Iron Man 2 – Review


Review by Will Templeton


I’ve been trying to write a review for the Iron Man 2 game since it launched. I’ve been writing and scrapping paragraphs for weeks, unsatisfied with every single one of them in the end, and I realised why – I was trying to see something that wasn’t there. I was wrestling with myself, trying to convince myself that it wasn’t all bad, that surely it had some redeeming qualities, and then maybe somewhere – God knows where, but somewhere – there was someone that this game was designed for and who would get some enjoyment from it.

Really, though, there isn’t. Even the most die-hard Iron Man fan has another reason to hate the product as a whole – the team that developed this just had no love for the franchise at all, and I’d struggle to even recommend it to a kid who loved the film but didn’t know any better. It’s sloppy from start to finish – while some of the voices from the film are present and welcome, the key part of Robert Downey Jr’s Stark is played by an only passable soundalike, and the models and animations are amateur and wooden.

The key part, though, is that none of the missions give enough feedback as to how you’re affecting the outcome. The fifth time I was flying around with as much purpose as possible trying to defend a poor representation of Scarlett Johansson and failing without and feedback as to why, I lost any and all interest I may have had.

It’s not as if the developers haven’t tried. They’ve at least paid some attention to what the game could have been, by setting it after the movie rather than simply following it to the letter, actually cobbling together a decent story within the world revolving around JARVIS being cloned, and providing a whole slew of fanservice such as battles with the Crimson Dynamo and Ultimo, but in every other respect, the game fails. It controls poorly. The collision detection is wonky, causing you to clip through walls and stumble on doorways. The timing windows to perform certain actions are unforgivably short and unreliable, and the prevalence of quick-time events just serves to underline the lack of any sort of design other than ‘fly around and shoot’. Tony Stark’s technological expertise should never be reduced to hammering the B button for five seconds.

Every single attempt the game has to provide depth is deeply flawed. Each level can be played as Iron Man or War Machine, with a variety of suit and weapon combinations available to suit any particular mission, unlockable through points earned while playing the game. This sounds fantastic on paper, allowing you to tailor a loadout to meet a specific set of enemies. I’d have loved to streak out into the sky with a chaingun and an arsenal of explosives ready to tear my enemies apart. In practice, though, the guns are weak and largely ineffective, and each battle boils down to firing repulsors while waiting for your missile supply to regenerate and hoping that you can dodge the seemingly random barrage of attacks that are sent your way.

To boil it down, Iron Man 2 is frustrating. It fights you every step of the way through everything it has you do, and the most frustrating thing is that it shouldn’t have to be. We’ve seen in the last year by way of several different studios that superhero games tied to movie licences can work, and while they range from the average to the fantastic there’s no need for them to be poor. Iron Man is a character with a unique skillset, Tony Stark is a fascinating and nuanced character, and there’s a great game begging to be made there – but this is so far from it it’s almost impossible to see the light at the end of the tunnel. All I want to do is suit up and jet effortlessly across the desert, but the best I can do is a string of poorly-engineered escort missions that prevent me from unleashing the power in the suit.

Iron Man is about being empowered and taking control, and in this game I feel underpowered and fighting for understanding. It’s not enjoyable in any sense of the word. I can’t recommend it to anyone, at any price.


1 Comment Leave yours

  1. Dlarit #

    I very nearly got a preowned copy yesterday for £12 glad I resisted!

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