When is a movie tie-in game not a movie tie-in game? When its Captain America: Super Soldier. That statement may seem a little convoluted but stick with me on this one. The wonders of the Marvel universe have once again been dragged into the digital realm, developed by NextLevel games and Sega manning the helm with publishing duties.
Captain America: Super Soldier (hereby referred to as CA:SS, as I’m lazy) could be easily dismissed as just another means of generating an income off the back of a major Hollywood release and to a certain degree you would most probably be right. It’s one of those titles that a lot of gamers would shrug off or ‘Put on their rental list’ which is a bit of a shame in my opinion because whilst CA:SS doesn’t do anything new, isn’t groundbreaking and doesn’t shatter the game space with crazy new advancements, it does deliver a solid nonsensical punchy punch third-person adventure experience.
Now you will have to forgive me for this next statement as I once mentioned this to a friend who proceeded to chastise me with great ferocity. If you want to know what type of experience your going to get from CA:SS? look at Batman: Arkham Asylum . In many respects it borrows a lot , and I mean a lot of not only gameplay elements but general premises. The one thing I will point out is that it doesn’t come anywhere close to Batman: AA quality so you purists can sit back down now.
The interesting thing about CA:SS is that like the more successful movie tie-ins, it creates its own story. It’s something separate from the film but has all the elements from the film to bring in that crowd. A lot of the voice talent and likeness’s from the actors are brought in which does bring another level of credibility to a move tie-in. Going back to my starting statement though, it’s only a tie-in, in as much as it’s just set in the same universe. After having recently seen the movie I can say that playing the game does nothing to add to the experience of watching the movie and I think it works the same the other way round.
Now lets get down to the important parts, combat, controls and a crap ton of random stuff to collect. The combat system again mirrors, heavily the way Batman: AA worked. just not as tight or free flowing. You have a basic attack button, an evade button, a block button (Well Cap does have a shield) and, as you would expect, a button to give you the ability to throw your shield at the bad guys. Whilst the combat does give you the feeling of impact when you make contact it never really flows like it should. It’s very much a case of jump about and mash the attack buttons and eventually you’ll kill all the nasty Hydra (Note I said Hydra not Nazi’s). It does mix things up later on by throwing shielded enemies at you which you have to press the grapple button and then spam a QTE and it also introduces a nice little manoeuvre where you can deflect sniper fire back at the shooter but it never seems like you’re expected to master anything. Sure it all works but never offers much of a challenge.
It’s with this that leads us into the controls and navigation. Now the controls are solid enough, things happen when you press the relevant button which is the least you can expect, but the camera can on occasion take on a mind of its own and work against you. Thankfully it can be easily corrected but it’s just something that is so fundamental to get right it’s a little annoying they haven’t. There’s also instances where you engage in feats of ultimate gymnastic prowess in order to navigate around the play space. Whilst jumping from generic pipe to generic pipe then to a ledge you can press the jump button at the right moment to perform a perfect jump. This allows you to navigate faster but it never really gives an indication as to exactly when you should do this. After a few attempts you do figure it out but it’s very much left to the player.
Finally you have the Collectables, oh boy the collectables. I shall list some of the things that are scattered around the map: dossiers, film reels, enemy schematics, statues, beer steins, ornaments, and finally my favourite ceramic eggs followed by ceramic roosters. Now its little wonder that the Hydra are so easily defeated as highly sensitive documents are bloody everywhere and I mean everywhere. Haven’t they heard of data protection for heaven’s sake? But the Dossiers do fit into the whole scenario and it makes sense to collect these, but I know your asking the question ‘Ceramic Eggs?’. Yeah I said the same thing and I’m putting it down to the notion that good ol’ Steve Rogers must have some overwhelming kleptomania for these ornamental delights.
I’m by no means dumping all over this game, if you like collecting stuff you will love this variety and the number of unlocks are welcome and give way to good background storytelling which can be accessed from the start menu or the start screen. One little thing I did like was that as you progressed you unlocked two alternative costumes for Cap which gave a little bit more to the fans.
Is CA:SS worth your time? I would have to say yes. It’s how much time that is a little disappointing though. I managed to blitz through the campaign in under 6 hours on the standard difficulty, collecting everything and earning myself 1000 Gamerscore in the process. There are a number of challenges that can be completed outside the main game, very much like the challenges found in Batman: Arkham Asylum but I have to admit they weren’t all that challenging. You would really be looking at about 6-7 hours for total 100% completion of this game. I know for some people this is fine, but I was surprised there was no drive to replay the story again.
CA:SS looks great and the player model for Cap looks fantastic but its just not enough for me. I came away a little empty, made better only by the fact that I’ve grown my Gamerscore by 1000G. If you havent played Batman: Arkham Asylum then playing this might not be that bad of an experience, but if you want a great third-person adventure just go and play Batman: Arkham Asylum.
MLG Rating: 5/10
Platform: Xbox 360/ PS3 Release Date: 19/07/2011
Disclosure: Community Manager Discobeaver bought a copy of Captain America: Super Soldier and reviewed it on an Xbox 360. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.