There’s no two ways about it, the first half of 2011 has been awful for Wii owners. There have been hardly any games at all, let alone many good ones. Of course Nintendo themselves have been far too distracted with the 3DS to worry about Wii, but that doesn’t explain the lack of third party content. The latter half of this year will at least see a few final big titles for Wii owners to look forward to. Anyway, who’d have thought that it would be Nintendo’s old rivals Sega, stepping up to fill the void this summer?
Let me be upfront from the start. I’m not a Marvel or DC comic book lover, in general I think it’s because superheroes don’t grab me too much. So as you can imagine my knowledge of Captain America was quite small before going into the game – but like any good journalist I did some quick research on Wikipedia.
Captain America is the superhero identity of Steve Rogers. Once a normal man that now possesses superhuman strength and agility, thanks to a special super serum. There’s not much else more to say about that except Captain America also carries an indestructible shield, which is pretty snazzy.
Captain America Super Soldier for Wii takes the character back to his roots as a Nazi kicking tough-guy in a fictional adaptation of World War II. The story is simple yet rewarding enough; Red Skull and his Hydra army have taken over the castle owned by Baron Zemo, turning it into a command base and research facility. The first problem is that Hydra are developing devastating new weaponry that could lead the axis forces to an easy victory. The bigger issue is that the Red Skull and his top scientist Arnim Zola, are trying to recreate the special serum that gave Captain America his power – just imagine a whole army of Nazi supersoldiers!
Right that’s the story so what about the game. Well Captain America for Wii is a third person adventure brawler in the same vein as Batman Arkham Asylum. Developers High Voltage are known for trying to get the most out of the humble Nintendo Wii with their Conduit series. Well once again they step up to the plate to provide a sprawling adventure that isn’t far short from what you’d expect on the bigger consoles.
Fundamentally the game plays just like Arkham Asylum, you control the Captain America character and move from room to room solving basic puzzles and clearing the area of bad guys. Of course the puzzles here aren’t going to tax your brain cells too much – generally it only gets as complicated as standing on switches in an a certain order or using your shield to hit targets from afar. Still, Batman has many more gadgets than Mr America, so it’s not surprising that he has to rely on more physical situational challenges rather than have a snazzy high tech solution to everything.
When it comes to clearing a room full of bad guys, Captain America is no slouch. Again just like that caped crusader game previously mentioned – the battle mechanic is a simple two button affair, but it’s still fun as hell. The goons stand around you in a circle and you can leap, slide, punch, kick and throw from baddie to baddie in what feels like a never ending combo. Of course the combo can end if you’re not paying attention, you need to block and counter moves from behind using the Z button whilst you attack with the B button and change direction with the control stick.
Remember that Super Shield? Well it’s not only good for hitting switches in the distance and deflecting bullets, it’s also damn useful to target enemies with. Simply point your Wii Remote at the screen and let the Shield fly right at them with either a flick of the nunchuck or by releasing the C button. This stuns them for a few seconds giving you ample chance to head over to smash their faces in. Each target requires a separate focus slot but these can be increased,. What better time to talk about the upgrade system!
Now of course Captain America isn’t going to get anywhere if he doesn’t learn a few new moves along the way. Every time you defeat an enemy or destroy the numerous amounts of crates that are scattered around, you’ll pickup XP stars. Each of these will slowly fill your experience meter which, when full, lets you choose an upgrade:
- Combat Upgrades give the Captain new moves and bigger bonuses for long attack combos.
- Shield Upgrades make your trusty shield more powerful against baddies as well as the ability to use it for a few extra tricks.
- Cap Upgrades give you extra focus slots and later on, health increases.
Another aspect to the game is the added exploration you’ll perform whilst looking for the secret objectives. These non-essential tasks don’t affect the mission, but if you want to unlock concept art and new suits, you’ll have to explore a bit harder. The easiest secret objective is to destroy all ten bombs hidden in each level. These are generally located behind crates, secret walls and sometimes are found after completing puzzles. Next up comes locating and releasing prisoners that have been locked up in hard to reach areas of the level. Finally is the hunt for Baron Zemo’s treasure, these relics are really hidden well and only the greatest of explorers will find them.
The game lasts between 5 to 8 hours for the first play though. If you decide to start over to get all the extra bits you missed, you’ll benefit from keeping all of the upgrades you learned the first time around – very handy.
Captain America Super Soldier for Wii is a surprisingly good single player adventure that really did beat all my expectations. On the outset you’d think a low budget Wii title designed to cash in on an upcoming movie would be awful, well far from it. The game is hugely inspired by the BAFTA award winning Batman Arkham Asylum. You need to remember that Batman only came out on the PC and High Definition consoles, Wii owners were out of luck. Finally there is a chance to experience that sort of action on Wii and it’s about bloody time.
For those willing to give the game a chance by looking past the low res visuals and playing on the higher difficulty setting will find a really well developed Wii game here. Huge levels, epic combo’s and a few boss fights – heck even Chis Evans; star of the upcoming movie does his own voice acting – so it’s got to be worth a look. A splendid 7 out of 10.
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