I took my time with Cap and didn’t rush through the game, although at times I felt like I should just hurry up and finish playing. But it was fun and I kept going along at my casual pace, happy enough to find just about anything around just about any corner. Exploration is pretty easy, just keep your eyes down and look in every nook, corner, room and alley that you find and most of the time you’ll be rewarded with finding a collectible. There are many different types of collectibles, some help you in combat, some unlock video reels, some you have to smash, and some are there just to be collected. All collectibles earn you experience. You can also earn experience by remembering to blow up all of the AA guns you find along the way. You then use that experience to upgrade Steve Roger’s aka Captain America’s abilities, such as hitting additional targets with your shield, or performing a charging attack and other types of combat abilities.
There is a form of platforming in Captain America in that you can leap up to ledges, swing from poles, jump around corners and leap from great distances. But all you have to do is press A to get from one point to another, which removes any risk factor -- something I took for granted as the game went along. The actual challenge in platforming is that if you time pressing A just at the right moment you get increased experience points. By the end of the game, you’ll have the timing down pretty well and can score a 4 times multiplier. So, there’s that.
The game does have nice graphics, but the majority of the game is painted in greys, dull blues, and browns. The only color is in Cap’s shield and tactical vision uses neon orange to highlight items, but that’s the only real contrast in color you’ll find in the game. Nuff said.
The boss fights start off slow, then gradually increase in difficulty as you might expect. But in the last three or so missions, you will find yourself fighting the same bosses multiple times. It can start to feel a bit monotonous. But after you learn their weaknesses and which combination of attack to use against them, the bosses become just a matter of following the same pattern you did with the last one and they suddenly become no more of a problem than a simple grunt. Is that to say the game is easy? Pretty much. I played on the Normal difficulty and didn’t die until about the third mission and that was because I got stuck behind a fence and eventually fell off a cliff (don’t ask).
The campaign’s story centers around Captain America taking down the Hydra headquarters, which is a castle in Germany with an underground bunker, train station, courtyard, tank path, a mansion, the sewers and many other locations. The map is limited in size and you do cover the same areas a few times. It’s fair to ask if the small map was an unfortunate result of a limited storyline. Despite it’s small size, the map can be frustrating to navigate. After awhile the game becomes a maze of twists and turns and long corridors and seeing an open space signifies the start of your next battle. And in the case of the Courtyard, it’s a literal maze. Using the map will give you an idea of where the objective is in relation to where you are, but don’t expect to use the map to actually get you to where you want to go. The map shows outlines of buildings and paths and so forth, but it doesn’t indicate where walls and blocked paths are; you have to figure out to try and aim for where the little blue squares are to find the door to the next area.
This map problem is only an issue in a few parts of the game where you have to run Captain America from Point A to Point B to start the next mission. For 90% of the game is pretty linear and you start the next mission where you ended the last one with limited distance to cover to reach the next objective. The game is pretty wide open though, and if you want to take a detour to go exploring and collect items, you can. Just don’t get lost.
The combat is pretty standard fare but done in a high quality way, kind of a poor man’s Batman. But don’t sell the Cap short, he packs a mighty punch and his shield is a powerful weapon. If you can get in a flow during combat, then taking down the bad guys is only a matter of time. It can feel pretty satisfying to take down a squad of enemy soldiers with barely taking a scratch and unleashing power moves.
In addition to the campaign, Captain America: Super Soldier offers challenges, such as combat, exploring and gymnastics. I’m sure those are fun but after playing the campaign I was ready for something new.
Last but not least, the Achievements rained down from the sky as I played this one. In six hours of gameplay I earned 30 out of 50 Achievements, netting me 480 points. Not bad for a sick day.