The lights are on
What new ideas the game brings to the table and how well old ideas are presented.
How good a game looks, taking into account any flaws such as bad collision or pop-up.
Does the game’s music and sound effects get you involved or do they make you resolve to always play with the volume down?
Basically, the controller to human interface. The less you think about the hunk of plastic in your hands, the better the playability.
Flat out, just how fun the game is to play. The most important factor in rating a game.
Unlike most superheroes, Captain America was created in a lab.
Scrawny patriot Steve Rogers was selected to take part in a secret
government project called Operation: Rebirth, a scientific study that
attempted to alter the genetics of everyday men and turn them into super
soldiers. After Steve Rogers’ transformation, a Nazi spy sabotaged the
operation, making Rogers the sole beneficiary of the program. But what
if this spy had acted sooner? What if he had sabotaged the government’s
experiment in the middle of the process? Perhaps the allies would have
ended up with a soldier that functioned a bit like Sega’s movie tie-in: a
brawler capable of getting the job done but far from super.
infiltrating Baron Zemo’s Bavarian castle, Captain America sets off on a
multi-tiered special op to disable the Hydra forces entrenched there,
sabotage German scientist Arnim Zola’s plans to create a master race,
and kick in the Red Skull’s teeth.
Marvel Comics has put its
talent in the writer’s chair for many of the Marvel games released
within the last few years. While this practice sounds noble, the
storytelling needs of a game are different from a comic, and the recent
Thor and Iron Man titles are proof that a comic writer’s talents don’t
always benefit a game. Thankfully, Christos Gage fares better with
Captain America. Super Soldier is filled with many classic video game
tropes, but also rolls out some genuinely dramatic moments that had me
excited to see how Cap was going to save the day.
In terms of
combat capabilities, Captain America is often matched up against DC’s
Batman. Both heroes are examples of men at the peak of human fitness
possessing supreme fighting capabilities. As such, it’s fitting that
Super Soldier’s combat system resembles the one in Batman: Arkham
Asylum. This contextual action system doesn’t respond well to button
mashers, but those who pay attention to their surroundings can
orchestrate many impressive combat sequences. Throwing Cap’s shield to
take out three or more snipers in a row never gets old, and Cap has a
crippling strike meter that he can build up to unleash single-hit
takedowns and room-clearing combos. Cap delivers counterattacks and uses
his shield to ricochet incoming bullets back at his attackers with
effortless grace most of the time, but occasionally an enemy will make
Cap look like a rookie by interrupting a counter.
platforming sequences also highlight Captain America’s physical grace,
but these on-rails segments don’t make players feel as capable. While
Cap is flying through the air, jumping across beams, and swinging from
poles, players perform timed button presses that make Cap move faster
through the jungle gym. Rarely does a player have to worry about missing
a jump or even plotting a course. This straightforward design may have
saved time during development, but it removes any sense of exploration,
accomplishment, or danger from these choreographed action moments.
Cap’s platforming abilities are inoffensive compared to his hacking
skills. Structured to look like Cap is hacking the Nazi’s enigma
machine, these minigames require players to match symbols from a jumbled
web of lettering. They start out boring and quickly turn tedious. The
level design also has its hiccups. Baron Zemo’s castle is a massive
complex for players to traverse, but you end up doing so in a linear
fashion. The few times I had to backtrack, I got lost.
these annoyances, Captain America: Super Soldier is a fun, if sometimes
mindless, action roller coaster. The game doesn’t stray too far from
tried and tested gameplay mechanics, but its lack of creativity
ultimately holds it back, and it lacks one final level of polish needed
Email the author Ben Reeves, or follow on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, and Game Informer.