[The European cover looked way cooler!]
SEGA has been swearing up and down that Iron Man 2 will not be crappy like the first game was. Did they deliver on their promise or was it a ton of PR lies?
First of all, I actually thought the story in the game would have been great since it was not going to be based off the movie, but its own story. So it really isn’t a movie game, it is its own game in the Iron Man universe. When I read Matt Fractions, writer for The Invincible Iron Man was going to do the story for the Video Game, I really thought that SEGA was on the right track. Not to mention, they have had Batman: Arkham Asylum to show them how you make a good super hero game.
Regardless of all the right moves, the game fails in the story department. The dialog is very uninspiring, not to mention it is very rare for the characters to actually seem like their on screen persona. Not to mention that the story is very toss away. The story gets pretty generic, with Russians taking hold of Iron Man technology via a mole. So during the first 7 missions, you basically either have to destroy a ton of enemies or protect something from a ton of enemies. In the end, its all about shooting tons of rockets and bullets into machines.
The last mission, 8th, is you facing off against a giant robot in a Sonic 06 type of face off. You know, where you use more than one character to take him down? Not very interesting at all.
Graphics and effects…
When I first booted up the game, they showed War Machine and Iron Man in the “press start” menu. Already disappointing, the models look very blurry and I thought that was what the game was going to be, blurry. I was wrong, the textures in cutscenes and in game are horrible. They are just easier to notice in cutscenes, due to being up close. Some of the textures seem to be straight out of an Nintendo 64 game. I have no idea how this stuff got the pass to be in a game. But it did.
When you produce a game that is going to have a ton of shooting, you’d think that they would focus on having some awesome explosions. Well, not this game. That would have actually been awesome. Instead we have some last generation explosions, lighting. No effects in the game are current generation. There are some destructible environments though, like buildings and trees. That of course is pretty cool. But does not make up for the bad effects and graphics.
So, having bad graphics doesn’t really break a game, as long as the gameplay is fun and easy, right? Well, the gameplay is very outdated, first of all is the thrust. You tap LB and you ‘speed up’ to avoid getting hit. Simple enough, hold it and you go into flight mode. The issue is that flight mode sometimes it unlocks targets you have locked on to. Not to mention flight mode is not that ‘super fast’ like the films. Not a big deal. The game requires locking on, like I said before, you can move lock on targets with the left stick. This works fine, just not very fun to just lock on targets and shoot. Which let’s be honest, is 95% of the game.
In the game, the controls are not really broken. The game does give you choices of using 2 weapons. It changes depending on if you play as War Machine or Iron Man. You use the LT and RT to shoot them. You also have a power up (Iron Man won’t be able to take damage, War Machine gets more fire power) in the game, you just hold down in the d-pad. The power can only be used once per stage, so use it wisely. What is broken in the game though, is the camera system and in some boss battles, the flight controls. Like in the last battle, you have to break open some hatches on the enemy with War Machine; after you shoot them enough you have to go up to them and press B. The issue is that it took me like 4 minutes of flying near it to actually get it to let me to ‘pull it open’, I had to wait for the bad guy to do some weird animation. What is the point of being War Machine or Iron Man when you ‘can’t fly anywhere’ ?
The controls work fine, not magically or amazingly. It is just too bad that the game is designed to work against the controls. The game deploys a lock on system for one on one fighting, you can also lock on to more enemies with some weapons. All well and good, the issue in the end of the day is that the lock on to more than on enemy is just for enemies near the enemy you locked on to (you have to hold down LT or RT depending on where the weapon is). In the game, they have respawning enemies all around you , this becomes increasingly frustrating, especially in missions where you have to protect something.
The cutscenes in the game are awkward, the dialogue that runs back and forth moves fast sometimes and it reminds you of an old episode of Astro Boy (or that show Gilmore Girls). Even with that, the lines don’t always seem to be in character, they seem like someone that knows nothing about Iron Man and the movie characters wrote them. Regardless about the bad script and directing, SEGA did shell out cash to get the actors from Iron Man 2 the movie to come in and voice the characters. They did an adequate job.
If you play the game on normal, the game will take less than 3 hours to complete. So where is the replay value? Well, there are weapons, moves, ammo and modules to invent. You get research points for finishing up missions. The upgrades will help you make your weapons more devastating, thus making missions easier. In my first run through, I got enough points to upgrade all the stuff, just needed one module. Not that much replay value I guess. You can also unlock Iron Man suits by scoring well enough in missions. Of course, if you are an achievement hog, there is that to go back and get. I won’t count achievements in the game as replay value, because it is mandatory to have them, so I would rate replay value very low since you can get all the upgrades in about 3 hours.
The game is short, does not really help that most of the missions are repetitive and boring. So you basically have a 3 hour game with a boring story, bad camera, badly written script, and bad level design. If that intrigues you to purchase the game for full price, then go right ahead. If you are dying to play a game that features a human in a suit fighting robots, I suggest you wait for VANQUISH.
+ Movie cast lends their voices
+ Not based on the movie
+ Unlocking old school Iron Man suits
+ Upgrading your weapons
– Bad camera
– Bad level design, objectives
– Under 3 hours to complete (in normal)
– Bad script, story
– Bad graphics