Captain America: Super Soldier
Developer: High Voltage Software – Publisher: Sega
Making his first solo console appearance in many years, Captain America is released to coincide with the brand new blockbuster movie. Featuring the voice of Captain America himself, Chris Evans and written by Christos Gage – no stranger to Marvel having worked on The Avengers, X-men, Spider-man and the Cap himself – the game is a completely original story. Set during World War II, Cap is sent behind enemy lines to infiltrate a castle under Hydra command. Hydra is a terrorist organisation hell bent on world domination, a part of which is Cap’s arch nemesis, Red Skull.
Throughout the game you encounter several of the Hydra big bosses including Red Skull, Iron Cross, Baron Strucker and Madame Hydra. Their minions range from army grunts, to shock troopers and sticky grenade firing robots. Depending on how many of these are in a room at any one time can have an impact on how easy it is to progress. Sometimes you can face many at once making it for quite a difficult scuffle, but once you get hang of the fight system, it becomes quite fun.
Surprisingly, Captain America plays out like a budget Arkham Asylum. Incorporating the same sort of free flow combat system that the dark knight’s outing had, it adds a little more to what would just be a run of the mill action beat-em up, allowing you to string melee attacks and combos together. While high combos don’t seem to be rewarded, it’s always compulsive to try and get as high a combo as possible.
The castle can be quite the playground at times as Cap gets to show off his agility with acrobatic climbing sections and several (albeit not too challenging) puzzles to solve to progress on to the next section. However, there are occasional camera annoyances and the controllers feel like they are working against you sometimes (which is an issue with having to use the remote and nunchuck). The controls work like your usual third person fare, only the game would have been much better to play had the option to use the control pad been there. The game makes use out of the motion functionality by using it to aim your shield should you want to throw it or deflect incoming fire. The game also has the occasional QTE, which is reserved for boss fights. Personally I can’t stand QTE, but this game doesn’t get carried away with it and just requires you to shake a specific controller at certain points. Although at the end boss, some serious hammering of the A button is required.
The boss fights themselves vary between the straightforward and downright frustrating! Some are simple cases of melee combat, usually broken up by the occasional wave of enemies. Madame Hydra was one of significant annoyance. You need to be quick or you’re dead. Deflecting bullets, avoiding grenades and trying not to fall into a pit of lava (why is there a lava pit in a castle?) make for quite the tough boss given that the motion controls can be a pain in this situation.
There are 9 levels over all which on average take between 30-40 minutes to complete without doing any of the in game challenges. There are secret areas and challenges dotted throughout the game, and upon completion/discovery you are rewarded with concept art which can be viewed in the extras screen on the main menu.
Unfortunately the games’ setting is ultimately its downfall. Set predominantly within Hydra’s castle, it feels like you are forever traipsing the same environments whilst progressing through the game. The only external parts of the game bookend the adventure, but once you are out side, the change of scenery is relished. As well as the location issue, the visuals are very sub-standard. Even though the graphics are last generation, I’ve played plenty of games from the previous gen which looked twice as good as this game does. While it’s not a dog’s dinner, you expect more in the looks department from a video game these days, regardless of format.
That’s not to say Captain America is a bad game. For a movie tie-in I was rather entertained. Normally these tie-ins are the type of games I would avoid like the plague. There were plenty of times where I found myself really enjoying it, I just found the constant repetition of environments and gameplay as well as poor visuals a let down on what could have other wise been a great Marvel game. Held together by a decent fighting system and fun platform sections, this is definitely worth a rental for fans of the Captain.