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 moderators, 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.

 Add your impressions

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
If someone used the blog reply feature to just divide a somewhat long blog into easier-to-digest chapters that could be consumed at the leisure of readers, would that be kosher?
FlanxLycanth avatarFlanxLycanth
[youtube]https://youtu.be/7bzKWOeSVn4[/youtube]
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
@Barry Kelly It looks like it will get pretty difficult later on. It even has instafail stealth sections according to @Chris Carter #neededanexcuse to #tryouttheatfeature
Barry Kelly avatarBarry Kelly
I hope MGS V manages to have some sort of challenge to it. I just replayed MGS 4 for the first time since release and wow that game just practically plays itself. And that's outside of the long sections it is playing itself!
Agent9 avatarAgent9
Splatfest Decipticons, Let us crush the Autobot menace [img]http://www.tfw2005.com/boards/attachments/transformers-fan-art/27462687d1408744118-3d-tarn-model-tarn-propaganda-copy-01.jpg[/img]
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
Hey, all you Australian/UK/German Pokemon trainers out there! The Shiny Rayquaza event is ending, has just started, or will be starting in a few days (respectively), so be sure to get in on it while the getting is good!
Rad Party God avatarRad Party God
4 days unt... no, wait... 3 days until Sahelanthropus.
Jish K avatarJish K
Greetings. For I am new. And still struggling to get that dang blog header to change.
From Must Git Gud avatarFrom Must Git Gud
MGSV is looking very good so far! Played to 2% completion last night. Pure stealth seems REALLY hard so far. PS3 version runs fine, loading times are OK, no slow downs, draw distance and pop-in are a bit rough. No glitches. Be prepared! Get it on PS4.
Jed Whitaker avatarJed Whitaker
Jealous of all my brethren at PAX Prime. Sad I will miss out on the drinking, orgies and catching the PAX flew. This time next year though, I'll be there! I promise!
SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
Forgot to mention that I celebrated completing Persona 4: Golden by binging on a bunch of totally in-canon doujins. Including, but not limited to, Yu on genderswap't Yosuke. [img]http://i.imgur.com/Ex0MgjW.jpg[/img]
Solar Pony Django avatarSolar Pony Django
If you love Splatoon and Transformers you may want to check theyetee.com today. http://theyetee.com/ Let's just say the shirts are... Splatfest themed. [img]https://www.filepicker.io/api/file/j2AnOnQvRZqustSU45JP[/img]
Zack Furniss avatarZack Furniss
BREAKING: Dtoid is at the IGN Lara Croft Go party. You can hold live snakes because why the fuck not, but one snake is missing...
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
someone help i think i'm writing what is going to be my longest blog yet
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
[url="http://nintendoeverything.com/yacht-club-on-the-shovel-knight-amiibos-origins-nintendo-on-third-party-figures/#more-216265"]Interview with Yacht Club Games that miiiight basically confirm Shovel Knight isn't getting a Nintendo boss/level?[/url]
RexterNathan avatarRexterNathan
Spent most of my day going back and playing Assassin's Creed: Unity. I really quite enjoyed it. It's a good game.
Bardley avatarBardley
Reserved my copy of The Phantom Pain today and my car died on the way back home. Thanks Konami. On the plus side, I got to ride in a tow truck to the auto shop. Felt like an elementary school field trip or something for a few minutes.
Mike Wallace avatarMike Wallace
Humble Bundle End of Summer Sale! Get a free Stealth Inc. 2 maybe? I dunno. Just signal boosting for no particular reason. Maybe 'cause I got a free game? Least I could do. https://www.humblebundle.com/store
GoofierBrute avatarGoofierBrute
I gotta to admit: it feels nice to be able to play a Pokemon game without thinking to myself "oh shit, I got to fill up my Pokedex". It's nice. Oh yeah, and for the record, I'm playing through Soul Silver.
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
I enter the Gamestop. I set a Toad plushie atop a Yoshi plushie. I set Mario to go down on Kirby. I leave the Gamestop.
more quickposts


Contest!


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!



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 -