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Captain America: Super Soldier Review

Steve Butts | 10 Aug 2011 23:00
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The game is like the second half of the movie without the benefit of the extra context to make you care. You meet characters but are never really introduced to them. You take on the big evil organization without ever really understanding what's at stake, either for the individual characters or humanity at large. Sure, you have to rescue some prisoners and blow up power plants, but there's no purpose behind it other than that prisoners need rescuing and power plants need blowing up. The whole time I was playing, I kept asking myself, "Just who am I going to fight at the end of this thing?" When I found out, it was a real surprise. And it's not a good "Luke, I am your father" sort of surprise. It's more like the "I thought this was sugar, but it was really flour" surprise.

It's all the more disappointing because the game doesn't follow the plot of the movie and instead tells the story of an extra mission that might have taken place within the action montage during the second half of the movie. The game makers, free from the by-the-numbers approach required of most movie tie-ins, should have been able to do something more meaningful and original. This is a character who is the embodiment of an entire nation and is engaged in one of history's greatest conflicts against one of history's more despicable villains. Bland enemies and shallow characters tend to undermine the potential of it all. Some of that could surely have been remedied by actually using Nazis as the villains, but I suppose that's more the movie's fault. I mean, what right-thinking person makes a Captain America game that doesn't end with him punching Hitler? In the end, you're left just beating the crap out of wave after wave of generic enemies who don't really seem all that into the idea of world domination.

Even if you can get past the thin context of the story, there are loads of illusion breakers staring you in the face. The opening scene, for instance, has Cap in a plane waiting to jump out and start his mission. Then, when he jumps out, he doesn't have a parachute. He just puts his shield in front of him and crashes through a building. While battling the evil forces of Hydra, Cap finds time to run around collecting useless crap like Ceramic Eggs. Even the useful stuff he has to grab, like research notes and schematics of new weapons, are just strewn across the level. Why Hydra would keep top secret drawings of new weapons on prison cots and sewer grates is more than I can understand. Perhaps the worst offender in terms of tone is the loading screen message that tells you that the Red Skull's name is Johann Schmidt and then informs you that he is no relation to John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt, but that when he goes out, people still tend to shout.

Sigh...

Bottom Line: The combat in Captain America is actually fun but there's no substance to the story and no challenge for the rest of the gameplay.

Recommendation: Get it if you're a Captain America fan of if you just can't wait for Batman: Arkham City. Otherwise, this is a rental.

Steve Butts still wonders how a shield that absorbs kinetic energy can clang so loudly.

This review is based on the Xbox 360 version of the game.

What our review scores mean.

Game: Captain America: Super Soldier
Genre: Action
Developer: Next Level Games
Publisher: Sega
Platform(s): PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, DS, 3DS

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