Title: Captain America: Super Soldier
Developer: Next Level Games
Rated: T For Teen
Earlier this summer, I reviewed Thor: God of Thunder based on the new movie from Marvel Studios and Paramount and the milestone comics character. It was unfortunately one of the worst movie based videogames I have ever played and I was quite disappointed with how it turned out being the first solo-Thor videogame. Concurrently there was also the new Captain America game based on its own movie released later in the summer, Captain America: The First Avenger. I was sort of cautiously anxious about this title since I'm a huge Captain America fan. I was intrigued when I saw the first released images and clips for the game as it featured Captain America in a classic comic-styled costume rather than the movie version. So my feeling was that this would be more of its own game rather than a more movie based one that would simply be a bit of synergy for the film much like X2: Wolverine's Revenge. I was a little disappointed when those images of the classic costume were put out since the new movie costume hadn't officially been cleared for release yet. While the game itself turned out a lot better than Thor: God of Thunder, it didn't really blow me away. This title also marks the first solo-only Captain America game title, unless I guess you count on some old, obscure release on the
In this game you play as Captain America/Steve Rogers. Cap is on a covert mission, behind enemy lines to take on HYDRA and infiltrates their base located deep in the mountains of Germany in
Baron Zemo's castle facility. So after a separate location for the first level, you are put into the the castle facility filled with HYDRA soldiers and minions of the Red Skull. Cap has to sabotage their weapons and armories in order to help his comrades, The Invaders, make their way into the compound with danger around every corner. As is the norm of these games, select leading members of the cast from the movie reprise their roles from the game including Chris Evans returning as Rogers/Cap, Hayley Atwell as Peggy Carter, Neil McDonough as "Dum Dum" Dugan, Sebastian Stan as Bucky, and J.J. Field as James Falsworth (also the identity of Union Jack in the Marvel Comics). Voice acting for the crew is all around solid, especially the immortal Steven Blum who does work here as Baron Zemo which is awesome.
While Thor: God of Thunder was clearly a God of War clone, the game that Captain America: Super Soldier is clearly trying to mimic is
Batman: Arkham Asylum. Ambitious in some ways to be sure, and the game is a noble attempt in some ways. However the execution is faulty and ultimately disappointing. The cut scenes and FMV sequences for example lack a certain polish. They don't look terrible, but the animation has a certain choppiness to it at times. This is consistent with parts of the actual game as well. It just lacks a certain extra bit of detail and polish which is what helped make Arkham Asylum so extraordinary. While the environments and areas are more varied and impressive than say Thor, they are still at times quite boring. Also the game is broken up too often by load screens even when entering different areas, unlike Arkham Asylum's strong, continuous gameplay. Character designs and models don't look so bad. Cap and his shield are rendered quite well, though I am not a fan of the movie costume which I still think is tacky. Luckily the tweaked classic costume from the comics and also the Ultimates costume version can be unlocked to play later with in the game.
So the major part of the game play that Cap tries to mimic from Arkham Asylum is the free flow combat system. Thor: God of Thunder tried and failed to mimic God of War's melee style combat. The attempt is admirable, but Next Level Games didn't quite get it right. The combat and general controls are fine. Cap can brawl and counter. It seems even his jump over enemies transitioning into hits and takedowns was taken right out of Arkham Asylum. I like that you can knock out downed enemies while also strong arming enemies and using them as human weapons is quite clever. When you build up your blue power bar, you will be prompted to unleash a "crippling takedown" where you can instantly knock out your enemies not unlike Batman's slow motion knockout punch when he clears a room of enemies in Arkham Asylum. I think if the game had more time it could've turned out much better and fluid. Other parts of combat and fighting just come off rushed and poorly done. Stealth takedown and kills aren't well thought out and put together in the game as well as the boss fights which there are far too few of.
Not unlike Detective mode from Arkham Asylum or Spider-Man's Spider Sense he can utilize in videogames, Cap is able to use a Tactical Vision which will let you spot tricks or things you can use in the environment, such as breakable walls or areas where you can grab on to. Besides the free flow combat, another element frequently used in the gameplay are the free running type sequences. While I think this was an interesting idea, in execution it works quite rough. The sequences really seem to limit the gameplay and Cap's abilities, an enhanced, peak physical human with a super soldier serum. The button commands and the roughness of the controls in the free running sequences come off quite cumbersome.
Besides taking out Hydra, another major element to the game is the collectibles and hidden items. Strewn about the facility are numerous HYDRA files, schematics, dossiers, and Arnim Zola film reels. Cap can also collect and pilfer hidden treasures and heirlooms for extra points. The diaries of Baron Zemo and film reels that can be found and unlocked are not unlike the interview tapes and the Spirit of Arkham from Arkham Asylum.
-Good voice acting from the stars of the movie.
-Varied environments, levels, and open world.
-Some decent combat, controls, and being able to use Cap's shield in fights.
-Some good alternate costume renders.
-Rushed, unfinished looking game overall.
-Certain roughness and choppiness to cut scenes and animations.
-Environments look a little dull and boring at times.
-Disappointing boss battles.
-Free running sequences don't work very well.
All in all Captain America: Super Soldier is a halfway decent game, but it is really a rental title at best. The game is rather short and it won't take long to finish.
Graphics 7.0 Not bad, but overall could've turned out a lot better. Environments look good and detailed sometimes and disappointing in others. The cut scene animation just looks rough and choppy. Gameplay 6.0 A mixed bag. The combat works alright and attempts to mimic Arkham Asylum, but misses and doesn't understand the nuances of what made that game great. Free running controls and boss fights are disappointing. Shield attacks and controls are a lot of fun Sound 8.0 Solid if unspectacular music accompanies a competent voice cast. Lasting Appeal 5.0 This is unfortunately not quite the all-time great Captain America game we could have hoped for. The game is pretty short and there is not much to accomplish other than collecting all the items. Fun Factor 6.0 It is a decently fun game, but it is again rather short and just needed a little more. The shield aspect is incorporated quite well and fun to use. Overall 6.2 [ Average ] legend