Sega’s 2008 video game adaptation of the Iron Man movie was poorly received, which is typical for movie games. To some it had redeeming qualities that created a gray area, but for others, it was a more clean cut negative reaction. Does the sequel do a better job with the suit?
The main complaints about the original could be found on the HD consoles. The Xbox 360 and PS3 versions were found to have serious technical faults, frustrating gameplay, repetitive objectives, and horrendous controls. Making matters worse, the original Iron Man didn’t looked mediocre- an unforgivable sin among HD gamers.
The Wii version was met with a much more favorable reaction- going so far as to become a fan-favorite for Iron Man lovers. The graphics were unimpressive, but this is generally a minor issue for Wii owners and their greater focus on gameplay. Many gamers found playing with Iron Man through motion controls was highly satisfying.
The portable versions as well as the PS2 port were all given a sort of ‘shrug’ and a resounding ‘meh’ from gamers and reviewers. The only other major complaint about the original was the lack of multiplayer- a real missed opportunity. Some went so far as to suggest that they would have preferred an altered version of Marvel Ultimate Alliance with four Iron Men running around. Absurd on paper, but absurdly fun in practice.
Now we have a movie sequel and a video game sequel from Sega. This time around Sega declared that it would make the ‘definitive single player Iron Man experience’. That throws multiplayer out the window, which will be a disappointment for many, myself included. Still, a good single player can make up for the lack of multiplayer. Does Iron Man 2 achieve what Sega wanted it to?
Well, the first major disappointment occurs when you hear Iron Man’s voice. The charismatic voice of Robert Downey Jr is nowhere to be found. The new guy is competent, passable really, but it’s such a shame to not have the vocals of the actor from the movie- it hurts the experience overall. War Machine and Nick Fury got their originals, Samuel L Jackson gets kudos for his performance here.
Away from the voice actors, the audio is fantastic. The mood is set by the general music you hear from stage to stage, but the theme song and soundtrack itself are very impressive. Lamb of God’s ‘Hit The Wall’ serves as a great opening song for the game- Sega deserves credit for getting it for Iron Man 2.
Unfortunately, outside of the audio, the game begins to show the typical cracks and blemishes. The missions are still repetitive and range from pitifully easy to frustratingly hard- the consistency just isn’t there. Most objects boil down to ‘watch cut-scene, beat up enemies.’ The AI is better than that of the last game, but it never feels realistic in terms of the tactics it uses- it boils down to just attacking randomly and waiting to die.
The portable versions are even more repetitive, featuring an overall lackluster effort on both the PSP and DS- though the Touch Screen support on the DS improves the gameplay a bit. All are loosely based on the story of Iron Man 2, but deviation is to be expected in order to make a full-fledged game- otherwise you’d only have about an hour of gameplay, if that much. It’s also worth noting that the PS3 version feels more responsive than the 360 version in terms of controls- likely due to the shooter-based Xbox controller.
The game is a graphical improvement over the previous titles, but that isn’t saying much. The HD versions got a decent bump-up, but hardly enough of one to please PS3 and Xbox 360 owners. High Voltage Software, makers of The Conduit and The Grinder and developers of the Wii version, did a great job with improvements to the visuals. Overall, the Wii version comes out on top of it’s HD counterparts thanks to more entertaining controls- though Wii Motion-Plus support would have been nice, it still works nicely.