INTRO: You know, every time I write a video game review based on a movie, I write the same thing. I write about how I'm holding out hope that the game won't simply be a cash-in and that it might have some actual redeemable value about it.
I'm happy to report that this little diatribe will be eliminated from this review, and you'll soon find out why. This movie tie-in has you playing as the titular Captain America, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans' likeness). You're in the mountains of Bavaria, taking on mad scientist Armin Zola. Zola's hell-bent on obtaining Cap's secret; creating his own serum to help create his own army.
The whole idea here is that cap is a little unproven, and some soldiers are skeptical of his abilities. Grab that mighty shield and get ready to take on Hydra because it's clobberin' time! Wait, that's not right..
I'll get it right out there for everyone to snack on- Captain America doesn't suck! It isn't worthless, it isn't a huge mess and it IS fun! Hooray! I should note though, this game is easy. I breezed through it relatively easily on the hardest difficulty, and I'm an average gamer at best. Those looking for a true challenge should look elsewhere.
Ahh, I feel a little refreshed already. Right off the bat, I can tell you that Captain America is not going to blow your socks off and it feels awfully reminiscent of Arkham Asylum. with that being said, if you're going to rip off a superhero game, it might as well be (arguably) the best of all time. It should be noted though that this game doesn't feel totally finished. The graphics clip and I had the game crash on me a few times. There were also a few moments wheer I would get stuck inside the environment and couldn't move. Didn't happen a lot, but happened a few times and that hurts things a bit. Whole package feels somehwhat unpolished.
Gameplay focuses mainly on combat. Much like that game I mentioned earlier, you use one button to fight and create massive combos. You can throw your shield at just about anything (including interactive environmental objects) and a strong attack modifier that will drain some of your 'superhero' meter but cause more damage. As you beat dudes up, you can lead up to your Crippling Strike, which is a slow-mo mega attack that is always enjoyable to deploy. The enemies are varied enough to keep you from getting too bored, which is nice.
If you dig boss battles, there are a fair amount of them too. Unlike the Mega Man style where you have to use a certain technique to beat them, you can actually just wear them down and beat them, which gives the game a sense of balance. I liked this approach and although some battles were tougher than others, felt it lent the game a certain sense of balance.
Combat's pretty good, and it has some pretty classic Captain America mannerisms. When you've got a big group of dudes to blast through, it is pleasureable to blast them with heavy punches and kicks. As you go along, you can of course upgrade your abilities to level up. The shield is fun to use too. Yes, you can bonk it off of several enemies at once. Yes, you can block bullets. In fact, if you're smart about it you can send the bullet right back to your unsuspecting foe. Unfortunately, with your defenses you can only stand in one spot while you shield yourself. Stop your foes, pick up a ton of collectibles (there's a lot of crap laying around in this game) and move on.
There are also moments of platforming, where you time your jumps just right. These are underdeveloped and pretty easy if you mash the right button. They're kind of fun anyway, but very simple. They look cool, but it's really leading you by the hand.
The developers have also tacked on some lame puzzle-esque games, one where you bring wires close together to blow something up and another where you have to get a door code to open a door. Sharpen your thumbs, because you must have deft coordination to solve some of these. Some people might like these additions, I felt like they happened way too often. Sure, they added a bit of variety but it was just too much.
Graphics aren't awesome. Cap himself looks great and moves relatively well and is easily the most detailed character in the game (rightfully so). The rest of the graphics don't fare so well, as the frame rate chugs along and seems to keep dropping throughout the game. This one also sports some bad lighting effects, reminiscent of early 360 games plagued with "bloom". Combat animations are decent, but environments are dull and repetitive.
The sound treatment is pretty mediocre as well. There is some decent voice acting from Chris Evans, but many other voice actors sound sleepy. Music and effects are alright, nothing too thrilling.
This is the foundation of a fun game. The combat is what makes the game enjoyable, but the weak platforming and repetitve puzzles hurt things. I enjoyed playing through this one, but it isn't fantastic. I can unequivocally say that it's the best movie tie-in game I've played in some time because it isn't awful. With that said, it's best left as a rental before dropping full price on it. At its core, this is a satisfying game and if we're lucky maybe we'll get a sequel that improves upon its shortcomings.
Final Score: 6.5/10