Review: Captain America: Super Soldier

3DS Review

"Using the shield is probably the cleverest mechanic of the game. It can be thrown straight to stun enemies with the Y button, or the player can aim at multiple targets in a "focus" mode..."

Captain America. A superhero created to represent the American effort against the Axis powers in World War II. Yet somehow, all these years later he is still as popular as ever. Captain America: Super Soldier is loosely based on this summer's blockbuster The First Avenger, but unlike many movie tie-ins, does not limit itself by following the movie play-by-play. Instead, it follows an original story based around the events depicted in the film.

For those who are unfamiliar with Marvel superheroes, Steve Rogers is Captain America - a genetically enhanced super soldier who in this game is set on destroying the secret weapons being developed by HYDRA, a terrorist organisation led by the Red Skull within their German castle base. An unremarkable story, but it is presented well, with the cast of the film, including Chris Evans, reprising their roles as voice actors for the game.

Captain America: Super Soldier 3DSDevelopers High Voltage Software, most famous for their Conduit series, have packed the adventure full with cheesy American bravado, as one may expect from a Captain America game, but the faux-German accents do get tedious after a while. The story is played out through cut scenes as well as announcements through the castle's PA system that the Captain can stop with a simple throw of his shield towards the speakers, which I thought was a neat touch.

The gameplay is fun, but on the whole, unexciting. As you make your way through the game you will realise that it basically comes down to three different types of play - combat, platforming and puzzles.

Combat is satisfying, but ultimately quite limited. You will be faced by hordes of brainwashed soldiers, who you can dispose of using either physical force or the famous Captain America shield. The A button deals with punches and the X button is for counters. Fighting works on a combo system, reminiscent of Batman: Arkham Asylum, with the player gaining more experience points the longer they manage to string together their punches. Most enemies will be easily defeated by bashing a combination of attack and counter, but the animation of the fights is enjoyable to watch and it is always nice to see the Captain lay down a finishing move on an enemy with a flash of red, white and blue.

Captain America: Super Soldier 3DSUsing the shield is probably the cleverest mechanic of the game. It can be thrown straight to stun enemies with the Y button, or the player can aim at multiple targets in a "focus" mode with the L button or by dragging and aiming the shield in the centre of the lower screen. The shield can also be used to deflect enemy bullets and plasma beams using the lower screen, which is surprisingly rewarding.

The platforming is where this game disappointed me. While the captain moves smoothly and with grace, all jumps outside of combat are pre-programmed and only require the player to press the jump button in the right place or at the correct time. Puzzles usually require the player to press all switches/destroy all turrets in a room, which doesn't sound too exciting but does provide some variety and a welcome change of pace to the repetitive combat.

Super Soldier consists of nine considerably lengthy levels; it'll take around six or seven hours to complete the story on the easiest settings. However, within each level are "Zola challenges", which ask the player to collect tokens, destroy targets with the shield or defeat enemies within a set time limit. Completing these challenges, along with destroying Red Skull Bombs and freeing prisoners of war found in each level, unlocks concept art for the player to view from the menu screen, giving perfectionists an incentive to go back to scour the castle for any goodies they may have missed.

Experience points, gained from these challenges and by defeating enemies, allow you to upgrade the Captain's combat skills, his shield, and his life and focus bars.

Captain America: Super Soldier 3DSThe visuals of the game are quite impressive for a 3DS title. They have a cartoon-ish charm but are nothing too spectacular. The 3D effect works well to add a bit of depth and it isn't affected by much blur. The environments are well made and the special effects look nice - if anything the weakest aspect graphically is the detail of some of the character models, although the Captain and other major characters are generally of a good standard.

Camera angles can also be a massive pain. While the player has a degree of control using the D Pad, moving through enclosed environments often leads to the camera being in an undesirable position and you end up fighting enemies you can't see or mistiming a jump.

Super Soldier also suffers from occasional slowdown when there are a large number of enemies or lots of explosions on screen. This is probably due to the fact that the only loading screens are between levels, so effectively the game is being generated as you play it.

When playing through Captain America: Super Soldier, I never felt like it was a bad game, but it did little to make me want to play through it a second time to get the collectables I missed first time around. It does get repetitive, the platforming element could have been a whole lot better and the patriotism is annoying, but the presentation and story endears you to push through to the end. The boss battles are grand and probably the most imaginative part of the game. In particular, the final boss made me feel like I was playing a superhero version of Zelda or Prince of Persia, which can only be a good thing.

Overall, it is one of the better licensed games you are going to find on 3DS. Ultimately, unless you are a big Marvel fan who loved the film, this game is largely targeted towards a younger audience who will see past the flaws and simply enjoy the well crafted atmosphere and beating up bad guys. But if you are desperate for something to play while you wait for Nintendo's blockbusters, you could do a lot worse than this.

N-Europe Final Verdict

Captain America: Super Soldier is a fun yet forgettable adventure. Only buy if you're a Marvel nut.

  • Gameplay3
  • Playability3
  • Visuals4
  • Audio4
  • Lifespan3
Final Score



Voice cast from the film
Inventive use of shield
Challenging boss battles


Can be repetitive
Bad camera control
Occasional slowdown

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