people play each game to get a feel for what would be hitting stores soon. The Sega production team focused on how they approached these titles, working with six studios as well as Marvel to craft discrete experiences from not only the forthcoming movies, but between systems as well. Sega was determined to find developers with passion for comic books, and it came through in conversations – these developers weren’t handed a stack of comics and given crash courses, but rather the kind of people who hit their shops on Wednesdays and know the difference between Eric Masterson and Beta Ray Bill!


  Thor God of Thunder PS3 Xbox  


The developers discussed Thor: God of Thunder first. Representatives from Liquid Entertainment, Red Fly Studio and WayForward worked with Marvel writer Matt Fraction (Fear Itself, Thor) to develop a unique story that leads into the Thor movie. While there is some commonness across the systems (such as likenesses and voice acting), the development teams made great effort to deliver unique experiences for each platform. Liquid Entertainment, the developers of the Xbox 360/Playstation 3 version, designed a rich combat system that includes over 50 moves and combinations, but aim to deliver gameplay that isn’t too convoluted. Like many next-generation games, Thor: God of Thunder features a “leveling” system that allows players to tailor both Thor’s powers as well as his threads. For the Wii version of the game, Red Fly Studio really wanted to capture the feel of Mjolnir with the Wiimote. The Wii version employs a slightly different graphical style than the next generation game, presenting visuals reminiscent of Pascal Ferry and Jack Kirby. The Wii game will also have exclusive “flight” levels, where the goal is to wreak as much havoc as possible in a period of time. In sharp contrast, developers WayForward described the DS version of Thor: God of Thunder as “their love letter to the Nintendo Entertainment System.” Thor God of Thunder DS screenA two-screen side-scroller, this game is designed to push the DS to its limits. Thor: God of Thunder will be available for Xbox 360 & Playstation 3 (both in 3d, as well!), Wii and DS on May 3, 2011, the Tuesday prior to the movie opening. A version is also in development for the Nintendo 3DS, with release date to be determined.

Next up was Captain America: Super Soldier. Similar to Thor: God of Thunder, Sega and the development teams worked with writer Christos Gage (Avengers Academy) to develop a unique story and then deliver that story in different ways across the three platforms. All three games involve Captain America assaulting a castle controlled by Baron Strucker in Bavaria during World War II. Supporting cast members like Bucky, Arnim Zola and Baron Zemo appear in each game. Like Thor: God of Thunder, the next generation titles will be released in 3d, and a 3DS version of the game is in development with a release date to be announced. I got significant hands-on time with the Captain America games, so I’ll describe how each game plays below. Captain America: Super Soldier will be available for Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Wii and DS on July 19, 2011. 


So…how do they play?

First up, let’s discuss Thor: God of Thunder (Xbox 360/Playstation 3); this game features everyone’s favorite Norse hero in a 3d brawler, not dissimilar from another familiar mythological series. Players brawl and grapple a number of enemies, and can unleash a number of Thor’s mighty powers. Tapping into the Odin Force allows Thor to call down lightning or toss enemies around with whirlwinds, and there’s even a button dedicated to throwing Mjolnir into your enemies. I played an epic, multi-stage boss battle against Surtur, and other bosses available in the full game included Ymir and Ulik. The fighting was very intuitive, and it was easy to jump right into the game and pull off some impressive-looking feats.

I got to play all three versions of Captain America: Super Soldier – DS, Wii and Xbox 360/Playstation 3 (in 3d, no less!). All three games take very different approaches to Captain America storming Baron Strucker’s castle. The DS version of the game is a side-scrolling platformer with really natural physics and a fun combo-based platform system. The DS version of this game switches gamestyles frequently, moving from timed jumping puzzles to close combat and even a racing level that reminded me of the Battletoads jetbikes. The demo version I played had all of the Captain America bonus costumes unlocked, and while I won’t spoil which costumes show up, I will say that the developers promised that hardcore Cap fans would be pleased with the diverse span of choices – and that’s the truth. 

  Captain America First Avenger SEGA PS3 Xbox  

The Wii version of Captain America shifts the perspective to a 3d view, and employs a graphical style influenced by modern animated series.  The target audience for Wii Captain America: Super Soldier is ages 7-12, but there’s plenty of action for gamers of all ages to enjoy. Using the Wiimote and nunchuck controller, Captain America explores the castle in a game influenced by modern Legend of Zelda games. Combat is varied as players are rewarded for tackling rooms in different manners – while it’s easy to brawl your way through the earlier stages, enemies get tougher the farther Cap gets into the castle and mindless button-mashing might not be enough. Wii Captain America: Super Soldier also has a number of fun puzzles and a series of tough challenges that will even give the most hardcore gamer pause.

  Captain America First Avenger Wii Screen  

I had the pleasure of playing the next-generation Captain America: Super Soldier on a PlayStation 3 running the game in 3d, and it visually stunning. Cap looks just like Chris Evans (who provided voice for all the games), and the 3d doesn’t result in degraded textures, unlike other 3d games on the market right now. Hyper-realistic graphics and sound create a much more serious, gritty affair than the Wii or DS titles, aimed at an older audience. The combat system is deep, and within minutes I was deflecting bullets from one enemy to another with my shield and executing an impressive-looking string of combos on unsuspecting Hydra soldiers. While I had the least time with the next-generation game, it’s the one I’m looking most forward to out of the three.

Movie tie-in games are frequently a challenged lot – the games Sega showed off last week are definitely a step in breaking that stereotype, and I’m looking forward to sinking my thumbs into several of these games. Many thanks to Marvel, Sega and the various development studios for letting me take a sneak peek!

-Ash Aiwase


  1. All I know is the two Iron Man movie games were the absolute worst, so it’ll take some solid gameplay to win me over. Movie games are usually bad and comics based games have a few wins but a lot of loses. Here’s hoping.

  2. I cannot believe that Marvel continues its relationship with Sega.  They can’t even get Sonic games right any more and as @MBurnsOH points out the Iron Man games were shit.  I’d love to see Respawn’s take on a Cap WW2 FPS. 

  3. Those Iron man games were whore-eeblay.

  4. Both of the Iron Man games were really not great – and they were both developed in-house at Sega. All six of the games I saw last week were developed by 3rd party developers and felt leaps and bounds better than their predecessors.