When Nuckles87 assigned me to do the hands on for Captain America on Wii during E3, I wasn’t too happy. The game just looked like another washed down, crappy port. I was surprised however, at the level of quality the game had. The game is handled by High Voltage. Mainly the HV team that handled Tournament of Legends (poorly reviewed but I thought it was okay). Now, I bought the PS3 version which I love despite how some may feel (No offense Aki), but after playing and beating the Wii version, does it hold up well or is it just another watered-down Wii port? Read on. Read further down for a Bonus Feature.
GRAPHICS AND SOUND
As expected, the graphics are the weakest part of the Wii version. The polygon count looks pretty low and the developer’s decided to go for a more animated look. The only plus side is the graphics do look sharp and colorful, but High Voltage has pushed the Wii’s graphics boundaries with The Conduit, so why go so weak on this? It makes me wonder if a PS2/PSP game was planned, then dropped. I do appreciate that they at least used the same engine for cutscenes instead of pre-rendered video. That always takes me out of the moment.
The sound is pretty good quality. The soundtrack fits the mood of the game when used and the voice acting is mostly well done and the bosses on the speakers can get humorous at times. I say mostly because the voices of the movie actors used for the game are decent to weak. Chris Evans sounds almost as sleepy as Toby Maguire does in the Spider-Man games. He has to make some rallying speeches at times and he just sounds bored. Game companies, save yourselves some money. Hire REAL voice actors for all the cast because they can emote better than actors who are not used to that kind of environment.
Captain America on Wii plays similar to it’s HD brethren, but has enough differences to make it stand out on it’s own. While it has a similar battle system of fighting groups of soldiers ganging up on you all at once, it doesn’t quite have the same flow. It is easier to pull off counters than the HD game, but you don’t get the cool crippling punches. Instead, you just get a slow-motion manuever and some stars spraying out when knocking out the last guy. You can use an enemy’s weapon against his fellow soldiers but once again, it’s not near as satisfying as the HD version.
Platforming is so simple a newborn wouldn’t have a problem maneuvering around. There are constant indicators of where to go next and most of the time, all you have to do is tap “A”. Even going across beams is a breeze and there’s no balancing to do. Some of the platforming can get a teeny bit trickier in the latter part of the game, but for the most part it’s a disappointing cakewalk.
That said, there are a few things about the Wii version that actually outshine the HD versions. The first is puzzles. I hated the simpleness of the puzzles in the HD version which only required matching two of the same numbers/letters together from a group. Here, they remind me more of the Zelda dungeon puzzles. While most of them are just using your shield to reflect bullets to try and hit a switch, they actually require a tiny bit of thinking. Latter levels require a bit more brainpower.
The shield gameplay is the most fun aspect of the game. Unlike the HD version which cost you your energy bars to target a number of enemies at once, here you can start by targeting up to 3 enemies or objects at any time. The number grows as you level up. When you hold down “C” to target, the game goes into slow motion and you can use your wii remote (or joystick alternatively) to aim and target Panzer Dragoon style. Then, just let go of the button (or swing the nunchuck) to swing your shield. Also, defense becomes very important. Your enemy will often times have guns or bazookas and you will have to hold up your shield to deflect the attack. Using your Wiimote to aim, you can reflect the bullets right back at your enemy. You may have noticed that I mentioned two methods for control. That’s because the game doesn’t require aiming or waggle unless you want it. “Optional Waggle”. That’s something other companies should think of.
Another difference is in the exploring of the environment. In the HD version, you go out of your way to find eggs, portfolios and film reels. The Wii version doesn’t have as much of that, but does have some good incentives. There’s a side story in which your future arch nemesis Baron Zemo agrees to help you if you take out hidden bombs in his castle and help find his treasures. He doesn’t want his place blown up once Hydra’s done with it and you end up with an uneasy truce. Doing these tasks rewards you with unlockables like new costumes and such. The hidden items are easier to find than in the HD versions thanks to a “?” that comes up whenever you’re near a hidden object or wounded soldier.
There’s a fairly different variety of enemies here too. Besides your typical grunts and machine gunners, you get lady ninjas who can’t be countered so you have to use your shield to knock them down, humorous dumb brutes, leaders who enrage other soldiers to attack you more ferociously and large robots who launch mines that attach to your shield. These guys aren’t too tough on their own, but when they throw a crowd of them at you it can get difficult. The rouge’s gallery is the same as the HD version. You get Baron Von Strucker, the awesome Madame Hydra, Arnim Zola (including his silly robot form from the comics), the Iron Cross and the Red Skull. Sadly, you never fight Red Skull as a final boss. He just escapes. Even though they never fought until the end of the movie, it would have been nice to have a huge battle that at least ends with him running away.
The game will only take about 6 hours to beat. That’s including hunting for hidden items. My stint would have been shorter, but I had to repeat one level thanks to a glitch. There’s unlockable costumes and Zola challenges to make you go back to older levels to find all the items, but unless you’re a fetch quest junkie, you’re better off renting it.
Captain America: super Soldier on the Wii is better than your average port. The action and exploration is still a strong motivator to play through. The puzzles and shield play are actually better than the HD versions, but the battle system and sense of dynamic gameplay are not quite as good. Also, the graphics are fairly poor and the game can be beaten in about 6 hours. While I wouldn’t recommend Captain America for the “Core” gamer, it’s a quality game for a kid or big fan of the movie who’s looking to play as the Captain. It makes a good rental, but I wouldn’t recommend purchase outside of $19.99.
– Solid controls
– Better shield gameplay and puzzles
– Rewarding exploration
– Waggle and Wiimote aiming is optional.
– PS2 quality graphics.
– Short campaign with not a lot of replay value.
– Chris Evans phones in his performance.
…………………………………………………………………………Is Aki around? No? Good.
Bonus PS3 Version Mini Review!
Captain America: Super Soldier on PS3 is by far the best game to come out of the Marvel/Sega contract (not a big feat). The game takes most of it’s cues from Batman: Arkham Asylum and if you’re gonna steal from another superhero game, steal from the best. The battle system is so much fun that I constantly look forward to to punching the crap out of the next round of enemies. The incredibly dynamic crippling punches have a great visceral look to them. There’s nothing more satisfying than punching a guy in the face so hard you break his mask. The exploring keeps you playing the game longer while looking for hidden items to unlock extra stuff, but it can be boring at times as you may need to backtrack through the sewers. The graphics look incredible, but at the cost of poor framerate. Also, while the game shares the most fun parts of Batman: AA, Cap is no Batman. His Rouge gallery and atmosphere are very different and full of unknowns. The campaign is at least 8 hours long if you’re exploring and there’s a dozen challenge maps to get gold medals on. With a sewer system to use and trophies to collect, there’s enough reason for replay. At only $50, Captain America is a worthy purchase for fans of the star-spangled man.