Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Captain America: Super Soldier

Review: Captain America: Super Soldier

5:00 PM on 07.19.2011 // Nick Chester

Sega doesn't really have the best track record when it comes to its licensed Marvel videogames. Gamers shouldn't be surprised, as these are titles put through the virtual ringer. It's like a game of IP telephone: we're talking legendary comic-book icons paraphrased for film, and then later re-translated for an interactive medium.

The results are rarely pretty. Sega's last attempt, Thor: God of Thunder for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, was an outright tragedy. While attempting to play though it, I oscillated between shouting and uncontrollably sobbing. So when Sega's latest, Captain America: Super Soldier, landed on my desk last week, my stomach literally dropped.

Imagine how shocked I was to find that, while it doesn't do anything original or extraordinary, Captain America is a competent and fun experience from start to finish.

Captain America: Super Soldier (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3)
Developer: Next Level Games
Publisher: Sega
Releasedate: July 19, 2011
Price: $59.99

As you'd expect, the release of Super Soldier is carefully timed to coincide with that of the First Avenger film that releases in the same week. Even so, Super Soldier isn't a film-to-game adaptation, thankfully. Instead, it borrows bits (including character likenesses and design) from the film, while leaning on the comic book source material to flesh out the experience.

Written by veteran comic book writer Christos Gage, Super Soldier finds Captain America romping around a castle, punching HYDRA terrorists and associated mechanical beasts in their HYDRA and mechanical beast faces, respectively. The plot weaves in familiar faces from the comic books and the film, including Red Skull, Arnim Zola, and the viridescent-haired Madame Hydra. Fans will appreciate the nods to the comics, and those looking for a pick-me-up will love the "there's a hero in all of us" message, but it's nothing to write home about. There certainly aren't any real twists, and nothing out of the ordinary or particularly shocking happens.



The shadow of Rocksteady's Batman: Arkham Asylum looms heavy over Super Soldier, and developer Next Level Games cribs many of that game's ideas shamelessly for its own title. Particularly when it comes to combat, Captain America's single-button, timing-based brawling seems inspired heavily by Arkham Asylum. Of course, if you're going to pilfer concepts from other titles, you could do worse than drawing from an industry-wide "Game of the Year" nominee. Super Soldier's combat is simple, yet effective, designed in such a way that Cap can easily dispatch enemies from any angle. The Star-Spangled Avenger flips and rolls around foes with ease, delivering stylish and acrobatic justice with fists, feet, and trusty shield.

Next Level Games doesn't re-write the rules of combat as penciled by Arkham Asylum, and that's mostly fine. The flow of the game's combos looks good on-screen, with Cap's agility a major focus, and a satisfying counter system (which also seems borrowed flagrantly from Arkham Asylum) tying things together. Performing specific moves in combat -- deflecting a bullet with your shield, or countering and dodging attacks -- will build up a special meter that, once full, lets you unleash a single, ferocious slow-motion attack. Their animations seemingly vary at random and from enemy to enemy, each delivered with a gratifying crunch. 

Given that so much of the game is built around this combat system, it's not surprising to learn that after a few hours, you've likely seen it all. There are few combat upgrades to be earned, a total of only six, and I found I didn't even have to use some of them. Battling foes always felt good and was entertaining enough, but it became difficult to ignore the monotony in the final few hours of the adventure.



Super Soldier isn't all combat; there's a sprinkling of platforming and castle exploration to mix things up. In many instances, Captain America must climb, wall-run, swing and hop to reach new areas. Where and when you can do this have all been determined ahead of time -- there are only one or two paths you can take, and the game will highlight where you can climb or swing. As Cap leaps to a pole and swings, tapping the button a second time will cause him to smoothly transition to the next platforming point. If you miss your timing, you won't fall, but your progression won't go nearly as smoothly. Outside of using your "Tactical Sense" to see where to go next, there's no challenge in the platforming to speak of. Timing your button presses to swiftly and fluidly navigate a series of traversable objects can be fulfilling, but ultimately feels a bit empty.

Broken up into 18 chapters, Super Soldier feels like a linear experience unless you choose to deviate from critical story paths. The castle and surrounding areas beg to be explored, with an underground sewer system connecting key areas for quick travel, but the game offers no compelling reason to do so. Outside of the collectibles scattered all over the damned place, that is.

As it turns out, Captain America is somewhat of a kleptomaniac. This guy picks up everything he sees, and he's got a peculiar fondness for ceramic eggs, it seems. And film reels. And dossiers. And beer steins. And whatever else he can get his hands on. Outside of the game's main objective (which is "beat things up until the credits roll"), there are collectible goodies tossed about everywhere. Unless you're into concept art and extra costumes, some of which offer up bonuses beyond changing Captain America's look, there's no real reason to explore every nook and cranny of HYDRA's fortress.



It's regrettable that Super Soldier is technically inconsistent, but not surprising given the likely "get this out the door before the film hits theaters" production mentality. To its credit, I didn't run into any game-breaking bugs or glitches, which is more than can be said about Sega's Thor title. But on the other hand, the game's framerate sometimes dips when simply shifting the in-game camera, and nothing else in the world looks quite as good as the game's detailed hero.

What's so shocking about Super Soldier, despite my various issues, is that it's not entirely awful. In fact, missed opportunities and the reality that it doesn't bring anything fresh to the table aside, I actually had quite a bit of fun. If you're seeking a challenge, look the other way -- on the game's default difficulty, I finished the game in about eight hours and saw fewer than five "game over" screens. But going through the motions, particularly the flashy combat, was certainly enjoyable.

Side note for those into earning Xbox 360 Achievements or PlayStation 3 Trophies: Captain America: Super Soldier is a complete pushover. By the time I had finished the 360 version of the game, I had earned more than 70% of the game's Achievements without even going out of my way to do so. Putting another half an hour into the game's additional one-off challenge modes earned me a handful more. Looking at the rest of the list, almost everything seems like "give me" if you want to put in just a modicum of work.

In a post-Arkham Asylum world, comic book and videogame fans know that they deserve more than sub-standard shovelware carelessly pushed to retail to capitalize on a popular license. Captain America: Super Soldier manages to slightly transcend mediocrity by delivering a solid, yet derivative experience that could have ended in disaster. By no means is it "must-play" summer gaming, and that's pretty much to be expected given that it's based on a "must-see" summer feature. But those looking for an inoffensive third-person weekend romp could do a lot worse.



THE VERDICT

6.5

Captain America: Super Soldier - Reviewed by Nick Chester
Amicable - A presentable but unmemorable time. Focusing on the bright spots helps, and I appreciate the effort, but I won't be playing this repeatedly.

See more reviews or the Destructoid score guide.

Nick Chester, Former Editor-in-Chief (2011)
 Follow Blog + disclosure Tips
Editor-in-Chief @ Destructoid.com nick at destructoid.com  more   |   staff directory



 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding *.disqus.com to your whitelists.

destructoid's previous coverage:
Captain America: Super Soldier


View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:



Please contact Crave Online, thanks!


The meaning of The Witness (Part 3 of 3)

Friday Night Fights: War Never Changes Edition

Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth Review (Vita)

Waifu Wars: Loyalty-Tier

The Wii U's fate is not (entirely) Nintendo's fault

Musings on Firewatch (Spoilers)

My Gaming Landscape [February 9th, 2016]

The sexiest Senran Kagura character has been found!!

Room to Share: Why More People Playing Games Is a Good Thing

OVERWATCH SONG - This World Needs Heroes

 Add your impressions

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

Jinx 01 avatarJinx 01
Sonic the Hedgehog movie coming in 2018... hopefully it's one of those "so bad it's good" movies at least. http://mynintendonews.com/2016/02/10/sonic-the-hedgehog-movie-confirmed-for-2018/
Shinta avatarShinta
Daniel Bloodworth from GameTrailers posted a neat retrospective of his time at the website. http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showpost.php?p=194778459&postcount=3290
Shane Botwin avatarShane Botwin
The internet is so good, gives people without any power in real life a sense of purpose. Such as the Dtoid mod arbitrarily deleting my comments because I dislike the shit they like. "This will show him who's boss here", lol, impotent nerd.
Sr Churros avatarSr Churros
The new artificial Pokémon is my waifu
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
Off to the new job shortly. Dunno if it's something I want long term, but I can't complain about the money. New laptop, phone, and consoles could be weeks away :D
JohnSmith123 avatarJohnSmith123
http://destructivecreations.pl/isdefense/ /Hatred devs really like the controversy I guess.
The Dyslexic Laywer avatarThe Dyslexic Laywer
Is it too late to write about the waifu wars? I don't really have one but there is a female character I have in mind that I want to talk about.
StriderHoang avatarStriderHoang
Bayo has high execution barrier and largely unsafe moveset but Witch Time is a huge saving grace. I bet people are double bitter with Corrin being in the game and being pretty reliable in terms of skillset. Definitely a safer and stronger choice than Bayo
Jed Whitaker avatarJed Whitaker
Streaming some Unravel then perhaps some Firewatch. Don't not come. [url]http://twitch.tv/Jed05[/url]
Agent9 avatarAgent9
Just got my Wind up Ifrit minion. I couldn't sell it, it was too adorable.
Agent9 avatarAgent9
Just got my Wind up Ifrit minion. I couldn't sell it, it was too adorable.
Parismio avatarParismio
I was playing Third Strike on PS3 with my PS4 controller and I tried using the dpad for the first and noticed that it doesnt take corner directional inputs. Is this normal for ps4 controllers on ps3?
Larxinostic avatarLarxinostic
I swear, it makes sense in context..... Kinda. Hmmm. Okay, not so much. [img]http://i.imgur.com/YhIzmYN.png[/img]
Agent9 avatarAgent9
Almost done with my Waifu wars blog. pretty happy with how it turned out.
SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
Time to scream and shout. It's Nanako cosplaying as her big bro! <3
Mike Wallace avatarMike Wallace
Bernie Sanders vs. Donald Trump is like Gandalf the White vs. Handsome Jack.
Sir Shenanigans avatarSir Shenanigans
Skellige is so cool! It's like the land of Valhalla Rising.
Torchman avatarTorchman
http://gonintendo.com/stories/251840-fire-emblem-fates-petting-mini-game-is-in-game-but-only-availa I THOUGHT THIS WAS GONE. MAKE UP YOUR DAMN MINDS PEOPLE
Shinta avatarShinta
God damn, Bernie Sanders is just killing it with this speech. Hitting basically every point. He even used the word "oligarchy." Probably the first time I've ever heard that word uttered on CNN. I think a lot of people in power are shitting their pants
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
In my haste to finally factory reset my tablet, I erased a blog I had worked on. Thankfully, it's fresh in my mind. It's another MGS blog, but it goes the opposite way of my last MGS blog. Pray this guy is not your husbando, for he is shit.
more quickposts


Contest!


Seriously

Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme


Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo



Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -