July 23, 2011
If you've followed the movie and video games industries side-by-side, you'll have noted that for years, games based on movies have been rather lacklustre. They are often made just to support the big budget Hollywood film and don't receive anywhere near the same treatment or care. And with Captain America: Super Solider releasing at the same time as Captain America: The First Avenger, you'd be forgiven for thinking the same would be true yet again. Fortunately, that's not entirely the case. It still isn't the best of games out there, but it's nowhere near as bad as some other movie tie-ins.
Before we get onto the gameplay though, it's worth noting that Super Solider does feature a unique story. It highlights one of Captain America's many scuffles with Hydra, who're trying to awaken a huge robot called the Sleeper. Some old favourites appear throughout, such as Dum Dum Dugan, Red Skull and Arnim Zola, but the story isn't going to grip you that much - mainly because it ends so quickly.
There are eighteen chapters to play through, but they're all rather short. Each of them lasts around 10-15 minutes and it doesn't give the story enough time to develop. There's still enough time for Cap to save the day, but it seems as though some characters were just shoved in there to make cameos, as opposed to offering anything of real substance to the story - there's just very little for them to actually influence in the grand scheme of things.
Gameplay is very reminiscent of another super hero game from DC Comics which made a huge splash in 2009 - especially with regards to the combat system. When squaring off against foes, you're able to perform striking moves, a throw, a counter or an evasive manoeuvre. This can be upgraded slightly as you progress through the game, with critical strikes and the ability to weaponise enemies becoming available, but its basic functionality almost never changes.
Unlike the game it's mirrored on though, there isn't a whole lot of deviation with regards to the combat system. Cap will always perform the same punch and kick combos and he will always perform the same throws or counters. This can become a little bit annoying when facing enemies that take a bit more punishment, like bosses. It would have been nice if the animations were a little bit more dynamic, or if there were even just two or three more animations for it to choose from.
The game also has an open world approach, with plenty of things to find throughout - they're all marked on the map though. Cap can also turn on his "sense mode", which allows him to see special objects in the surrounding environment, such as pick-ups, or things that can be interacted with. It makes navigating a little bit easier, as you don't have to constantly look at the map to figure out where to go - the level design is pretty decent in this respect.
From the perspective of presentation, everything is very standard. The animations work well, the voice acting works well and the graphics overall are pretty good. There are a few instances where things fall apart a little, but they're only minor niggles here and there.
The game's replay value isn't so great though. As you get towards the end of the game, it's possible to gain access to a sewer system which connects to all of the different places you've visited throughout the game. It allows you to collect all the different items, but this is about as good as it gets. And when you consider that the game only takes about 4-5 hours to complete, it's a bit frustrating.
Captain America: Super Soldier is a game that doesn't push any boundaries, but at the same time, it still manages to be better than other movie tie-ins. Quite a lot of the elements that are featured are just directly lifted from other games of a similar ilk, but it's not necessarily a bad thing - those elements worked really well in their respective games. But when you consider that the game is rather short and that it doesn't ever really develop much, it's probably best to just leave Super Soldier alone.
Captain America: Super Soldier was reviewed on the PS3. You can read more about GamingUnion.net's scoring policy here.