by Justin Snyder, reviewed on
Hands-on with Captain America
Last month, Hooked Gamers was invited to check out a SEGA event in New York City. They were showing off Thor, which just released, along with July’s Captain America: Super Soldier. Our review of Thor will be live shortly, but, in the meantime, there are some hands-on impressions of Captain America to be had.
In most coverage of Captain America around the gaming world, parallels are drawn to 2009’s Batman: Arkham Asylum. These comparisons are apt, and, despite the desire of every designer to be great and original, Next Level Games should not consider these comparisons a negative thing. From what I’ve seen and played, Captain America is shaping up to be just as good as the Caped Crusader’s last outing. If you can’t wait for Arkham City, you just might want to keep your eye on Captain America: Super Soldier.
Simple but enjoyable combat experience
The gameplay can be broken down to its simple (but not simplistic), smooth combat system, occasional timing-based platforming, and some clever analog-stick minigames. Unlike its cousin, Arkham Asylum, Captain America’s combat system doesn’t focus on combos. Instead, it’s all about the player’s reaction to incoming attacks, in the form of counters, and the target the player chooses to attack otherwise. The Cap’s attacks are all reactive to the enemy state. For example, attacking an enemy who’s already ended up on the ground sets you up for a quick ground takedown.
There’s also a system of specials called Crippling Strikes. As the player executes successful attacks and counters, as well as performing perfectly in platforming sections, they build up energy in a blue meter on the bottom left corner of the screen. The meter is segmented into four parts and, at any point in combat, the player can choose to use one of these filled portions to deal a one-hit KO to an enemy. When one of these Crippling Strikes is performed, the camera zooms in on the hit itself, showing everything in bone-crunching detail. Aside from the Crippling Strikes, the energy in the meter can also be used to “weaponize” enemies. In other words, you can grab an enemy and hold them, using their gun against their comrades.