Reviews// Captain America: Super Soldier

Posted 15 Jul 2011 08:42 by
The most interesting thing about my Captain America: Super Soldier 'experience' was discovering that I'm a little bit attracted to Madame Hydra, despite the fact that she's a German dominatrix with Nazi sympathies and green hair. I won't lie to you, that's a bit of a shame.

I often feel funny about enjoying the adventures of a man who dresses (unashamedly and unironically) in an American flag. Yet, Captain America can be pretty cool. Generally speaking, he's at his best when he's criss-crossing the globe in superhero espionage stories, inspiring awe with his unflappable ability to hold steady and generally doing things such as riding fighter jets like many of us would a skateboard and jumping out of planes while telling those around him that 'parachutes are for girls'.

Fortunately for all the uncomfortable Englishmen out there, developer Next Level doesn't bring any of those qualities to bear in Captain America: The Game of the Film of the Comic. (I mean, yes, he does jump out of a plane, but no, you don't get to control him doing it). Instead, they offer up a generic superhero game with a hero that feels like Crimefighter of the Month and gameplay features that feel like they were borrowed from other titles without ever being made to properly fit. Captain America: Super Soldier isn't awful, it's just average and pretty forgettable.

The title is what publishers refer to as a 'third-person action game', meaning it's a brawler spliced with a spot of platforming and some (very) light puzzling. You play as Cap (weakling Steve Rogers, enhanced by a serum and vita rays to become America's first and only super soldier) at a point in time between him being enhanced and the main action of the film. Yes, it's set squarely in the film universe. Yes, it apparently has the voice and likeness of Chris Evans. Not that you can really tell.

You've infiltrated the castle of Baron Zemo, where Hydra (a terrorist organisation in the comics, re-purposed as a Nazi group here) is working on a top-secret weapon to turn the war against the yanks (as far as we're concerned here, this was the yanks' war, 'kay?). The story is written by Christos Gage. Gage has written some fairly decent comics, but the plot here doesn't really sparkle. It's decidedly by the numbers, serving to get Cap from one encounter to the next, but doing little more.

The combat is of the acrobatic, free-flowing variety and borrows heavily from Batman: Arkham Asylum. It's not quite so stripped down as that system, but it has the same focus on movement, blocking, evasion and counter attacks. It's about rhythm and timing rather than remembering strings of combos. Despite being a bit derisive (right down to the Snyder-esque slow motion moments), it does work well and feel good.

Cap's movements capture the feel of Bryan Hitch's renditions of him in The Ultimates and Captain America: Rebirth. Thumbs up for that. You also, of course, get the benefit of having that shield to sling about.
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PaulRayment 15 Jul 2011 08:17
This film tie-in type of game has me asking a chicken or egg question...Do games of movies suck because publishers don't care about them or is it because they know that by being a tie-in the public has low expectations and they're happy with hitting these expectations dead-on.

Batman AA was great, but I'm sure the budget was also greater than that of CASS. I assume that they don't see the point when they can shovel this out to push the film and make a little money off the fact that it will benefit from the buzz around the film.

Just call me Pachter.
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