Captain America: Super Soldier

8.0 Overall Score

Written by on August 16, 2011 in

 

God bless America! We finally have a good superhero video game! Captain America: Super Soldier is the game I’ve been waiting for ever since suffering through games like Spiderman 3, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Iron Man, and many terrible Superman reboots. Captain America is the hero that America and gamers everywhere need and he is here to deliver us from the evil of Hydra.

If you’ve seen the Captain America movie already, then you should be able to jump right into the action without much explanation, but for those of you new to the Cap franchise, let me explain. Captain America is the story of Steve Rogers, a weak man who dreams of aiding his country in the war against the Nazis. While he isn’t physically fit to fight the Nazis, he is chosen to be a subject in an experiment in which a Super Soldier serum is pumped into his body, transforming him into a physically fit hero. The true villains in the movie, as well as in the game, are not Nazis though. A terrorist organization, known as HYDRA, led by Red Skull are the real adversaries and Cap must do everything he can to stop them from taking over the world with their advanced technology.

One of the biggest reasons this game is so “Cap-tastic” is that Captain America is actually voiced by Chris Evans, who portrayed him in the movie! Having the same actor or actress portray a character both in film and in a video game scores major points in my book. You’ll see several other characters from the movie in the game as well, such as actors like Neal McDonough, Sebastian Stan, Hayley Atwell, and J. J. Feild. Captain America: Super Soldier is a fluid game and although it doesn’t follow the movie’s storyline per se’, it still delivers a spectacular experience that shouldn’t be missed. The game begins with Cap aiding troops in the trenches, followed by an epic scene where he jumps out of a plane into the middle of an enemy compound. Cap doesn’t need a parachute though. Instead, he dampens his landing by blasting through the ceiling of the compound and landing on an enemy soldier, making this a big “Holy crap!” moment.

Cap is an acrobat when it comes to navigating levels and dodging from enemies. If Cap needs to get to the roof of a building he can swing on poles, run across beams, and use boxes as spring boards. I loved the way Cap soared through the air with the push of the “A” button. When squaring off against enemies Cap can jump over enemies or roll to evade their attacks. When an enemy is about to strike with a melee attack, a yellow ring will appear around the enemy allowing you to counter their movements. If an enemy is about to shoot you, two lines will come together at the top of the screen. If you time it correctly you can deflect their bullets or energy blasts back at them, making it easy to take out snipers and unreachable foes. Even if you botch the timing, Cap will still block the shot, but it’s through perfect timing that you will dispatch armed foes quickly. You can also grapple enemies and trigger massive damage combos depending on your quickness with pressing buttons as they flash on the screen.

Throughout the story you will go up against a whole army of HYDRA soldiers, as well as some well-known baddies from the Captain America comics including Baron Strucker, Iron Cross, and Madame Hydra. I really enjoyed these boss fights because they added depth to Cap’s story, taking his journey further than just what was shown in the movie. Fighting these villains was difficult, but all my experiences up to these bouts had prepared me for what lied ahead.

Aside from the main story, Cap will spend his time hunting collectibles. This game is a collector’s paradise as there are literally hundreds of collectables ranging from ceramic eggs, to enemy schematics, and even Virginal statues. Some items will yield you extra content like entries in Zemo’s diary, extra costumes, or artwork. Where Cap is hiding all these items on his body, I don’t even want to know. If you don’t feel like collecting, you could always just destroy everything in sight. Explosive barrels and gas tanks are littered throughout the game, as well as AA guns which you can strap explosives to. Destroy all 12 AA guns and you get an achievement too!

What’s refreshing about Cap is the fact that he doesn’t need guns, knives, grenades, or any type of weapon to fight for his country. All Cap needs are his fists and his shield. Cap’s shield works like a charm in the game and nothing is more badass than walking into a room of grunt soldiers, throwing your shield, and watching as it incapacitates each soldier as it bounces from enemy to enemy. This won’t be achieved until halfway through the game though, as you need to upgrade Cap’s abilities using XP. Upgrades include increasing Cap’s damage after counters, allowing his shield to bounce off more enemies with each throw, or giving him the ability to charge through crowds of enemies. Some of the upgrades didn’t come in handy too often, but I stuck to upgrading my shield first since it seemed to come in handy more often than any of my other abilities.

As you defeat enemies you obtain power bars on your special meter. You can then sacrifice power bars to perform “super moves” such as a critical strike, weaponizing an enemy, or Cap’s “Super Soldier” ability. Critical strikes were my favorite part of combat and nothing felt better than bashing a foe’s face in with my shield. The nice thin about critical strikes is that they are unblockable moves that will take down small enemies in one blow, or inflict large chunks of damage on bigger bosses. Weaponizing an enemy can be really handy when you sneak up on a group of enemies. Simply by grabbing an enemy from behind you can use their body as a shield and fire their weapon against the other enemies. This is especially cool when you take over a heavy enemy who has an energy weapon that causes big explosions. Using Super Soldier depletes all your power bars, but is worth it if you are up against an army of enemies. While in Super Soldier mode, Captain America can’t be injured during this time, enemies become slower, and smaller enemies can be instantly knocked out.

Aside from the Campaign mode is a challenge mode where you can play through 10 different challenge levels for medals. Not all of the levels are playable at the beginning, but as you complete the early challenges you will unlock the rest. No two challenge levels are the same and I really enjoyed the variety mixed between each level. One level I was defeating waves of enemies, and in another I was racing through a hedge maze to collect ceramic eggs. Before each level you are told what objectives you must fulfill in order to earn a gold medal. The first 5 challenges shouldn’t give you much of a challenge, but the back half is where the true difficulty rises. There is one level that proved to be a thorn in my side where I had to defeat increasingly difficult waves of enemies in a set time limit, including robot behemoths and Iron Cross whom was just as hard to beat as he was in the campaign.

Captain America: Super Soldier is a rare video game gem. The only problems I really had with it was the repetition and the fact that by the time I had leveled Cap all the way up, enemies no longer posed a challenge. Yes, the bosses near the end of the game were epic and I felt prepared to fight them, but I would have liked to see some new enemies, or go through missions where running into a room and beating everyone up wasn’t the only solution. The story wasn’t as exciting as those in comic books and for a movie tie-in game, there sure wasn’t a lot of Red Skull appearances. I know I wasn’t supposed to defeat him, but I would have at least liked one fight between us. I also felt like some of the upgraded moves, such as the shield charge, were useless and didn’t really have a purpose. Why waste my energy doing lame charge moves when my fists and shield are dangerous weapons already?

For those people out there that are huge comic book nerds like me, and have been waiting for a truly great superhero video game, then Captain America: Super Soldier is a game I couldn’t recommend highly enough. Look for Cap on your home console, out not on Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, Nintendo DS, and 3DS.

A copy of Captain America: Super Soldier was provided to The Married Gamers for the purpose of evaluation and review.

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Author: Loren Nikkel View all posts by
Hardcore Xbox and occasional PC gamer. I love to play multiplayer and co-op games where strategy is key.

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