The Bottom Line
- Iron Man is a fun character, and Iron Man 2 was a fun film
- You get to customize and play as both War Machine and Iron Man
- Iron Man 2, the game, has very little to do with Iron Man 2 the movie
- Controlling both War Machine and Iron Man are equally bad experiences
- Iron Man 2: The game is uglier than Whiplash
- Tony Stark is charming in Iron Man 2 the movie, he is downright annoying in the game
- Buy some Iron Man 2 action figures, they play much better than the game
- Publisher: SEGA
- ESRB Rating: Teen
- Genre: 3rd Person Action, Movie tie-in game
- Platforms: Xbox 360, PSP, Wii, DS, PS3
Guide Review - Iron Man 2: The Game Review (PS3)
Really, that should be enough. And that's very,very sad indeed.
There was a time when one could discount games based on movies outright. But recently games based on movies have gotten much better. In fact, upcoming titles, such as the Toy Story 3 video game, look downright fun. Unfortunately Iron Man 2 is not fun. I mean it's funny, in the Troll 2 sort of way, but certainly not fun.
What went wrong? Well, the movie was a ball, and what really makes it is the fun gadgets, the witty dialog, the clever acting, and, to a lesser extent, a fun story. And while games are inherently different from movies, not only does the game not capture these things, it doesn't replace them with say, fun gameplay, or great content.
The gameplay and content are frequently miserable, in fact. While the targeting and controls aren't the worst I've ever seen, they are the worst thus far this year. Targeting lots of small enemies, switching weapons for bigger baddies, and flying can all be done, it's just not much fun to do so. Also, you'll find yourself fumbling to make things happen, but luckily the enemies are both weak and dumb, so there's little consequence to bumping into walls or cycling past the weapon you want while enemies pepper you with, well the damage equivalent of pepper, and nowhere near as spicy as Pepper Potts... ok, that was bad. But in my defense it's in keeping with the Iron Man 2 game.
Graphically I don't know why this wasn't a PS2 game, it wins for some of the worst textures I've seen on a PS3 game to date. It really doesn't help that the ugliest level of them all is the one you start off in, Stark Labs. Fret not, they destroy the level early on so you don't have to cringe at how ugly it is for long.
While the feature set seems good, finishing moves, hacking minigames, etc. They aren't. The hacking minigame consists of pushing one button, the circle, really fast. OK, moderately slow works too. Same is true of the finishing moves, of which there is one canned animation for each enemy.
All the elements are here to make a good action game: combos, minigames, customization, multiple playable characters, but none of it is executed well. Same goes for the art, the music, and the voice acting. The didn't get Robert Downey Junior, Scarlett Johansson, or Gwyneth Paltrow but they did land Don Cheadle and Nick Fury. Unfortunately most of the voice acting is irrelevant. Not only is the writing, very, very bad... the Tony Stark Monologue is priceless, for those of you who haven't seen and Iron Man movies or read the comics or seen the cartoons (why would you then buy this game?) it tries to explain the Iron Man concept in a few easy steps... where were we? Oh yes, bad writing aside, there is voice modulation used whenever the speakers are in the Iron Man or War Machine suits that is so bad that you can hardly understand the dialog.
Honestly, I've played some bad next-gen games, but Iron Man 2 may beat them all.