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Captain America: Super Soldier Review


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On 07/30/2011 at 09:49 PM by Matt R

Our star-spangled superhero's voice actor is the best part about it.
RECOMMENDATION:

For those ten and under, the 10- to 45-minute levels will be just right. It's rated T for violence but it's clean, E-rated material.

When I read Nick's review for the Xbox 360 version of this game, I wept on the inside, knowing that my review copy was already on its way.

From his take, it sounded like Thor: God of Thunder swapped superheroes and left the same mind-meltingly repetitive beat-em-up gameplay that made me want to hang myself by my own nunchuk cable. Though it advertises that game on the back of its 2-page manual, Captain America: Super Soldier Wii is a lot different; it's a bland, slightly above-average action/brawler with some attempt at puzzles and auto-platforming instead.

The Captain pretty much starts out from the beginning with punching, deflecting bullets, or throwing his shield at the Nazi HYDRA terrorists as his only attacks. He'll assist the Allied effort and rescue POWs as he makes his way through HYDRA's castle lair, but the majority of time is spent defeating enemies or breaking switches to open the door to the next room, walking around a bend in a corridor (which does a good job of masking load times), and then doing the whole thing over again slightly differently. There are no surprises or skill involved with anything. Unlike Thor, there is not a single attack combo. Attacking a mob of enemies means mashing the attack button until a slow-motion finishing move happens; a button pops up to perform a reversal when a bad guy's about to throw a punch, so some attention is required in addition to patience. The enemies eventually ramp up in numbers and firepower, and by the second half they're joined by mechanized robots with various weaknesses. By sheer numbers (and guns) the game manages to stumble into an occasional challenge.

What would a Nazi-fighting superhero videogame be without puzzles? Unfortunately, the evil High Voltage corporation injected Captain America's puzzles with a stupid serum, rendering them impervious to difficulty. Throwing the shield around like a boomerang at various types of switches is what you're going to get, so you'd better like it. At least the Wii's pointer controls are put to good use: pressing C slows time down and brings the camera behind the Captain's shoulder so that multiple targets can be locked onto, and, thank George Washington, the shield flies and returns very speedily. Other brain teasers include targeting a group of switches in one toss, smashing all control panels in a room, reflecting a laser beam at a receiver, or stepping on a switch so that a control panel can be smashed; there's even one where you break control panels in multiple rooms so that the central room's door will open! Those Nazis and their dastardly electric door control panel ways... does their depravity know no bounds?

The platforming is also a bumper bowling experience; simply looking in the direction of the next platform, I-beam, or ladder, and then jumping when an arrow appears will automatically land it. It looks neat, and some areas are a little maze-like, but no skill or timing is required. To be fair, when the puzzles, platforming, and enemy fights are combined all at once, it does get challenging.

The completely linear design makes all of this moot. Most rooms are just square or rectangular, require some simple action to unlock the door to the next corridor where HYDRA taunts Captain America's efforts over the PA, which leads to the next room which starts the whole thing over again. There's no exploration, and with an arrow pointing the way to go at all times, no chance of getting lost either (though that can be turned off). If the game's practically going to play itself, why does it need me?

There are some slight differences to the 360 version. Here, Captain America can jump (albeit clumsily); there's no "perfect timing" counter or schematics or collectibles, and his shield doesn't ricochet off walls. There are lots of scattered experience stars that enemies and breakable boxes and objects leave behind with which to purchase new attack abilities, but they only make the limited fighting “system” slightly more bearable. Chris Evans' exceptional voice acting also takes it up a notch, but not enough to be worth 5-7 hours of your time.

Review Policy

In our reviews, we'll try not to bore you with minutiae of a game. Instead, we'll outline what makes the game good or bad, and focus on telling you whether or not it is worth your time as opposed to what button makes you jump.

We use a five-star rating system with intervals of .5. Below is an outline of what each score generally means:


All games that receive this score are standout games in their genre. All players should seek a way to play this game. While the score doesn't equate to perfection, it's the best any game could conceivably do.


These are above-average games that most players should consider purchasing. Nearly everyone will enjoy the game and given the proper audience, some may even love these games.


This is our middle-of-the-road ranking. Titles that receive three stars may not make a strong impression on the reviewer in either direction. These games may have some faults and some strong points but they average out to be a modest title that is at least worthy of rental for most.


Games that are awarded two stars are below average titles. Good ideas may be present, but execution is poor and many issues hinder the experience.


Though functional, a game that receives this score has major issues. There are little to no redeeming qualities and should be avoided by nearly all players.


A game that gets this score is fundamentally broken and should be avoided by everyone.


 

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