I’ve avoided video games based on movies like the plague for years now, but when the opportunity to review ‘Captain America: Super Soldier’ came up, I couldn’t resist. The stigma attached to movie tie-ins has been well deserved, however, over the past five years, the quality has improved significantly. They still aren’t the best products in the game market, nor are they the worst. This holds true for CA:SS.
The game drops you immediately into World War II Germany and, as Captain America, you begin fighting Sleepers; Marvel-speak for combat enhanced Nazi storm troopers backed by the terrorist organization Hydra. Since this title comes out just days before the Captain America movie, I was hoping to face off against one of Marvel Comics’ best villains, The Red Skull. Sadly, he only makes a glorified cameo. Instead, you are pitted against R.S.’s lackey, Arnim Zola, Mad Scientist Supreme, a Hydra-backed biochemist. The player is sent to his castle, high in the Bavarian mountains, to do whatever he can to disrupt the Third Reich’s attempt at world domination.
There is barely a learning curve to be seen here. An overabundance of on screen prompting makes the player feel like he is being talked down to, as if he had never picked up a controller before. This takes a ton of fun out of it, reducing the title to a generic button-masher. The dearth of enemies is astounding, as is their intelligence. Sparsely spaced packs of castle guards are easily dispatched with a few combo moves. Enjoyable at first, disabling enemies by throwing Cap’s legendary shield is fun but the lack of moves gets monotonous quickly. Punching, holding, somersaulting, and shield-throwing are all you can do to most baddies. It never occurs to the Captain to pick up an unconscious soldier’s rifle. Unlocking doors involves “solving” a scientific equation, which means finding a common letter or number in two different equations, then laying one over the other until they match. Disabling evil contraptions involves nothing more than taking two wires and holding them close (but not too close!) together until the machines short out.
The graphics are unremarkable and bland. The player spends the entire game exploring the same castle grounds under overcast skies and the palate is full of muted browns and greys.
The soundtrack is generic and a little too loud. Until I lowered it in the options menu, it was hard to hear the dialogue. Actor Chris Evans lends his voice (and likeness) to the game but it just as easily could have been done by anyone. Mark Hamill is the Red Skull, and again, someone else could have read the script and it wouldn’t have taken away from the game.
The most egregious thing of this title was the playtime. Fifty dollars for 6 to 7 hours of content? As far as movie tie-ins are concerned, ‘Captain America: Super Soldier’ isn’t the worst. It’s good enough to rent for an afternoon of fun.