Review: Captain America: Super Soldier (PS3)

Title: Captain America: Super Soldier
Format: Blu-ray Disc
Release Date: July 19, 2011
Publisher: SEGA
Developer: Next Level Games
Price: $49.99
Extras: 3D Compatible

Unlike many other games that appear when the big-budget movie is close to release, Captain America: Super Soldier doesn’t follow the story from the movie at all. Instead it seems that the game takes place as a story within the timeline of the movie that’s wasn’t shown on-screen, and even though it came out at a cheaper price than most PS3 games (even less now, I see it for $38 on Amazon today,) this game is a lot of fun!

If you listen to the podcast, then you know that Josh was able to check this out back in October of 2010 at the NY Comic-Con, and he’s been talking about it ever since. At its core, this is a third person action beat-em-up with light puzzle elements and MANY hidden items to find throughout the locations.

The combat will feel familiar to many, as it’s ripped right out of Batman: Arkham Asylum, right down to the Batarang throwing methods, but this time with his shield. The controls aren’t as tight as Batman’s, but they still work extremely well. The fighting system lets the player chain moves together while effortlessly blocking and countering, including a timing element with the shield, which if performed correctly, will even allow you to bounce projectiles back to their source.

You’ll also encounter some light puzzles, many in the form of door locks that require you to match 2 characters from character jumbles that are controlled by the analog sticks, you just simply match the character that’s present on both sides. The one part of the gameplay that really detracted from the fun-factor though, is the sheer amount of items that can be found and retrieved throughout the game.

As in many games, including Arkham Asylum, items are hidden throughout the game like movie reels, dossiers, briefcases etc. But they really went off the deep end in this game, and if your like Josh and have Game-OCD, you’re going to spend a ton of time looking for everything. I made an effort to do so while I played through the game, and honestly it really took me out of the game.

Also as in Batman: AA, a majority of the game takes place in a single area, but it’s a huge area comprised of a castle, at least 2 towns, and other locations mixed-in. You’ll always have an objective to reach, which for my gameplay style is perfect. There is still ample opportunity to nose-around and even check-out areas of the map that have nothing to do with your current objective.

As long as you don’t have an on-screen timer, you can essentially go wherever you want and take as much time as you want. I will admit too, that in some instances, I honestly didn’t know where to go after a certain point. It was a tad frustrating having to resort to trial-and-error to find the way to my next objective, especially since a map is available with the press of the ‘Select” button on the controller.

All-in-all, even with the “open-world” feel, this is a pretty linear game when you boil it down. You’re not going to complete any objectives out of order or anything like that, and that’s fine with me.One thing that did make me laugh a bit was when I gained access to the Sewers, which gave me shortcuts to other areas on the map (sound familiar?)

The funny part about it though was that I gained this access probably in the first quarter the of the game, so I barely used it. Also, there are moves and powers unlocks as you progress through the game, but I actually didn’t even unlock the last move, and honestly, I only used about half of the powers that I unlocked.

When you pull-off certain moves or evasions, you build-up 4 meters that, when each fills, gives you a special power to use. 3 are selectable when a meter is full, but I used the move activated by holding R1 while hitting Square, which deals a crushing blow to an opponent. Quite frankly, that one was good enough, although the opportunity to “weaponize” a fallen foe came in handy as well, just make sure it’s one of the bigger enemies so the opportunity isn’t wasted.

Even with all of these little complaints, the game is very fun to play. The controls are responsive and tight, and the combat is forgiving. Oh and by the way, they even included a version of the “Detective Vision” from Batman, but you can’t leave it on all the time. To address all of these similarities to Batman: AA though, I must say that they stop with the combat. This isn’t a methodical sneaking and stealth game, it’s pure action from beginning to end.

Let’s get this out of the way first. It supports 3D, which from a visual standpoint looks very good. Unfortunately though, the framerate is not constant and when in 3D, is quite frankly headache-inducing. Even with the framerate inconsistencies though, the game looks great.

The colors are vibrant, lighting is fantastic, and the locations are large and varied. For a supposed 3-year development cycle though, I really wish they could have solidified the framerate throughout. Most of the time it’s quite good, but when the action gets intense, you will see a noticeable slowdown.

Don’t let that turn you away though, it’s more of an annoyance than anything else. The animations and cutscenes are all very well done, and like I said, you’ll really like how they handled the lighting. This isn’t at the level of Batman: AA, but it’s definitely better than average.

Yup, that’s Chris Evans voicing the protagonist, but that’s about it for anyone from the movie making an appearance. Even still, the voice-acting is actually really good. You won’t encounter the Red Skull much at all as this one’s all about chasing Dr. Zola. After thinking about this for a few minutes though, I can’t think of any characters that had a noticeably bad performance.

The audio itself is great. Explosions rock your subwoofer, and the soundtrack is one that I’d love to own. The orchestral music reacts to what’s happening in the game, and is good enough to be noticed in the height of the biggest battle.

I have to admit, I’m surprised that I enjoyed this as much as I did. Josh was actually supposed to be doing this review, but after I started playing the game to grab some screenshots for it, I just kept playing and ended-up finishing, so I guess that says something about it.

The nice thing is that they didn’t follow the corresponding movie, which I think would have been a disaster waiting to happen in the game. The story is fun here, and the gameplay, while somewhat familiar, works, and works well. It’s doing nothing new in terms of graphical effects etc, but that’s ok. What we’re getting is a solid comic book game that’s fun to play, and isn’t that what we’re all really looking for?


Written by Glenn Percival

Glenn Percival

Just a guy that loves games, movies, Golf, Football, and Baseball.

Editor-in-Chief, Video Producer, and whipping-boy

Twitter Digg Delicious Stumbleupon Technorati Facebook