Iron Man 2 Review
Written : Monday, May 10, 2010
By: Lee Abrahams (GT: jackanape)
This is usually the part of the review where I partake in a bit of enjoyable banter, maybe drop a wise crack about the whole movie tie-in phenomenon. Maybe poke a bit of fun at comic book games. Heck, I could even spend some time wondering how a man in a giant metal suit manages to attract the ladies. Frankly, all of that would be wasted here as it is material that a game of this nature doesn't even deserve.
Blowing stuff up, again and again.
The first Iron Man game had its issues, but at least underneath all of that, there was still a pretty solid - and even challenging at times - game. Rather than building on what came before though, this title is a massive step backwards for the series and seems to have been put together in a matter of weeks. It is almost as if someone said, “Hey, there is a new Iron Man film out next month – shall we make a game?” Unfortunately the answer seems to have been “TOTALLY!” rather than “That would be a shameless cash in” and the results are here for all to see.
The game does not follow the events of the film, but rather seems to be set up afterwards, as Iron Man and his new ally, War Machine, team up to fight off the combined threat of Crimson Dynamo and Ultimo all with a bit of help from SHIELD and Nick Fury. Considering the story was written by a writer from the comics, Matt Fraction, you would expect a lot more, instead it just seems to be one set piece after another with little in the way of coherent plot devices. The Crimson Dynamo aspect especially, seems to have been shoehorned in there just to provide one more boss battle, as otherwise there is no real motivation for him to be involved at all. Considering the amount of quality Iron Man material they could have worked with, it is a real missed opportunity.
Thankfully the game is amazingly short, so much so that you will have probably played Xbox Live Arcade games that have lasted longer. With only eight missions on offer, one of which is the game's introduction and two of the others are just boss fights, it is staggering that this is a full retail game at all. When people hand over their hard earned cash, they are probably expecting a game that lasts more than the three pain filled hours it takes to blitz through this title - though achievement hunters may have to put double that amount in if they want to finish the full one thousand points. With even the longest of levels only taking about twenty minutes, this title really does not have any way of providing value for money.
A battle of dubious electricity.
The game also manages to be almost as broken as the original when it comes to actually playing it. The flight and hover abilities in the first game served a functional purpose, but here there is pretty much no reason to fly anywhere and, even if you do, there is no real sense of speed or control. The alignment of the controls is also poorly managed, as the dodge button is the same as that for activating flight, so if you try and zip out of the way of a missile you may well end up hurtling past your enemy when you did not intend to. Same goes for locking onto your foes, a click of the bumper highlights the nearest enemy and you use the right stick to flick between targets. Great... except for the fact that the right stick also moves the camera, so if you have an enemy behind you and try to face him you will probably end up switching targets at the same time. Not to mention the fact that if you get too close to an airborne foe whilst locked on, the camera will go insane and start shifting continuously making it impossible to know what is happening. When a game cannot even get the basic controls right, then you know that you are in trouble.
Iron Man 2 does however have a plethora of weapons that you can assign, customize and use to take the edge of the painful gameplay. You earn points and unlock suits by doing well on missions and these can be spent powering up your arsenal to stupid levels, although the game is easy enough that you probably will not even need to. You can also engage in a bit of fisticuffs if you like, and even unlock advanced combos, but this feature is pretty much useless as you will never feel the need to use melee attacks except for the one part of the game where you are forced to. Why spend five minutes beating on your foes when one missile will do the same job? Regardless, considering the limited number of enemies on offer and the repetitive nature of the missions, it'll soon get old blowing up the same opponents time and again no matter what weapon you use.
Staring down the barrel, or barrels as it may be.
The voice work is decent, but not great, and it is no surprise to see that the vast majority of the films cast passed on the ‘opportunity’ to be in the game as well. It probably didn't help that most of the characters look like cardboard cut outs of the people they should be representing, with the graphics bordering on the abysmal at times. There are also times when you can easily become stuck in the bland scenery and even get killed by enemies when you know for a fact they never hit you, the best example of this is on the last boss whose stomp attack seems to have a screen filling blast radius – annoying when such a move is a one hit kill on higher difficulties. With dubious collision detection, generic foes and ponderous cameras, it all adds up to a real mess.
Ah, the achievements. No need to beat around the bush – achievements are the sole reason anyone would persevere with this game as even Iron Man fans would return it in disgust after one playthrough. The list looks interesting with a number of achievements for missions and level specific challenges, sadly though, you will snag most of them without even trying and unlocking all of the suits and weapons is merely a case of completing the game pretty much. Tough stuff. The real issue are all of the weapons based kills and the fact you have to replay levels with both War Machine and Iron Man - like you had not already suffered enough? Having a bunch of ‘Kill 100 Enemies with... ’ is all well and good, but there are nowhere near enough enemies in the game to let you get them all in one sitting, leading to a major grind-fest. Still, it is still only about six hours for the full 1,000 points, and even My Horse and Me 2 takes longer than that. YOU CAN DO IT!.
Simply put, Iron Man 2 is a sloppy, rushed and insulting game that makes the original title look like Game of the Year. Rather than building on what was decent about the first game, they have just made this one even worse, and borderline unplayable to boot. If you truly must get an Iron Man fix, then rent this game and be glad that you have saved your money for something, scrap that, anything, that would be infinitely superior.
Probably the best thing about the game, and that is not saying much, as some of the dialogue is amusing at times, though cringe worthy at others. The fact that most of the film cast steered clear is a good indication of where this game was heading.
Laughable at times, especially during cutscenes, with boxy main characters, bad lip syncing and generic enemies. Glitchy hit boxes and bland scenery that you can get stuck in don't help either.
The camera and lock on features are poorly implemented, to the point of being broken, and every level is just the same few enemies being killed wholesale with the same few weapons.
A terrible plot coupled with repetitive and simplistic gameplay does not make for a good game. This is the ideal template on how not to make a movie tie-in.
The list actually looks fairly decent at first glance, but do not be fooled, as you will pick up most of the points without any real effort on your part. It is also annoying that, due to the brevity of the game, you will be forced to grind levels over and over to acquire the weapons and special moves achievements. Forcing you to play any part of this game more than once is tantamount to torture.
A rushed, short and appalling game on every level. Even die-hard Iron Man fans should steer well clear of this rubbish. The only reason anyone will play this game is for some easy gamerscore, otherwise, it will be doomed to the bargain bin soon enough.