SEGA’s Marvel games line up is one big missed opportunity. When I first heard that SEGA had managed to get the game licenses for all of the upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, I could only imagine great things. After all, Activision had managed to turn its Spider-man license into a quality, long running, successful franchise. Surely SEGA could do the same! As we all know by now, this turned out not to be the case. However, in a sea of trashy movie games there have been a few bright spots. A few of the games have managed to be pretty decent. Thor 3DS is one of them.
Thor 3DS is a pure brawler. There are a few flight sequences, which we will get to later, but the game is largely a brawler. You can leave your brain at the door for this one, as you won’t be doing any puzzle solving here. Thor is all about beating the crap out of hundreds of bad guys, and this is something the game does very well. The combat is very fluid. Thor can switch from one enemy to another with ease, and can very easily deal with multiple enemies at once. The actual brawling mechanics are pretty simple to grasp. Thor has heavy attacks and light attacks, and combos center around combining the two. In addition to a pretty standard combo system, Thor can also throw his hammer at enemies, block enemy attacks, charge forward in a burst of speed, and perform a variety of thunder and wind based powers. These additional powers help add some variety to the combat, and keep it from becoming too monotonous.
In addition to the brawling, Thor also has some mercifully short flight sequences. Panzer Dragoon this is not! These flight sequences are less like a rail shooter, and far more like a series of shooting galleries. These segments were clearly made for the Wii, but what little fun there may have been in the Wii version is lost in the transition. Instead, all we get are a handful of static, mediocre shooting stages that never add anything to the experience.
What depth the game does have stems from its combo system, and the effect it has on Thor’s power. Getting a ten move combo powers up gives Thor the option to power up one of his special abilities. In the event of a 30 move combo, Thor can activate even stronger “mega storm powers”. In addition to the combo based power ups, Thor can also equip runes which change the nature of his powers. Runes can enhance Thor’s powered up abilities, making them more powerful or allowing them to last longer. This way you can tailor Thor’s power to the way you fight. You like juggling enemies? Theirs a rune that makes Thor’s juggling stronger. You having difficulties getting combos? Thor can equip a rune to make it easier to get a combo. There are twenty runes total in the game, but they aren’t all easy to obtain. Most of the runes need to be found in the levels. Others can only be bought in the game’s upgrade store. Much like the runes, upgrades also allow you to enhance Thor’s many abilities, allowing Thor to take on more powerful enemies with greater ease. Unlike the runes, these upgrades are permanent. Through the upgrade store, players can buy additional rune slots so they can use more than one rune at once, they can buy health and magic bar upgrades, and they can buy additional combos and improved storm powers. Between the combo system, the runes, and the upgrade store, Thor 3DS has quite a bit to discover and unlock, and lend an otherwise shallow brawler a bit of much needed depth and customization.
Thor 3DS is a fun game, but it’s also pretty short. My first play through took me about 6 hours, and I was able to complete it the day after I got it. That said, the game does give you incentives to come back. You will not unlock all of the aforementioned runes and upgrades on your first play through. On top of that, you also unlock the super difficult “Ragnorak” mode after you beat the game, giving you a nice place to try out all those enhanced powers you unlocked towards the end of the last game. Aside from these additions, Thor doesn’t really give you much else to come back for, aside from a fairly mediocre arena battle mode.
Graphics and Audio
In addition to its short length, Thor 3DS has one other problem: it is ugly. This is probably one of the ugliest games I’ve played on the 3DS. The textures are terrible and overall it just looks like something that would be considered poor even on the PS2. It’s a real shame too, because many of the actual settings look pretty cool. The 3D effect also doesn’t really add much for much of the game, though it can be cool during the flight sections.
The music’s a nicer, but nothing special. Thor has an orchestral soundtrack that would be right at home in a movie. It’s nice to listen to, but it’s nothing you’ll be sticking on your iPod. The voice acting is also pretty solid. Despite the rather mediocre story, the performances are pretty solid all around, and help add a cinematic feel to a story that otherwise would be pretty stale.
Thor 3DS was a surprise. On a system that doesn’t have a single decent brawler, Thor fills a gap in its library. Thor is a fun, polished brawler, but don’t expect anything more. This isn’t in the same league as God of War or Yakuza. Clocking in at only six hours and sporting graphics that where ugly seven years ago, Thor is clearly a budget title, but thankfully it’s priced accordingly at $30. I’d recommend Thor 3DS to anyone looking for a simple, pure brawling experience on their 3DS, and to anyone who has a kid who just loves Thor. Also be sure to keep in mind that this is a direct port of the Wii version, so if you’ve already bought that version, there’s no real reason to buy this one. Grading this game was hard, but in the end the solid brawling and lower than average price made up for the poor graphics and short length.
- Solid, fluid brawling
- Runes and upgrades add depth to the game
- Music is solid, voice acting is great
- Ugly graphics
- Short Length
- Poor, flight sequences, though they are rare and brief.