He may be able to save the world, but can he save this game?
Ahhh, movie tie-in games. Such a constant source of disappointment that the entire genre of video games has become a bit of a standing joke. In fact, I can’t even remember the last decent game within this genre. But a lot of the worst ones are emblazoned onto my mind, often waking me from a fitful slumber in the dead of night, screaming.
Iron Man was one of those games, responsible for many nights of lost sleep. It really wan not very good. So here I sit, trying to carefully consider the words that I will use for the new Iron Man 2 game. I am afraid to say that this effort is not much better. Time to break out the tranquilisers.
After the failure of the first Iron Man game, one has to question the sense of allowing the same studio to make a second. Maybe Sega thought that they had learned from the experience. Or maybe they were just hopeful. Either way, the studio responsible, Sega Studios San Francisco, was shut down before the game was even released. That does not bode well, does it?
So, where does Iron Man 2 go wrong? Taking on the role of Iron Man or War Machine, the player works through a story that loosely follows on from that of the movie. Like the first game, there is lots of flying, hovering and running, whilst activating stuff and mostly fighting, either hand to hand or using guns and missiles. Although given some fairly expansive areas in which to play, the objectives are reasonably linear and has the player following an unwavering path.
The game looks alright. It is certainly no break through in gaming visuals, but it is competent. Whilst this is acceptable, one would have expected more. The environments in which you play are not particularly inspiring and the character models look the part, but are nothing special. The cut scenes even seem to be lacking the expected polish.
The games controls seem to be very bunched together and fussy. There is nothing intuitive about the setup, and it makes the player constantly have to think about which button to press, rather than thinking about what is happening on screen. The collision detection is frustrating. I found myself constantly bashing into things that I simply could not see.
There is an auto aim to aid in the combat, but I found even that to be broken, often not targeting what I wanted and instead concentrating on enemies that posed me no threat, whilst I got pounded.
The actual missions themselves offered very little variety and were, frankly, a bit dull. Also lacking in variety were the enemies, with only a couple of interesting characters. The rest were made up mostly of various different types of robot and military hardware. The Marvel universe is filled with such a huge number of interesting enemies, I am sure that they could have found something out there to use, something that would have made the comic fans gasp in awe. But no.
As the player progresses, they will have the opportunity to upgrade their weapons and armour. The problem here is that the menu is so complicated and lacking in any sort of usability that I simply could not be bothered.
On the plus side, The game does offer a good amount of mindless destruction, with plenty of stuff to blow up. As long as the player does not look too deeply, a certain amount of satisfaction can be taken from this. The inclusion of a co-op mode would have been well suited, given the two playable characters. But this is another thing that has been overlooked.
Whilst Iron Man 2 does offer an improvement over the original game, this improvement is only barely noticeable. I have no doubt that the game will sell well, but this is simply riding on the popularity of the movie and, sadly, has nothing to do with the quality of the game. Let’s look forward to the inevitable Iron Man 3 game being developed by a new studio and rebooting the franchise.