Captain America for the Nintendo 3DS isn’t necessarily a bad game, it’s just a generic and bland one which serves no purpose and probably shouldn’t exist. Now that Cap’s blockbuster debut has already left theaters and the Blu-Ray’s release isn’t being promoted, this seems like the absolute worst time to release a game starring the overly patriotic hero.
Normally when a mediocre game is released on the 3DS publishers can attempt to justify its existence with a sympathetic “but this time its 3D!” but unfortunately Captain America doesn’t have this luxury. You see, the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions already featured stereoscopic 3D support and they looked a damn sight better than this game does. It also doesn’t help that the HD games were actually pretty good, making this portable version seem even more lacklustre by comparison.
Captain America 3DS also attempts to replicate the Arkham Asylum inspired combat system found in the earlier games but as you’ve probably already guessed, it fails miserably. After experiencing Arkham City’s silky smooth and fluid fighting mechanics, Captain America 3DS feels like a shoddily produced counterfeit. For a majority of the game you’ll simply spam the attack button and press X whenever the symbol appears on screen to counter an incoming attack. Once you’ve defeated the last on-screen enemy the Captain will attempt to wow you with a flashy finisher but again poor execution reigns supreme.
Cap’s all-important shield can be used as a projectile which can target multiple objects or to deflect incoming bullets. Aiming your shield or adjusting the trajectory of deflected bullets with the 3DS’ touch screen feels good although it has one fatal flaw. As it’s almost impossible to interact with the touch screen while keeping the device still, using your shield almost always breaks the 3D effects. For that reason I found myself playing in 2D, which is pretty of ironic since I completed the PS3 game and watched the movie exclusively in 3D.
The game shares the same boring plot as the movie but with all the interesting ‘character development’ parts removed. Red Skull wants to take over the world with an army of super soliders, Captain America who is a super soldier himself doesn’t want Red Skull to take over the world with an army of super soldiers so being the super soldier that he is, he embarks on a one man mission save humanity. Truth be told, unless you’re a huge Captain America fan you probably won’t care why you’re slowly running around punching roomfuls of dudes to death (or um, unconsciousness), you’ll just get on with it hoping there’ll be a rewarding pay off at the end. Spoilers: there isn’t.
But like I said, Captain America 3DS isn’t a bad game. I didn’t hate it, it didn’t frustrate me and let’s be honest, if you plan on buying this then you probably already know what to expect. It just feels like the same movie licenced game that you’ve played dozens of times before. If this was a $5 iPhone release I’d probably tell you to go for it, but there is nothing about this game that even attempts to justify its $40 price tag.