Sega has had a habit of really phoning it in with the Iron Man games. But luckily Captain America: Super Soldier shows a good amount of polish and effort. While it’s no Arkham Asylum, it does show influences from Rocksteady’s masterpiece.
Captain America is an open world game, with most of the action taking place in the Hydra fortress. It seems a bit unsuited given how the game ends up playing out but let’s dive in and look at why.
Feel Like a Super Solider - As I said before, the combat takes its inspiration from Arkham Asylum. It’s a simple mixture of strikes, counters, and dodges. As Cap fights enemies and uncovers intel, either by finding documents or solving puzzles, he earns experience points to earn new moves, such as being able to reflect his trademark shield off multiple targets or weaponize enemies, which basically means taking their gun and then going to town on your foes. There are enough options and reasons to use said options to make the combat from getting tiresome.
Bone-Crunching Action - If there’s one thing that makes any game more satisfying, it’s the slow motion bits where you can see Cap’s fist breaking a Nazi soldier’s face into pieces. Focus attacks are done with a meter Cap builds while fighting, and they’re very important for quickly taking down the heavily armored enemies. The animations are great and the choreography bits are well done too. Even the acrobatics that Cap is known for flow well into the combat.
Goes Beyond the Movie - Given that the movie is mostly about his origin, Super Solider jumps right into the war, with Cap already being established as a badass that’s a legend on the battlefield. It’s a smart move that helps add to the bad ass factor of the character. Unfortunately, it means that a certain important villain isn’t present, and that’s a big downer.
A GAME THAT WILL LIVE IN INFAMY
I Need a Villian - I’m just going to have to point out that the Red Skull has little more than a brief cameo in this game. It’s a big letdown, since while we all know Captain America is famous for fighting Nazis, the casual fans don’t know many of his villains outside of the Red Skull. And yet we don’t get him at all? When Cap remarks that Baron Von Strucker looks like every other goose stepper he’s beat down so far, he’s fairly correct in that statement. The boss fights, which should give Cap a big challenge, lack defining moments and leave the game lacking in the epicness it needs.
What’s the Point - You can explore the mansion and go back to areas you’ve been to previously, but there’s hardly a reason to beyond getting collectibles. And since the abilities Cap earns don’t really change how he navigates his environment, it seems like a waste to allow you to do this at all. A series of missions that took you around Europe would have allowed for more variety in the levels, and given a chance to do cooler things with the game.
No Sense of Urgency or Danger - Look at the Captain America comic book cover, shown above. Captain America looks like he is clearly in over his head, and there’s Hitler square and center. While Cap drops out of a plane without a parachute like a boss, you never feel overwhelmed. The Nazis never try to swarm you or present much a challenge. It’s like they’re just waiting at their stations for you to come around and beat them up. What would have worked for this game would have been like Grand Theft Auto’s notoriety system, with the havoc you cause sending in bigger and badder enemies. But instead, we get mooks who stand around until they see you, and bigger mooks in robot suits who do the same.
No Prince of Persia: Given that Captain America doesn’t have super powers, and from what the early previews were saying about the game, I was expecting a good amount of parkour and climbing to be done. And while there is, there is absolutely no danger in failing any of the platforming in this game at all. Everything is done with the push of a button, and the only thing good timing will do is get you a bonus in experience points. It’s a casual gaming mechanic that makes me sick because it presents no challenge at all.
There’s a decent amount of fun to be hand in Captain America: Super Soldier with the combat, but there is a general lack of excitement in the game overall. The groundwork is there for a pretty good game, but the enemies and levels don’t ever get to really do anything to excite. Also, I don’t think the word Nazi is ever actually said in the game either, which is another odd trait that makes me wonder why political correctness had to scrub this game clean.
If you want a good comic book game, there are better ones out there (Hint: they’re not tied into the movie version). And if you’re a diehard fan of Cap, rent it. Captain America: Super Soldier will be done in around five or six hours and then you can get back to playing better games.
*This review was based on the Xbox 360 version of the game with a review code provided by the publisher.*