Game Review

Captain America: Super Soldier Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by Peter Willington

Shield your eyes...

There's been a fair amount of hyperbole thrown around for Captain America: Super Soldier in the gaming community, with many people making wild claims that SEGA has done for The First Avenger what Rocksteady did for The Dark Knight. While there are definite hints of Batman: Arkham Asylum in High Voltage's Wii outing for Cap', the title still falls far short of the title it imitates.

For starters, this is a very ugly game. Every aspect of the presentation – aside from the no frills menu layout – is unsophisticated and unpleasant to behold. Animation is often awkward and clumsy, leaving the eponymous hero and his supporting cast lacking on-screen presence or melodramatic comic book poise. During combat every hit appears to connect but lacks the brutal impact Arkham Asylum demonstrated so well, leaving scraps feeling lacklustre.

Character models aim for brawny and colourful, instead hitting freakishly chunky and devoid of detail. Facial models perhaps come off worst, rendered by an engine that looks about as if it should power an early PS2 game. During cutscenes this — combined with atrociously phoned-in voice acting and the aforementioned "quality" of animation — has the effect of making Mr. America and indeed the entire cast look like a group of mutated misfits playing dress-up whilst on a day out to the Hydra Fortress. The 1940s environments are dull and lifeless, constantly reusing the same object models throughout the half hour long levels and rough textures are shone upon by gaudily bare lighting sources that wouldn't be amiss in the Quake 3 engine.

By comparison, the music accompanying is shockingly high calibre, an exciting orchestral score underpinning much of the action reminiscent of BioShock's non-licensed numbers.

In terms of presentation then the title is a dud, your typical cash grab licensed title based on a recently released Hollywood flick. However peel back these ugly layers and beneath is a solid, if uninspired, seven-hour action adventure. The title is linear albeit for exploration to find a few hidden trinkets squirrelled away by Baron Zemo – the title's equivalent of the Riddler challenges – and involves moving through room after room to either reach an end goal or take on a boss. Areas are a mix of fighting a number of enemies, environment navigation and light puzzle solving invariably involving Captain America's signature shield to switch buttons or destroy impeding obstacles.

The fighting system is ripped from Batman: Arkham Asylum to good effect, with the B and Z triggers dishing out basic attacks and counters respectively. Enemies tend to swarm the player, so crowd control, priority management and peripheral vision are key to clearing out the Hydra henchmen, especially when the title introduces different enemy archetypes that must be tackled in a specific manner. Facing off against the key characters, such as mad scientist Arnim Zola, human dreadnought the Iron Cross and master assassin Madam Hydra are stereotypical pattern-based boss affairs and, while a nice break from the minions, are criminally lacking in creativity.

While player movement is nothing to nice to look at, it is at least responsive, with the Remote and Nunchuk intelligently assigned the basic commands. Of note is the ability to throw your shield at any area of the field of play by pointing at the desired location and tapping the C button. It takes time to grow comfortable with this ability but becomes the strongest reinforcement of the protagonist's special abilities that the game has to offer. Holding C slows time down to a crawl and enables you to target multiple enemies and other targets with one launch of Cap's shield. Though you'll rarely use it in combat, this technique is often used to complete the title's puzzles, such as hitting three buttons at once to shut down a gun turret. There are some platforming elements here but they're under developed, removing the majority of control and instead requiring the player to simply tap the A button to leap to the next rail or ledge.

Completion of the game, destroying Red Skull Bombs and finding secret treasures unlocks various trinkets; additional costumes, character profiles plus some concept art, though it's very little incentive to anything but the most die-hard Captain America fan to warrant repeat plays. Once you've been through the title you've likely seen everything it has to offer as — just like its sound and visuals — this is a very bare bones offering, so its lasting appeal is also rather questionable. It's certainly not enough content to justify a full price — or even half price — purchase, but when this hits bargain prices it may warrant investigation from Cap' fans, if only for the novelty factor of its halfway decent play mechanics.

Conclusion

High Voltage should be commended for intelligently lifting play elements from Arkham Asylum and successfully merging them with a novel shield-throwing mechanic to provide a similar but still entertaining gameplay experience. Truly awful presentation severely hampers the product overall though, creating a title that is enjoyable in the hands but abhorrent to the eyes.

More Stories

Game Trailer

Marvel at SEGA's launch trailer for the Wii version of Captain America: Super Soldier

User Comments (29)

TheBaconator

#2

TheBaconator said:

The 360 version of the game is pretty good, too. (And it is developed by Next Level Games)

Supremeist

#5

Supremeist said:

Looks fun enough, but definitely not worth a buy for me. Most people will pass this, but atleast It's not in the movie junk pile. Almost.

TheBaconator

#6

TheBaconator said:

@Jango-Forest
Nothing, he was injected with essentially "Super Steroids", and that gave him super strength, athleticism, and acrobatic abilities. He also has a bullet proof shield. So in reality all someone would need to do is take away his shield to defeat him because all of his weaknesses are the same as a normal human's. Either that or they could force feed him junk food.

C-195

#9

C-195 said:

So it's ok apart from the graphics? That's a little strange, I though HVS was always trying to make their Wii games great looking.
They were probably too busy working on Conduit 2's 21/7 patch to work on this game properly anyway.
@ballkirby1 The same could be said about Bruce Banner's Hulk form, Iron Man's Armor and Thor's Hammer, apart from the junk food, which wouldn't work anyway.

TheBaconator

#10

TheBaconator said:

@Nukeprime64
Yeah, but the main difference if that those characters are resistant to forms of gunfire and explosions when they have their powers. Hulk is also incredibly strong, can destroy practically anything, lift anything, and jump extremely long distances. Iron Man has access to missiles, flight, super strength, and gun fire on his suit. And Thor can shoot thunder, fly, smash anything with his hammer, and is a God. All Captain America is, is a Man in top physical condition with a shield. Thus, if he stopped exercising and ate poorly he'd get out of shape and just like any other man on steroids and lose his "powers". (It was also a joke)

JayArr

#11

JayArr said:

Arkham Asylum set the bar so high it will be hard for any other super hero game to come close to living up to the new standard. I would live to see it done though. I mean there is so much story and game-play potential surrounding every comic book I can't believe how few great games there are for them.

Splat

#12

Splat said:

I never buy these kinda games. It's not that I don't like them but they never have replay value.

hydeks

#15

hydeks said:

@Mao if it was on psone, it would look EVEN worse, Wii is more powerful and this looks better than psone graphics.

I completely don't agree with this review at all. I rented this game and thought this game was a blast to play in every way, and the graphics are actually pretty good (FOR WII, NOT F***ing PSONE)

motang

#16

motang said:

Was kinda looking forward to this one, oh well I might pick it up when I done with backlog of PS3 games I am working through right now.

bro2dragons

#18

bro2dragons said:

@Jango-Forest: As much as I love Captain America, I have always joked with my friends that his super power is that he's "slightly better than you are." The super soldier serum with which he was injected elevated his body just above peak human levels in terms of overall athleticism. It's also said to have granted him greater soldiering instincts and strategic ability. So, he's essentially "a little stronger, faster, smoother, and smarter than the next guy."

And it looks like his game almost lives up to that, but being instead, "slightly worse than the next game." But just slightly.

the_shpydar

#20

the_shpydar said:

Though i'm a huge Cap fan, i'll pass on this one — i'm actually more curious to see how the DS version is, which looks more like a beat-em-up style game, or similar to the Batman Brave & the Bold DS game.

Vinsanity

#22

Vinsanity said:

C'mon Nintendolife. You know and we know that all the Batman Arkham Asylum comparisons are leveled at Next Level's PS3/360 SKU of this game. Not High Voltage's wii game. I mean, the way the game is structured on those consoles, the way the combat works, etc. It's all "very inspired" by Rocksteady's Batman title. But High Voltage's? Just a brawler.

Sakura_Moonlight2421

#24

Sakura_Moonlight2421 said:

I don't see why everyone is ragging on Cap. No one does it to Batman so show some respect. A hero can come in all shapes and sizes regardless of limitations.

FonistofCruxis

#25

FonistofCruxis said:

The graphics suck but calling them as bad as a ps1 game is a bit harsh, if you want a wii game with graphics that bad then look at the wii version of Iron man.

tinman

#27

tinman said:

SEGA needs to dump HVS ASAP! They seem to be incapable of making good games and the major complaints in all the reviews covering their titles are always the same: uninspired, generic, bad art direction (if any), contains stuff copied from other games jumbled together rather badly. They're either unwilling or unable to learn and evolve. Some people just aren't meant to make games at all.

Wamtu

#28

Wamtu said:

@Tinman: It sure seems that way, yes. As soon as I heard it was High Voltage I was thinking, "Oh, great. So much for this being a good game..."

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