Feel this grip, Zemo! It's the grip of a man who loves liberty!
How much people care about Captain America can often be revealed by who they compare him to. He could be a symbol of glorified militant propaganda or of fearless patriotic liberty. On one hand, he could be seen as the template for X-Men's Cyclops, that standard superhero who acts too cool for school, makes do-gooder motivational speeches, and has as interesting a personality as a slab of sheet rock. On the other, he can be seen as among the closest to a Marvel equivalent to Batman, a hero who's at the peak of human perfection with gymnastic athleticism, superb detection skills, and unshakable resilience. Of course, being the professional critic, I'm completely objective (that's what I'm supposed to say, right?) and the truth is that Captain America, the video game at least, is right down the middle.
Captain America: Super Soldier is a movie-based game that's like Batman: Arkhym Asylum… if it was made standard issue and rushed for easy distribution to the masses. After skydiving head first without a parachute into a Hydra compound in the mountainous ranges of Germany, badass
G.I. Joe super soldier Steve Rogers must explore and dismantle the castle's defenses from within. That means knocking out hundreds of Nazi Hydra infantry, Nazi Hydra anti-antillery guns, and Nazi Hydra cyborg experiments because being the master race means that they're cruel and evil and stuff.
Combat showcases Cap's amazing agility, hand-to-hand expertise, and uncanny maneuvers with his shield, which some fans are somewhat miffed about it being the round shield instead of the classic WWII shield. Either way, it's his adamantium shield that allows him to sprint into gunfire, face nine Hydra riflemen at once, and come out alive. Not only can players block punches and reflect bullets with the shield, but they can throw it like a boomerang at multiple targets or explosive barrels from afar and, with enough upgrade intel points, can pummel the shield into the ground for a stun wave as well as what can only be aptly described as a Charging Star. (Thumbs up to Capcom crossover fans!).
If that weren't enough, between dodging attacks with acrobatic skill and countering oncoming melee attacks, Cap can spend sections of his focus meter to perform crippling strikes or grasp an enemy wielding a heavy gun and force him to blast all his friends to smithereens. As a last-ditch effort, he can sacrifice a full focus bar and become a true super soldier to inflict ridiculous amounts of damage on a boss. Since focus restores health and is built quickly by merely dodging moves or flipping through an environment with perfect timing, Cap is rarely without an ace up his sleeve.
That said, the combat suffers from some stiffness between movements and control inputs. Cap is frequently caught performing a multi-hit flurry of punches and kicks while another Hydra soldier blasts him with a gun, without enough time for Cap to dodge or deflect the attack. Oddly, Cap can't run and block, nor move and aim his shield, at the same time. The camera can get shaky in narrow corridors and corners, and the number of enemies is limited at around six types so the action can get predictable at around the halfway mark. It's also easy to abuse the tactical vision, or “detective mode”, to highlight objects and not-so-secret passages.
Beyond a handful of extra challenges, Super Soldier is in essence a ten-hour campaign with straightforward exploration and combat interspersed with simple platforming, unchallenging hacking and sabotaging mini-games, and a strange willy-nilly distribution of collectibles that earn intel points. Maybe the Hydra are extra stupid, but every hallway and corner seems to hide a stack of dossier folders, ceramic eggs, video reels, and other priceless German artifacts that Cap has no trouble stealing or destroying. Is that a pair of angelic courtyard statues that would fetch millions at Sotheby's? No, that's
Nazi Hydra art, I say! Now kill it with patriotism!
Captain America: Super Soldier is respectable as a movie-based title but only slightly above average as an action title. Despite the ease of earning all of the Achievements/Trophies, the $50 retail price is a bit steep for the content when there is no multiplayer and the story, what little there is, isn't worth playing through again. But if hitting a bunch of
Nazis Hydras over the head with one mighty American frying pan sounds like a swell time, Super Soldier will be as a satisfying for you as a slice of lukewarm apple pie.