Anyone who knows me well knows that I was never that big into comic books or things like Marvel and DC, yet here I am reviewing my second super hero game within three months, as well as my third movie-licensed game in as many months. As a slight recap, Thor (Xbox 360) seemed like an okay game, but the cinematics and graphics were sub-par with many other games on the Xbox 360 and the combat just seemed repetitive, hitting the same button over and over, occasionally throwing in Y to end a combo. Using Odin Force was okay, but it occasionally left you open and you were better off just charging the enemy anyway. Transformers: Dark of the Moon (Xbox 360) was a complete 180. It was a fun game, it constantly left me wanting to keep going, it had a pretty good multiplayer (though a few more game modes would have been nice), and you had a few different options on how to play (as a robot, as a vehicle, or in stealth mode, which I used for the most part). On top of that, there were a few stages you played as the Autobots and a few as the Decepticons. Captain America for the Wii is kind of in the middle of those two games. The action is okay, but the combat is mostly
repetitive. There are a few other things to do and pick up, but it pretty much doesn't seem worth it. With that said, let's dive into Captain America: Super Soldier for the Nintendo Wii.
The story of the game (which loosely follows the film) is simple: stop HYDRA. Okay, it goes into a little more depth than that. You begin by saving a couple soldiers that get attacked by HYDRA soldiers and end up taking down a full-armored HYDRA soldier called a Scorcher. After noticing the weapon that the Scorcher was using, he prepares to call Howard Stark. Meanwhile, in communications with Peggy Carter, Captain America learns that Stark analyzed the munitions that he and the other soldiers recovered and explained that they were made from a rare metal. Captain American also learns about Project: Master Man, where Dr. Arnim Zola was the first person to unlock the secrets of the human genome as a step towards a goal for immortality. He also plans to use the blood of the Red Skull in a plot to replicate the work of Abraham Erskine and was given a castle in which to do his experiments, which is heavily guarded by HYDRA soldiers. With that, Captain America sets out to stop Dr. Zola.
The story itself is actually kind of interesting. Granted I'm sure every super-villain would like the ultimate goal of immortality, but this is an interesting way of going about it. As the game starts, the first stage is pretty much a tutorial of how the basic controls work, and they are basic. The A button on the Wii Remote jumps and B attacks, and we'll get into that more in a moment. The D-Pad controls the camera, and that's something else I"ll get to. Yeah, the game is okay, but it does have it's issues. Over on the nunchuck, the control stick moves, Z raises your shield for defense and C throws your shield. Tapping C will just throw the shield wherever you point the Wii Remote, while holding down C goes into Focus Mode. I've seen reviews that say Focus Mode doesn't really work or is "broken". To be honest, it does work...quite well...if you're not in a major hurry that is. Once you hold down C, the camera zooms in on Captain America and the edges of the screen turn blue. At this point, you can aim the Wii Remote and have it lock onto any object with a white star. At first you can only lock onto up to a few targets, but this can be increased, which I'll go more into detail later when I talk about the upgrades. Once you release C, Captain America will throw his shield and hit anything you targeted, including enemies. Hitting enemies will only stun them for a few moments, but is quite useful when you enter a room with multiple soldiers and they haven't spotted you yet. I think the reason why people say that Focus Mode is broken is because as soon as the pointer passes over something that's targetable, it becomes locked onto, so it's hard to really lock onto something you want. Um...how else is it supposed to work? As long as you aim properly, you should do just fine. Plus, if you screw up your aim, all you have to do is press B to cancel. With that said though, if you're in the middle of a firefight or a mob of soldiers are coming towards you, Focus Mode should not be your first priority.
The combat, while better than Thor's, is still somewhat repetitive. A lot of the time you'll be hitting B over and over again to attack a nearby enemy, but you will have another option open to you at times. While you're attacking an enemy, more in the group may come up and try to attack you from behind. When this happens a Z will appear over their head. This is your cue to hit Z on the nunchuck to counter-attack that enemy and get them off your back...which you do by repeatedly hitting B of course. There is one catch to combat though, and it can be a help and a nuisance at the same time. When you go to an enemy and start hitting B, as long as you keep hitting B you continue to attack that enemy until they get knocked down, even if you hold a different direction on the control stick. That's helpful, as it acts like an auto-aim of sorts, but a nuisance when you want to attack a different enemy, such as one firing a gun at you. The best way to switch enemies while attacking one is to just back off and go towards the enemy you want to attack. That's what I like about the counter-attack, though you can't really counter gun-fire...well, at least not by the standard counter-attack. If you enter a room that has soldiers (or turrets for that matter) firing shots at you, you can hold up your shield (Z) and defect those shots anywhere you point the Wii Remote. This will be used to solve some puzzles, but can also be used to take out mobs of enemies, including the gunmen themselves.
At the start, you just have a few basic things you can do, but as you defeat enemies and open crates and other breakable objects, you'll collect white stars that represent experience. After your white experience bar fills up, you can choose from one of three upgrades. These typically upgrade your shield abilities, attacks, or Focus Mode, and you can always choose from three upgrades. For instance, your first three choices are to make your attacks stun enemies after the third hit, increase the number of Focus Mode stars by one, and make your shield pick up health and experience when thrown. As you progress, the upgrades get better and better, such as giving even more Focus Mode stars or getting double experience when defeating enemies after your combo hits nine hits. On average, I've hit about two upgrades per stage, which isn't bad. With the double XP upgrade, that'll really help when you hit big mobs of enemies and can keep a combo going for quite some time, so I recommend you get it as soon as possible (I believe it's the second or third upgrade for the middle option). The multiple Focus Mode stars is also a big help, as you can stun more enemies when entering a room undetected, so I also recommend focusing (no pun intended) on that upgrade. The shield upgrades...well, the first couple aren't that big, so I'd probably get those last...or at least wait until you get the double XP upgrade and have at least five focus stars.
The next thing to talk about are collectibles and challenges. There are three things to "collect", but only one is really a collectible. In each stage there are a few P.O.W.'s to find and rescue. Rescuing each (or rather you give them a pep talk) will unlock some concept art you can look at from the main menus. Concept art is always nice to look at. The next "collectible" are Red Skull bombs. There are ten of these in each stage, and unless you destroy everything at first, you may not know what they are. The first time I saw one in the first stage, I completely avoided it because it wasn't in the direction the navpoint was point in, so I just ignored it (but did think it was a bomb of some sort). A few minutes later I saw another one near some enemies. Thinking it was a bomb, I threw my shield at it and blew it up. It did defeat a few enemies, but then at the bottom I saw "1 of 10 Red Skull bombs destroyed". I stared at that for a moment, then had to double back a good minute to get back to the first one and blow it up. Bottom line, if it can be destroyed, destroy it. The final collectible is actually a collectible. There are a total of eight Zemo's Relics in the game. Collecting one will...give you concept art. However, collecting all eight will unlock a new costume. Joy. Scattered throughout most stages are Zola Challenges. These are basically used to test your skills (and to see if you're purchasing the correct upgrades), and are not required to complete the game (well, none of the collectibles are to be honest), but completing one will unlock...concept...art. Okay, I get that concept art is cool to look at, I'm sure there are other things you could throw in besides a bunch of concept art, as that, in my opinion, hurts replay-ability, which I'll get into in a moment. The challenges can range from taking out a few enemies, to hitting multiple targets, to making many successful counter-attacks. At first, they're not that bad, but once they start getting incredibly tricky, it doesn't seem worth it just to unlock some new concept art.
On the topic of replayability, it's there...to an extent. Once a stage is completed, you can go back through it to pick up any collectibles you missed or complete any Zola Challenges you missed. So far, I've only seen three things you can unlock: concept art, character profiles, or two costumes. Most of the unlockables seem to be concept art, and to be honest, that doesn't really motivate me to find everything. Opening up a harder difficulty, opening up secret areas, a couple new stages, THAT would motivate me to find and collect everything, but concept art? Yeah it's cool, but something different would be nice. The game itself is fun (repetitive B button mashing aside), but once the final stage is done, there's not much motivation to go back and play again, outside of gaining more upgrades or playing on a harder difficulty. However, I wouldn't mind playing again on a harder difficulty if I need something different from time to time, but just to go through it. I wouldn't focus much on actually finding everything, so the replayability would boil down to if I want to play the core game again.
Overall, Captain America: Super Soldier for the Wii is an okay game. While the animation and graphics aren't anything spectacular, I'll typically put that aside if the gameplay is solid. For the most part, it's not bad. My only real complaint about the gameplay is constantly hitting B to attack, with the occasional Z to counter-attack. The shield rarely comes into play in combat unless something's firing at you, but the ability to deflect enemy or turret fire is nice to have, especially when you have two enemies towards the back of the room and you can use their own gunfire to take down the rest of the mob before turning their bullets on themselves. Using the Wii Remote to target objects and enemies in Focus Mode isn't as bad as people make it out to be, just as long as you aren't in combat. If you're fighting enemies, Focus Mode should be the last thing on your mind. I love the upgrade system, as it's much better than Thor's. In Thor, an upgrade typically means you're vulnerable to attacks while charging up a new attack, but in Captain America, it actually makes Cap stronger and give new abilities that help you in fights, not hurt you or leave you open to attacks. I've seen mixed reviews for this game, so much like Knights Contract on the 360, you might want to rent this one before making that final decision to buy it. However, if I had spent $40 on this game, I wouldn't have regretted it, but it does leave a little to be desired at that price.
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