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Sonic Speed Reviews: Captain America: Super Soldier (X360)

July 28, 2011

With the Summer almost coming to a close, can Captain America save the normally dry season of throw away video game releases? Let’s find out…

Captain America: Super Soldier is the latest in the long line of movie tie-ins based off the current batch of Marvel super heroe movies which have been released over the last 3 years. And the results haven’t been up to snuff, the first two Iron Man games proved to be the kiss of death for the ill-fated Secret Level games studio and Thor’s outing was a disaster, so can the Super Soldier save the day? The short answer is: Kind of.

I was impressed with the game, it once again follows the formula of being set within the movie’s universe as a spin-off story instead of actually following the events, allowing for a little more creative freedom without compromising the continuity. That being said, it is a step in the right direction for these kind of movie tie-ins.

It starts off with Captain America leading an assault into a castle where an evil scientist named Armin Zola is conducting wild experiments that could potentially turn the tide of the war (feels like a node to the classic Wolfenstein games). However, what starts off as a simple search and destroy mission, it quickly turns… into a simple and fun action game hitting all the usual clichés of a summer film.

There will be a little of combat, some basic puzzle solving(if you can call it that), sabotage, also a good number of Cap’s Rouge gallery make their appearance and confrontation with them is inevitable, the bouts are forgettable, but fortunately they do not worn out their welcome. Iron Cross and Madame Hydra are potentially interesting villains, but you don’t get that much out of them.

The majority of the 6 hour campaign(yes it is that short) is spent either engaging in close encounters combat with Hydra goons of ever-increasing size and numbers, all of them sporting the same attire over and over. The combat is perhaps the greatest highlight of the game, it is enjoyable and uncomplicated, as you continue to increase your Focus meter, you are able to build up enough of it to unleash some very impressive cinematic takedowns in a poetic slow motion reminiscent of the great John Woo, the shield also serves as your primary source of defense as well as a great battering ram where you can select targets one by one and pick them off. The shield can also parry bullets and other inconveniences.

Another part of the game is also exploration, but don’t expect to see a much of Batman: Arkham Asylum here, Super Soldier is at best, a low-cost, smaller equivalent of Warner Brother’s flagship franchise, there is some exploration involved, but there is very little else to explore beyond the linear route. Collectibles are a minor distraction that will likely keep people only mildly interested, though once again, I appreciate the node to the Wolfenstein games.

Platforming is a simple and straightforward affair, you can only climb onto ledges and other figures that are marked and if not, you can always use your Captain America special vision(which is kinda like Batman’s own sensor) but with a 1940’s sepia style tone where the objects that you can interact with are highlighted.

There is little input and it’s mostly about pressing the right button at the right time to fill your Focus meter. Sabotage is also an equally simplistic affair in which you are asked to match two numbers from two different schemes of numbers or short-circuit which has you bring two wires close enough to make the machine malfunction.

Captain America: Super Soldier is indeed, a step up from many dismal titles based off of popular Summer films, however, while gameplay does indeed separate it from the herd, it strikes out on a few presentation notes, though none of them will particularly bother the game all that much.

The game engine feels dated, there are a few odd glitches and the game cut scenes that use the graphical engine are full of choppy frame rate. Chris Evans, who also voices the video game character, has no passion in saying any of his lines, which occasionally makes his more profound statements feel a bit humourous and awkward, but never unpleasant. The other voice actors also come across as nonchalant, but once again, they won’t get that much screen time to annoy you. The music score isn’t all that much to write home about and frankly you won’t get that much more replay value after you finish the brief campaign.

Had the presentation been a little better, this would be a solid B title, because the gameplay is solid and while it copies a lot from Batman: Arkham Asylum, it manages to stand out on its own as simple fun. A full price is too much for a weekend of entertainment, but as markdowns are inevitable, as budget price or a rental, it’s a fitting investment. One hopes Sega applies the lessons that they have learned with this particular title and finally improve upon its licensing deal with Marvel.

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