Every time we hear about an announced comic book movie being tied in to a game, we get a little nervous. There have been so many failed attempts with it in the past. Between Iron Man 2 and most recently Thor: God of Thunder, SEGA hasn’t had the best track record with them. Knowing they’d be publishing the action adventure based Captain America: Super Soldier, the cringing was understandable.
Fortunately, Next Level Games, the people who brought us Super Mario Strikers for both the Gamecube and Wii as well as Punch Out!! for the Wii, tossed a mighty star spangled shield at us and bucked the trend to produce a fun classic beat ’em up that fits well into the Captain America mythos and uses the movie signature in a positive way.
Captain America: Super Soldier takes place in an “open world” much like that of the classic Metroid. We use the term loosely because players have the option to back track and explore the European castle to find hidden collectibles but the majority of the game can be done without ever needing to turn back. The size of the level is fairly impressive too with both a castle to explore and the underground workings below it.
Combat in Captain America: Super Solider is a very rewarding experience. Unlock Thor: God of Thunder which became a repetitive and painful experience against even the most basic grunt enemies, Captain America: Super Solider makes an effort to switch up the various encounters Cap must deal with. At first, Cap must only deal with basic melee enemies which he can dodge or deflect attacks from. Next comes enemies armed with ranged weapons that Cap can either block shots from or deflect bullets back at with proper timing. Eventually, larger brutish enemies begin to appear that are powerhouses that must be strategically attacked instead of just whaling away on the attack button. And of course, players cannot forget Cap’s shield which can be used to hit multiple targets from a distance.
Cap is given three special moves that he can use by building up his special meter. The first is a crippling strike which can take down any character with a powerful hit (with the exception of bosses). This comes in handy especially against the brutes. Next, Cap gets the opportunity to weaponize his enemies. Again, this is especially more effective against larger enemies as Cap not only turns them into a living shield but he also uses their attack against their own enemy forces. Finally is the Super Soldier mode (which is no surprise considering the title of the game) where everything drops to black and white and slow motion as Cap gets a burst of power and can take out an enemy force with utmost precision and brutality.
Boss battles are also very fun as they are mostly just enhanced versions of regular battles. Unlike some games where gameplay takes a total turn away from what makes most of the game fun, Captain America: Super Solider’s boss battles are just different variations of the same combat theme and it works. Also, there are a few turret sequences in the game that don’t distract from the game and give players unreasonable waves of enemies to deal with. Instead, these are short burst of enemy blasting enjoyment.
The storytelling of this game is impressive compared to most super hero games as it is a short single mission extended over a realistic period of time. Instead of trying to pack the game with a ton of short levels in distant locals telling a grand scheme, Captain America: Super Soldier focuses on one single intense mission for Captain America and his Invader counterparts. There are hints to the film but it is not dwelled upon. There are also some good Hydra cameos that do a great job of leaving the characters open to future stories as well.
The main disappointment to the story is that it isn’t very long. The game can realistically be finished in between 6 to 8 hours which is good because it doesn’t have time to get repetitive and boring but there are times you wish you had a little more to sink your teeth into. It is also a little bit of a letdown that the game is primarily a lonely experience. The Invaders only appear in cut scenes and Cap never gets to fight alongside his comrades in arms.
Captain America: Super Solider is a solid looking game. The textures are good enough that they don’t disgust a player like those in Thor: God of Thunder but they also aren’t visually impressive enough to really wow anyone. They come across as standard for the generation. The animations are well done although they could have used a little more variety. There is little variation between the crippling strikes which can grow repetitive at times but still, they look good.
The voice acting of Chris Evans as Captain America is well done, although you can tell he is a better actor when around the people he is on screen with. A certain flow, like many video game voice recordings, is missing with the actors not recording scenes together. The voice acting takes a drastic hit as Hugo Weaving does not reprise his role as Red Skull from the film, allowing for a lackluster and stereotypical German accent performance from an unknown.
Captain America: Super Solider turns around the trend that SEGA had been following since the Avengers is coming out next year. Considering it stars Captain America, Thor, Iron Man and the Hulk and SEGA has been the publisher of the last five games based off these movie franchises, they more than needed to turn things around.
Captain America: Super Soldier is a game that can be enjoyed by most players but will be appreciated by fans of the character and his series. The references to Hydra and the Marvel Universe are great additions to the title and give the added smirk to players as they experience them, some being reminiscent of great moments of the Captain America comics. Fans of the movie will likely enjoy seeing more of Chris Evan’s Cap performance as well.
Developer: Next Level Games