Captain America: Super Soldier Wii Review

Publisher – SEGA – Developer – High Voltage Software – Genre – Action – Players – 1 – Age Rating – 12+ – Other console/handheld formats – Xbox 360, PS3, DS, PSP

I’m not denying that there are a number of quality games in the superhero genre, although to many Batman: Arkham Asylum is the true favourite. Wisely, SEGA’s Captain America: Super Soldier takes heavy inspiration from the Dark Knight’s classic, and it’s quite ironic that the game, another superhero title, is the first to properly carry over popular features such as the combat.

There may be a new film just about to hit the big screen, although Captain America: Super Soldier has little in relation to it. Characters are shared and actors reprise their roles, but this is a completely separate story.  Armin Zola is trying to recreate the very same serum that gave Steve “Captain America” Rogers his powers, and you, as the eponymous Captain America, have to stop the mad scientist by venturing to Hydra’s Castle.

The visuals are certainly below the Wii’s best, which is quite a surprise given developer High Voltage Software’s expertise with the Wii – they are the people that have pushed the console with their Conduit games, after all. Don’t get me wrong, they probably had a tight deadline to work with and it’s likeable and colourful enough, but it all is just a bit sparse of detail, and Captain America’s running animations look beyond strange.

Thank Arkham Asylum then that the fighting is so well animated. Indeed, the combat is so similar to Rocksteady’s game that they just couldn’t have gone wrong with it. It’s the rewarding system that made Arkham Asylum such a joy to play, with Captain America getting stronger and more agile as the combo number grows. It’s satisfying and fluid, jumping from one enemy to the next, spinning around, reversing from all directions, and just fighting as heroically as a superhero should.

Captain America’s iconic shield is also of great importance; just as it should be. You can toss it and knock enemies down, even targeting more than one at a time, as well as hit explosive barrels. It’s also possible to defend yourself, deflecting bullets back at enemies, which is as satisfying as it sounds, with Captain America holding the shield in the direction that you are aiming the remote. Finally, the shield will also prove to be a helping hand in some of the puzzle situations, and the character seemingly has a liking for bashing enemies over heads with it during the fighting.

The other portion of the game is the jumping. Captain America’s leaping around is well animated, but it’s shallow and doesn’t pose any challenge to those that may have wanted it. It’s just a shame that, like the fighting, it wasn’t possible to make this a rewarding mixture of hardcore and casual as well. There’s just too much of it within its rather brief five to six hours of play, to not ignore.

For those that like to explore their gaming locations, well you can do so here. The game is largely linear, although hidden away in each level are ten bombs to destroy and three POW’s to rescue, in which you’ll earn experience (with this you can enhance everything from the shield to the fighting) and concept art. But Hydra’s castle can be a bit of a boring place, with its empty corridors and its dull surroundings, so it’s not exactly a gaming world to really get lost and immersed in.

You’ll also come across Zola Challenges in the castle, which are again similar to some of the challenges seen in Arkham Asylum. You may have to achieve a particular combo number, destroy a certain amount of targets with your shield, and throw a target number of enemies and so on. Complete a challenge and this will also earn you experience and unlock concept art.

Captain America: Super Soldier, with its beautiful combat and opposite blandness and shallowness, is a mixed experience. It’s certainly an enjoyable enough title that definitely takes inspiration from the right game, but a few nasty flaws still makes Super Soldier feel like a bit of a lost opportunity. I would recommend you to try before you buy, or at least wait for the inevitable price drop.