Sitting waiting for my first flight towards Seattle, what better to do than write a review for Captain America: Super Soldier, a movie-tie in superhero action game from Sega? With a multitude of superhero (and movie tie-in) games recently released to the market, does good ol’ Cap stand out, or falter? Better yet, is the game anything like Batman: Arkham Asylum, as some reviewers would have you believe? Read on to find out – cause we’re getting straight into it.
For those unfamiliar with Captain America, you’re playing this game as Steve Rogers, an experimental American soldier made super-strong via (you guessed it) super serum. The Captain carries a vibranium shield, capable of absorbing huge amounts of damage, and also allowing the shield to act as a boomerang; 95% of the time, you’ll throw that shield, and it’ll come straight back after pinging off your target.
Without spoiling any of the movie, the game acts as a side-story, taking place during World War II but before the events of the movie. The Captain is aided by his usual sidekicks, a multinational group of soldiers, snipers, explosives experts, etc. Whilst the Red Skull makes an appearance, our hero largely pits himself against mad Doctor Zola throughout the game.
The hot: Thor, this ain’t. Thankfully so, as honestly, the Thor movie got me excited for the brand only to be disappointed by the lacklustre, rushed game that Sega pumped out with reckless abandon. Sega’s decided to go against the standard God of War-esque formula with Captain America, and yes – it’s closer to an Arkham Asylum-type feel. Saying that, don’t think there is any element of stealth, and combos don’t really matter when facing down enemies (even in the game’s “Challenge Mode” which clearly was modelled after Rocksteady’s classic title). Still, the story is pretty tight and you definitely have a sense of true superheroic power playing as the Captain, especially with powered-up, slow motion takedowns.
For those not wanting to have put their whole world behind the game for a week or two, I have to give mad props to the developers for their achievement choices. First and foremost, you can get all the achievements in the game playing on easy difficulty (which, admittedly, I did). Second, this game is riddled with collectibles, but the best part about this is that the game has more collectibles around the world map than you’re required to collect. You can’t figure out how to get one pesky set of blueprints or a collectible egg? No worries, just try for the next – they’re all marked on the map at one point or another. Other developers, if you’re going to throw collectibles in your game, please take note.
The meh: For a superhero that basically is defined by his shield, Captain America just didn’t quite get the shield mechanics right. To throw precisely, you need to use the left trigger to aim, and the right trigger to throw; Cap’s not wielding a gun, though the controls are the same as in any first-person shooter. The resulting gameplay means you’re stopping, aiming, and throwing, which doesn’t feel right. Cap should be bolting up walls and throwing using some sort of auto-lock in my opinion. In fact, I spent most of the game running and using the right trigger to simply throw my shield in front of me, hopefully lining myself up correctly with enemies beforehand; it worked half the time and kept the pace right up.
The cold: Not too much, to be honest. It would have been nicer if combos mattered more in combat; I upped the difficulty just to make sure easy wasn’t too easy and still found I could take quite a bit of damage. The other thing I despised was the ridiculously easy (yet time-consuming and very game-padding) encryption puzzles that popped up far too often.
Overall, Captain America is a solid superhero movie tie-in. It seems far more polished than the usual fare (especially considering it’s by Sega). While I would put the game in the same category as Batman: Arkham Asylum, I certainly would compare it to the game in that “if you like A, then you’re going to like B too” type way. If you like Captain America or superheroes in general, this is a must have. If you’re a fan of the movie, it’s a must have…so really, who does that leave out?