Captain America: Super Soldier Review
For those of you expecting an open-world, superhero adventure recreating a full-on cinematic experience, Captain America: Super Soldier is sure to disappoint. Unfortunately, what you'll be met with is another generic movie-tie-in filled with repetitive gameplay and a linear structure. This is another cookie-cutter game that follows the structure of hundreds of games released before it.
Don't expect to re-live scenes from the upcoming movie. Instead, you will play through a restricted single-player campaign focused solely on exploring and fighting your way through Armin Zola's castle, located high in the Bavarian mountains. Though designed to make you feel as though you were in a labyrinth, you won't have any trouble navigating your way through the multiple wings and levels that exist, as the linear pathways and corridors pretty much guide you which way to go every step of the way.
Remember the cool scenes from the movie trailer? Captain America busting down doors, guns and shield ablaze? Or riding a motorcycle into a group of Nazis, with explosions all around? Yeah, you won't do any of that in this game. Instead, you'll run around destroying countless antennas, anti-aircraft guns, and tanks. Occasionally, you'll rescue members of the Howling Commandos, but they are hardly memorable interactions. The game throws in a ridiculous amount of collectibles that you can find scattered throughout the castle, from ceramic pottery to important Nazi documents. Of course, these super secret documents are hidden quite well, like right on top of a table or in the middle of the alley pathway. Some of these items do reveal additional background story, like Armin Zola's diaries and film reels documenting the history. Other than that, it feels like these were thrown in just to give you something else to do in between bashing the skulls of Nazis. Collecting these items and defeating enemies earns you experience. As you level up, you will gain additional abilities (9 maximum), but these hardly effect the moves Cap will perform.
The game (which runs about six to eight hours) is filled with action, and the combat is actually where this game shines. The assisted combat system, similar to that found in Batman: Arkham Asylum, allows you to see the Captain perform some pretty intricate moves on his enemies, from shield bashing to spin kicking. Although, after about two hours of gameplay, you've seen every move and your tired of the camera slowing down after each hit. However, it's still fun and definitely the highlight of the game.
Fighting Nazis is always fun, and Captain America: Super Soldier definitely has an abundance of them. As you comb the castle in attempt to complete missions, you will face a countless number of Hydra's goons and some pretty unique science experiments, which seem a little like mini-bosses along the way. It is capped off with boss fights against Captain America's famous antagonists, Madame Hydra (Viper) and Iron Cross. Don't get your hopes up for a fight against Red Skull, because it doesn't happen in this game. These mini-bosses and bosses actually encompass a good mixture of unique combat requirements and precision. You must time your punches, parries, and dodges accordingly in order to defeat them. You will definitely utilize Cap's trademark shield through the game, as it plays a big part in deflecting bullets and lasers towards enemies. I didn't even mention the really amusing part, which is using it to target the Hydra goons and watching it ricochet around like a pinball machine.
In between combat, Cap will face a small mixture of platforming and basic puzzles. These puzzles consist of looking at two sets of numbers and finding the one number both sets have in common in order to unlock a door. It's more tedious and annoying than it is challenging or life-threatening. The platforming also seems like something that was thrown in there to mimic Batman. Cap performs all the moves with a simple push of the button, and it doesn't even have to be timed right. Though easy, it is visually pleasing to see Cap jump and flip his way through the castle. I just wish they left more of the skill to the players.
Overall, Captain America: Super Soldier isn't anything we haven't already seen in other movie-tie-in games. The combat is fun, but the overall game is lackluster at best. It will leave you wanting more. I'm glad it follows it's own side story to the movie, but the fact is, I'd like to see some resemblance to the movie other than the main protagonist. Give me some memorable moments that I will see in the movie and think back to when I played this game. Sadly, this is just another action game with a Captain America skin on it. There is nothing different or unique about it.
[Reviewed on PlayStation 3]