It might have the Iron Man 2 movie poster for the front cover, but this is pretty far removed from the film, with only Iron Man, War Machine and Nick Fury putting in a decent day’s work. At least their movie-counterparts faces and voices have made it in.
The game takes place ‘beyond’ the movie with the Russians stealing some tech from Stark Industries to make their own robot armies and so on. Players have the choice of playing as Iron Man or War Machine which is a nice touch, but the lack of a two-player option feels like a missed opportunity. You can at least change character at the start of each mission.
There’s a decent range of weapon customisation for the two characters. Each can have four weapons including shotguns, rockets, missiles and lasers. Some weapons can only be used by one suit though. Iron Man gets his palm blaster, the Unibeam and a laser. War Machine is arguably better equipped as he gets a minigun which has a terrific rate of fire compared to IM’s painfully slow weapons. There are also different ammo types and performance module enhancements to unlock.
Both fly-boys suffer from targeting issues though. You can lock-on to targets from afar, but you won’t actually do them any damage till you’re much closer and their health bar appears. In an absolute nightmare of a design decision the right stick swaps between lock-on targets and moves the camera. This can be infuriating when you’re in the air surrounded by zippy targets. You’ll have a swarm of almost dead enemies as you try and get your bearings and finish each one off in turn.
Most of the game is spent moving around in hover mode as it’s easier to shoot from here. It’s a shame that the full-flight mode is so dull. It doesn’t feel fast enough and with most of the levels being really small and narrow you never really need to fly far. Spider-Man 2 (the game) managed to win players over with the superb web-swinging around New York and Arkham Asylum did atmosphere and fighting to perfection pleasing gamers everywhere. If flying as Iron Man feels dull, something’s broken.
Melee combat is simple but works well enough, there are even multiple stances to change into which may be better suited to attack single or groups of enemies. Most of the time you’ll be fighting mechs, drones and tanks that at least put up a fight and try to evade your fire. Towards the end of the game though it phases them out with annoying turret weapons that nail you into the ground from miles away.
Missions are generally protecting convoys, blowing up generators or…nope that’s about it actually. The pace of the game starts to gather a little towards the end as you get used to the crappy targeting and you unlock stronger weapons, but then it ends.
It’s shockingly short; you’ll be able to hammer through it in an afternoon. Playing again on a higher difficulty with the weapons and money accumulating from the first play-through will mean you’ll be able to batter some levels in ten minutes. Eight levels for today’s gaming just doesn’t cut it. Nobody wanted yet another open-world type game full of repetitive side-missions but this defines short-changed.
There are some awkward gameplay bugs that’ll test your patience too. On a mission protecting a giant walking tank, it kept getting stuck in a building, as in it became one with it, not as in couldn’t find the exit. Most annoying through was the boss fight with Ultimo, where after wearing down a target on him you need to get to it and press Circle when prompted to tear a chunk of away. It just didn’t work most of the time, with several attempts required before the game responded to the button presses.
The graphics disappoint too. I can forgive the facial animations being a bit stiff, but the Iron Man / War machine suits look more like Saturday night fancy dress than actual pieces of metal. The suits don’t appear to be made of multiple pieces; instead they’re flat with black lines drawn on. They don’t even have a metallic shine to them.
You might play it more than once to mop up a few easy Trophies, which the game desperately showers you with at every opportunity but that’s about all the extra fun you can get out of it. Look through the menus all you want but there’s nothing else hidden away. Not even concept art, which is where the redesign will have to start to give the Iron Man brand the game it deserves.
- War Machine is pretty fun to play as
- Ultimo boss is impressive in scale
- Some decent Hollywood voice talent names
- Really, really short
- Bland graphics
- Flying feels dull
The Short Version: The short nature of the game might be worth your time for a rental, but it’s lacking polish in almost every area which makes this feel like a letdown.
Platforms: Xbox 360 | DS | Wii | PSP | PS3 (Reviewed)
Developer: Sega Studios San Francisco
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