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Hands On: Captain America: Super Soldier

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A digital Chris Evans isn't as good as the real thing, but I guess it'll have to do. Although from what I saw of SEGA's new Captain America: Super Soldier game, he keeps the uniform on the whole time!

With the Marvel motion picture headed to theaters this summer, SEGA is readying the tie-in games, and I was able to get my hands on a couple of them. And much to my surprise, I actually can't wait for one of them to come out!

The PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions are set in the movie universe with the cast of the film providing likenesses and voicework, but it will have a completely separate story, as penned by noted comic book writer Christos Gage. I watched someone play through the demo, and took over after he got his ass handed to him by a group of Nazi Hydra thugs in weird homemade armor. So I actually only got to enjoy the briefest taste of combat, but what I did play felt really natural and fun and left me wanting more. After that, it became a series of acrobatic platforming feats that were relatively simple to execute. It really was just a matter of hitting A at the right time. Oh, and there were also decoding and bomb exploding mini-games. But with a massive Hyrda base to explore and lots of enemies to fight and tons of crap to collect, it looks like a really solid game so far. Actually, the collecting has me worried about my OCD because I get so obsessive when it comes to that stuff. Even in the demo, I would stop to pick up files and pictures and whatnot. Even knowing it wouldn't matter in the end because it was just a demo and there's nothing to unlock! But at least you'll be able to return to previously explored areas to grab the stuff you missed, which I appreciate, because there's nothing more frustrating than finding out that you missed one of the 100 tchotchkes only to find out it's in the level you can't go back to. Graphics are very nice, and the controls felt really fluid. The best thing I can say about them is that even picking up the demo in the middle with no tutorial, I had little to no trouble figuring out the buttons and kicking some solid ass. Cap also has a tactical sight which you can activate to give you a hint of where to go next. It's also very helpful when trying to platform your way up to a certain location as it will highlight the beam you can grab. It was very easy to get into and fun to play, so this one I'm actually looking forward to when it comes out.

The Wii version follows Gage's same plot as the next-gen titles, but with a kiddie sheen on everything. Not only did they base the look of the characters off the style of the new Avengers cartoon, but when Cap does a cool finishing move on the last enemy in a group, there's a little explosion of red and blue stars like fireworks as he does it! It's very cute. The controls are naturally different, using the Wiimote to aim your shield and even targeting multliple enemies at once. As with the next-gen versions, there's still collectibles, and even POWs to rescue. I can't comment on how this version played because I didn't actually get my hands on it — I just watched someone else play it.

The DS version is a side-scrolling platformer where you move left to right beating up everyone you come across. It's a little distracting that the levels also have depth, because you can't actually move into them, just up, down, left and right. The DS touch screen is used for a radar that activates during stealth sections and to display icons for the items you have yet to collect in that level. It is also used during certain QTE mini-games. I played one which was similar to Elite Beat Agents. The graphics are good, but I found myself feeling disappointed after playing the 3DS for so long. They're 'toony, and it feels like a comic, especially with the still frames during certain cut scenes, but they do have voicework from the movie actors. And again, like all the other games, it's an original story created with Marvel that's just set in the movie universe. There's a lot of running, jumping and beating the crap out of people with your fists and shield. I found it difficult because the levels they would demo for me tended to be later on in the game, so without the training of the earlier levels, I was a little out of my depth.

Captain America: Super Soldier will be out July 19 (a few days before the film) for the PS3, Xbox 360, Wii and DS.

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