Iron Man and Iron Man 2 haven't inspired much confidence in Sega's ability to make good Marvel games; however, its approach to Captain America: Super Soldier might just have a fighting chance. Why? It takes heavy inspiration from the comic game to beat: Batman Arkham Asylum. While the early, pre-Alpha preview we saw at New York Comic Con felt derivative, there are far worse games to aspire to.
The comparisons between Super Soldier and Rocksteady's brawler will be immediately evident during combat. Like Batman, Captain America isn't a particularly fast fighter. Instead of relying on fast multi-hit combos, you'll perform heavy punches, and use enemies to your advantage. The Captain is quite adept at countering enemies, disarming them, and jumping over them. By timing your dodges correctly, you'll be able to string together various acrobatic moves around enemies, attacking them in context-sensitive ways. You can even throw the Shield, much like Batman would his Batarang. It looks almost entirely like the "FreeFlow" system implemented in Arkham Asylum.
Combat isn't the only more-than-familiar facet of the game. Captain America has access to his very own version of "Detective Mode." Tactical Vision will paint the scene in a blue filter and will highlight important interactive objects throughout the environment. The psuedo cel-shaded look coupled with the color palette make no effort to hide its inspiration -- although developer Next Level Games assures us the current visual implementation is simply placeholder.
As with any action-adventure game, you'll be able to scour the environment for hidden items. We saw the Captain pick up a small trophy-like object hidden behind a grate. Sound familiar? Okay.
It would be unfair not to mention the aspects of the game that feel new and different. Captain America is an acrobat, afterall, and his abilities are put to good use in the platforming parts of the game. He will be able to quickly jump from pole to pole, handgrip to handgrip not unlike Lara Croft or Nathan Drake -- but he does it all with an added sense of flair. He is a superhero, after all. These acrobatic moves factor into the combat as well, with the Captain able to jump kick off of walls to damage enemies. It looks cool, and it's definitely something Bruce Wayne hasn't done.
It's hard to be entirely optimistic about Super Soldier, not only because of Sega's track record, but because of the developer's. Next Level Games' titles have been a mixed bag, with critical hits (Punch-Out! for Wii) and total flops (Transformers: Cybertron Adventures). What we saw at Comic Con was obviously very early, with lackluster visuals and a general lack of polish. Given the game's planned Summer 2011 release, a lot can change. But for now, we have no idea if this will be the next Arkham Asylum ... or the next Iron Man 2.