Captain America: Super Soldier
A tonic for the troops?
Send in the troops
Enemy troops are largely of the predictable type too, a standard brigade of light (seriously, one punch downs them), medium and heavy varieties.
Admittedly, anything armoured will take a little bit of persuasion to fall down. But as Mr Stars and Stripes can vault over said heavies and so expose their bafflingly unarmoured backsides, this change in troop type is largely cosmetic.
And, once floored, all enemies (other than bosses) can be rendered unconscious anyway by administering the coups de grâce while they lie prone.
Let me pound that helmet for you
Then there’s the attack bar, which slowly charges as Cap despatches yet more cronies with his flurries of tediously slowed down blows or successfully counter-attacks their best shots.
Broken into four sections, the bar works in similar style to a Street Fighter 4 or Mortal Kombat bar where sections can be spent on set moves.
Cap’s ‘crippling strike’ attack for example, which will deck all but the robust evildoer with minimum effort can be yours, as can the ability to grab foes and use their weapons against their own men – fun but not particularly useful given how easily most troopers can be dealt with anyway.
So far, so standard and that’s the theme which recurs throughout. Take the game’s environments, which are predictably made up of overwhelmingly grey and brown interiors or the visuals, which are not only bereft of lustre, but poorly animated too (further damaging the already clunky combat).
Then there’s the quite frankly ludicrous bonus objectives such as collecting dossiers, film reels and even Fabergé eggs – and believe me, those Nazis sure like to leave their secret dossiers and other trinkets scattered about some pretty strange places.
Heading for the bar
Not content with aping Arkham Asylum’s combat, the developers also elected to copy the Dark Knight’s ‘detective mode’ too; pressing up on the D-pad temporarily highlighting significant objects – usually of the sort that Captain America can swing from.
Indeed, Cap swings and climbs with the grace of a gymnast in a series of QTE platforming sections; hitting the action button at the proper moment maintaining his momentum (though don’t despair, missing your timing merely slows him rather than sends him back to the beginning).
Meanwhile, if there’s nothing to climb on, there’s probably a nearby security terminal to hack by matching up like numbers; hardly revolutionary.
Simply put, you know it’s never good news when Amazon (and all good retailers) elect to slash fifty per cent off the suggested retail price of a game before it has so much as shipped.
By conforming to the long established rules of the movie tie-in – rushed, one-dimensional, uninspired and overwhelmingly lacklustre – Next Level Games has at least managed to avoid rocking the boat.
Quite how it managed to go so far wrong – especially given it was clearly designing the title with one eye on Batman’s last outing – is another question but, whether down to budget, time or something else, Steve Rogers’ adventure is one best avoided. ®
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