Although he's strong, patriotic, and handsome, Captain America is one of those heroes who doesn't get a ton of face time. Even Superman, who is an alien, gets more praise from Americans than Captain America. Thankfully, the Avengers movie is now in the works, and since all of the other Avengers got their special screen time, perhaps now Captain America is finally going to get his break. But with every super hero movie, there's always a special gem of a game to match, and Captain America: Super Soldier 3DS is definitely special, but for all the wrong reasons.
The story is just like any other superhero tale. There's some evil terrorist organization attacking the world and it takes only one super juiced male to stop them - thus giving everyone the lovely happy ending they have always wanted. There's just something missing in the Captain America universe. Batman had his Catwoman, Superman had his Louis Lane, and so on. In this game, there is next to zero romance and zero existence of estrogen whatsoever.
The only girls in the game are really angry terrorists who prefer slicing and dicing you to wining and dining. For some people, romance in video games is low on the hierarchy of needs, but really, there needs to at least be a balance because the story in this Captain America game is rather shallow. Captain's fighting for his country and random male NPCs whose personalities are not fleshed out even in the least bit.
Fighting is simple enough; you can choose to punch your enemies in the face or throw your shield at them. However, if you miss and they have a gun, you have to deal with the consequences. Much of the fighting plays out like another rather popular comic book hero game, only worse. Basically whenever you get into a gang fight, look out for the counter button to appear above their heads so that you can either knock them out or throw them into other enemies terrorists. There's just a real lack of variety and polish.
Sometimes you will find yourself being able to knock an enemy out repeatedly, but if they get up they're back to full health. They will only die if you finish them in certain ways, like hitting them on the floor. This makes some of the smaller boss fights a bit annoying to say the least, but once discovered, this move makes all the difference.
There's also the fact that most of the main bosses have health bars, something that a lot of other games seem to have disbanded over the years. This is all good, until you go up against smaller bosses who take forever to take down no matter how many times you counter. The main bosses are generally fairly easy and follow one set pattern. If they throw a bomb at you, catch it with your shield; if they're coming at you, knock them out. But if they're coming at you and they have a counter button above their head, you can be sure that the next move they make will insta-kill you forcing you to go through the same pattern again.
Along with fighting, there are various challenges set by Zola, one of the game's many villains. At first these challenges are pretty straight forward and easy to understand, but later in the game, the challenges start to get a bit more vague and difficult to really understand what the heck you're actually supposed to achieve. If perhaps the challenges rotated around similar themes and just got progressively harder with each one, it would be a bit easier to transition,. Instead they throw you completely off by adding terms that had not been used in any of the “tutorial” sections of the game. There are also quite a few collectables hidden throughout the game which are relatively easy to find especially when they always shove a question mark in your face when a collectable is nearby. These collectables and challenges offer some replay value, especially if you missed most of it during your first playthrough.
Even though the 3DS is a handheld, the graphical capabilities of this little beast are actually top notch. So why when Captain America: Super Soldier looked semi-decent on the Nintendo Wii, did the developers severely lessen the graphical quality on the 3DS? The NPCs appear severely jagged while the environments are extremely bare and lacking in any real detail. Most of the obstacles stick out like sore thumbs making puzzle solving highly simplistic. The soundtrack does not do much better offering a generic superhero track repeating itself in the background as you pull switches and throw your shield into electric boxes; something you really should not try at home.
It's commendable that High Voltage attempted to create a tailored experience for the 3DS as opposed to just ripping off the console version, but unfortunately Captain America: Super Soldier just doesn't hit the right note. The uninviting story, lacklustre gameplay and downgraded graphics overwhelm everything about the game making it fairly forgettable. Perhaps at some point, Captain America will get another chance in the spotlight as this title would be a very poor note to end on.
|» The gameplay is simplistic enough for the demographic this game is meant for.|
|» The collectibles and challenges hidden throughout offer some nice replay ability.|
|» Platforming isn't too bad.|
|» The environments suffer from repetitive uninteresting backgrounds.|
|» Story isn't the best.|
|» Character renders are significantly lower than the specs for the Wii.|