Now, the first thing that's cool about Captain America: Super Soldier is that SEGA isn't just rehashing the flick. This is happening in the same World War II universe as the movie, but you won't see these exploits on the big screen and vice versa. I was told that the movie is an origin story, and the game fills in the gap between Cap toying around with his new powers and being the superhero we all know and love. When you pick up the controller, you're going to take Cap into his formative missions against Hydra and other world-threatening bad guys.
A third-person game, Super Soldier puts you in Cap's uniform and unleashes you on the enemy. The level I saw is the same demo that'll be at New York Comic-Con, and really serves as a "this is everything you can do in the game." Here, Cap's infiltrated Arnim Zola's castle. (Zola, of course, is a Nazi scientist in the comics and being played by Toby Jones in the upcoming movie.) Captain America is out in front of the incoming U.S. forces, and for the good guys to get in and stop Zola from sending weapons out, Cap's got to take out some AA guns and mop the floor with some henchmen.
It's definitely early -- the game's pre-alpha -- but watching it in action gave a pretty solid idea of where the title's going. Cap's equipped with strikes, grabs and counters, and of course, his shield is always on his back or arm and ready for a fight. Cap can block hits with it, ricochet bullets back at the folks firing them, or throw it at multiple baddies and watch it ping pong off of their heads.
For most of you reading this, it goes without saying that Captain America can't fly. If you didn't know that, the gist here is that Steve Rogers took some Super-Soldier Serum, had all of his athletic abilities maxed out, and threw on the red, white and blue outfit. That said, Cap uses his enhanced agility to leap and run from area to area. I'm sure that sounds lame, but in the game, it's all sorts of awesome. Cap can leap over enemies that are swinging at him and deliver devastating kidney punches from behind, he can pounce on downed foes and deliver a knockout blow when they're on the ground, and he can even mix in some Prince of Persia-style environment crossing when he wants.
It's easy to roll your eyes when you see Captain America start spinning around a pole that's jetting out of the wall like he's about to take on the Sands of Time, but when the moves chain together fluidly and he glides from one pole to the next and then grabs a vertical pipe with one hand to swing himself to a ledge, it's actually rather slick. Of course, making everything look natural will come down to the player's timing as he or she is making Cap pull off these feats, but that's beside the point.
And all of that is looking past the fact that Cap's mobility means he can kick off walls to deliver massive attacks. Cool.
Still, being able to move like a greased-up gymnast isn't Captain America's only ability. The game also gives you control of his Tactical Vision and Crippling Strike. If Tactical Vision sounds like Batman: Arkham Asylum's Detective Mode, that's because it is – SEGA freely admits this. Although the presentation of how this mode will be presented for players is still being decided, it's basically going to highlight keys objectives (like things you can interact with to move the level forward), point out threats and shed light on the game's oodles of collectables.
When you're fighting, a segmented meter is filling in with energy. Each complete segment represents a Crippling Strike. These are one-move knockouts that slowdown time and get presented to you in cinematic way. The one working during my demo had Cap throwing one devastating punch into the kisser of his foes, which shattered their little mouth guards and sent their ragdoll bodies flying into walls. The devs are looking into Crippling Throws for Cap's shield, but they weren't up and running yet.
aptain America slugged it out with these guys for a while, took out the AA guns, and then made it to a courtyard. Here, the sounds of thunderous footsteps were heard, a door was kicked in, and out stepped a massive robot with a TV screen for a belly. The camera framed the scene from behind the robot so that when the TV kicked on and bathed Cap in green light, we couldn't see who was asking our here if he was "surprised to see me?"
My money's on it being Zola… it is his castle after all.
My demo was brief and the game was far from finished, but Captain America: Super Soldier seems to have a lot going for it. I like the acrobatics, the Crippling Strikes and finally getting to use that shield like I've seen in so many comics. Graphically, the environments seemed a bit empty, but again, it's so early with this one – I'm not even allowed to talk about what Captain America's outfit looked like. Still, I can tell you that the cutscenes are rendered in-engine (i.e. the same character model you're playing as pops up in the in-game movies).
The game's aiming to be released next July.