Captain America: Super Soldier – Review
Captain America is the game of the film of the comic that features one of Marvel’s least interesting heroes. For the uninitiated (and that included me), Captain America is a non-superhero who was created in the early ’40s as a propaganda tool, with most of his early adventures seeing him twatting the bratwurst out of whatever Nazis he could get his star-spangled mitts on. Thanks to a few jabs with a special syringe, the Captain operates at the peak of human capability; that is to say that he’s no Superman or Spiderman. Think of him as Batman on a budget. A budget which has been spent on a shield.
In Captain America: Super Soldier, the Captain is sent deep into enemy territory to take out the superweapons of the HYDRA organisation. By superweapons I mean big robots, and by HYDRA I mean ‘sort-of Nazis’, but without the licensing agreement. It should therefore come as no surprise that, like all comic-based games, this means you run around enemy-controlled environments punching all the generic footsoldiers who mindlessly come your way until you reach a turret section, a bit of platforming or one of the boss battles that are on offer. The combat is as generic as you’d expect; Captain America seems to have a decent array of punches and kicks in his locker, but in gameplay terms you’ll just be mashing the X button a lot while he does his thing. In an attempt to add a little depth to the scrapping, you can perform counter-attacks and criticals, but the combat here is as shallow as any of the three thousand or so similar games on the Xbox 360. Of course, every hero needs a gimmick and Captain America’s is his shield, which is good for blocking and even better for flinging at wannabe Nazi schweinhunds. In Super Soldier, it is used mainly for crowd control and targeting the weakspots of boss characters, but it lacks the variety of, say, Spidey’s webslinging or the contents of Batman’s utility belt.
When you’re not singlehandedly de-reiching the ranks of HYDRA, you’ll be playing Assassin’s Creed-lite in one of the game’s many platforming sections. As with the combat, it will appear as if the Captain has a whole catalog of nifty moves at his disposal, with his progress through the levels looking like the finals of the men’s gymnastics, but in reality you’ll just be pressing A while the game pretends that you’re involved in the on-screen action.
That’s pretty much the entire game described right there in the last two paragraphs. Captain America: Super Soldier is pretty low on surprises and innovation and serves only to part Marvel fans and impressionable young’uns from their cash, but it’s not a terrible game. Sure, it’s duller than pisswater, but it serves its purpose as mindless hero fodder as well as most games of its type, and it does an okay job when it comes to presentation with big, chunky character models running around the reasonably good-looking environments. The music and voice acting are entirely adequate as well.
The real problem is that the inappropriately-named Next Level Games seemed to have settled on doing just enough when it comes to every aspect of the game. The graphics are just about good enough, there is just enough story (although they completely avoid giving you any of the origins of the main character), the fighting and platforming are okay, never getting anything wrong but never excelling either. It’s all just so very blaverage. On the plus side, the developers have at least taken the pain out of what would be some very tiresome collectathon achievements by putting all of them on your map, allowing you to revisit any areas you want and letting you miss a couple of items on your way, making Super Soldier a game that is more enjoyable to max out than it actually is to play. It doesn’t make the game any less of a lemon but it does make my inner achievement whore happy.Pros
- A solid game that doesn't get anything particularly wrong
- Decent achievement handling
- Quite spectacularly average
- Combat and platforming elements seem to play themselves
- Wafer-thin plot with no backstory
With no online modes and just a smattering of Challenge Mode levels on offer once you've beaten the main campaign, Captain America: Super Soldier is a very short-lived affair. You can have the game maxed out in ten or so hour hours without ever having to look at a guide and it's an incredibly easy game (at least on the default 'Normal' setting) which puts this firmly in the 'to rent' or 'to ignore completely' categories depending on whether or not you fancy adding a quick thousand to your gamerscore/curing any insomnia issues you may have.
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