Iron Man 2

5.0 Overall Score

Written by on May 24, 2010 in

I can forgive the fact that the Iron Man universe in the movies is different from comic book canon.  I can live with that because the movies have been so enjoyable.  I would even applaud the borrowing from comic lore to craft an adventure separate from the movies, with brand new characters to serve as antagonists. New Story.  Different characters.  You’d think this was a good formula for Iron Man 2 from SEGA to serve as an experience that’s not a rehash of what’s shown on the silver screen.  Unfortunately, any creative potential becomes quickly mired in poor writing, consistently flat voice work, mediocre presentation and frustrating controls.

For the most part, I avoid commenting on something as superficial as graphics unless its unusually good or bad enough to detract from the overall experience. Unfortunately, the visuals in Iron Man 2 fall into the latter category. Not only are the textures low res and pixilated, the character models are downright ugly. This isn’t the level of graphical fidelity one would expect from the Xbox 360.  The only decent likeness to the real life actor is, as you would expect, Robert Downey, Jr. With the remainder of the characters, it’s painfully clear that much less care was put into creating them.  In fact, in searching for screenshots for this review, pictures of the characters were very rare, the only exception being the character model for Tony or the Iron Man/War Machine suits.  This isn’t surprising considering the digital versions of Pepper, Rhody, Nick Fury, Black Widow, et al are not worth showcasing.  Poor Don Cheadle is a handsome man in real life.

Regardless, I’m happy to forgive a graphically lackluster game if the gameplay takes up the slack.  To an extent, it does.  Basic combat gets the job done with a simplistic combo system for melee attacks. Guns, homing rockets and signature Iron Man repulsor weapons round out the arsenal.  There’s even a mechanism to upgrade weaponry with points earned after every mission.  This bit of depth teases a glimmer of hope that maybe the game may turn out well.  There are some truly interesting scenarios that take the player from jungle installations to industrial complexes to a flying carrier.  Also, bosses like the Crimson Dynamo are pure comic book fan service that make for memorable encounters.  However, any further hope is dashed when faced with faults going beyond mere cosmetics.

Flying, for instance, lacks a sense of velocity one would expect from a power suit that can travel at supersonic speeds.  In the defense of flight mechanics, any experienced gamer can get used to it.  What is not defensible is the fickle camera.  As long as the player flies a consistent pattern with the enemy right in front, combat is rather enjoyable.  But with target lock-on, the camera focuses onto the nearest enemy and auto-adjusts.  When facing off against multiple enemies, the camera can flip and swerve to nauseating effect.  The last boss battle was especially frustrating for this very reason.

Games based on movies have always been a tough pill to swallow.  With a franchise as big and as storied as Iron Man, it’s hard not to get caught up in the excitement of being able to play as him in that fictional world.  At its core, Iron Man 2 is a decent action game that pays very liberal homage to its comic roots.  Despite a welcome departure from the movie plot, the game loses core qualities that make a game great.  For this, Iron Man 2  earns the same verdict leveled at other movie-to-game endeavors:  abject mediocrity.

A copy of Iron Man 2 was provided to The Married Gamers for the purposes of review and evaluation.

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Author: John Catuira View all posts by

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