Iron Man Review
There is never usually any shortage of video games that are tied into a motion picture. There is however a shortage of these games that are actually worth playing, with the vast majority of them being simply atrocious. Is Iron Man a worthy addition to the genre, or simply another shoddy effort? Read on to find out.
Iron Man the video game is very loosely based on the storyline of the latest Marvel film of the same name, and when I say loosely, I mean very loosely, with lots of the games cutscenes showing things that happened completely differently in the movie. Now I understand that in order to make the game more action oriented there would need to have been some changes, but quite frankly I was disappointed that it didn’t follow the movie’s storyline more closely.
Other similarities to the movie include the voice work of some of the actors involved, most notably Robert Downey Jr. who plays Iron Man. While it is great that they decided to use some of the movie’s voice talent, the overall feel is that the actors just weren’t really getting into their role, and so a lot of the lines feel very flat and poorly delivered. Couple this with the rather odd looking character models in the cutscenes and you have a pretty lame excuse of a story, but hey, at least they tried.
The game itself is focused on playing as Iron Man [No brainer -Ed] as he flies around destroying the various different factions of bad guys, who all seem to have near enough the same equipment. Each of the game levels put you into a large battle-zone, and generally tasks you with destroying some objectives, after which you will be given some more objectives to destroy – after which there is often a boss fight. It is a pretty generic formula, and the lack of variety can mean that the gameplay will get repetitive very quickly. Adding a touch of variety to the proceedings is the ability to upgrade your suit with various different thrusters, weapons and shielding between the missions. To upgrade your suit you will need money, which is earned by completing objectives in the missions. Each section of your suit has multiple levels of upgrades, with each level having a few different upgrades which can be applied. Don’t like using your repulsor cannons? Try replacing them with gatling repulsors instead. Switching out your equipment can be fun, but I would have loved to have seen more customisation added.
Aside from the story missions, players can take on swarms of enemies in the One Man Army game mode, with more levels being unlocked as the player progresses through the story. Completing each map will unlock new Iron Man suits which can then be used in One Many Army, or when replaying previous story missions in the Mission Archive. These different suits have slightly different stats, but I didn’t really feel much difference when using them. It is quite cool, however, to see some of the different Iron Man suits from the various story arcs – fans of Iron Man will likely lap this up.
For all that the game does wrong, the controls are one thing that are really well done, as I found them easy to get to grips with, and they made controlling Iron Man a breeze. After no time at all I was hovering around shooting my repulsor cannons and punching people in the face with ease, while dodging incoming missiles. There is simply a great feeling when you are zipping around mountains blowing up everything in sight without having to fight the controls at all.
Another cool thing about the game is the ability to grapple the various enemies and unleash your destruction on them. Grappling an enemy is as simple as going up to them and tapping the circle button (or holding it if you are on foot). Once you have got hold of an enemy, you can do different things depending on what vehicle you have grabbed. If you have grabbed a helicopter, than you can mash the circle button to rip the tail straight off, sending what’s left of the helicopter smashing to the ground. If it’s an AA rocket unit that you grab then you actually have the ability to turn it’s turret, aim it, and then unleash it’s payload onto whatever you may have in your sights. It’s not just vehicles that you can grab either. If you see a missile coming towards you, if you time it right, then you can actually grab the missile, and launch it straight back at whatever it was that just launched it at you. The whole grappling system is just great fun, although it does eventually wear out its appeal. However, no matter how many times I did it there was still something incredibly satisfying about grabbing a plane in mid air, aiming it down towards a group of men below, and then throwing it at them and watching as the destruction unfolded.
Not everything in the game works as well as this. Boss fights at times are just downright broken, as are quite a few elements of the game. To give you an example, one of the early missions has you facing off with a rather nasty helicopter gunship at the end of a mission. In this boss fight the helicopter actually spent a good couple of minutes just ramming itself into a building. The difficulty level in the game is also somewhat broken, with the difficulty level jumping all over the place throughout the game. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t dislike difficult games, I simply dislike games that don’t have a consistent difficulty level or learning curve in them. There are numerous other issues like this throughout the game.
Graphically the game has some high and low points. The graphics on Iron Man are quite impressive, with nice attention to detail. The environments themselves don’t hold up so well, particularly when you get up close to them, at which point the textures look horrible and muddy. The enemy units sit on the middle ground, looking fairly nice, but still quite basic for what the PS3 can do. The character models in the cutscenes don’t tend to look much like their real life counterparts in the movie, and the animation on them is stiff and robotic.
On the audio side, the game feels very generic, with bog standard explosion sound effects that you have heard hundreds of times over. The music does it’s job, but is certainly nothing to write home about. Finally, the voiceovers during the missions are just plain awful, with the lines being delivered with no feeling or emotion, and so after the first couple of missions you will likely be using the on screen text to learn about your next objective, rather than bother listening to the characters drivel on.
Whilst the game has some nice features in it, the overall gameplay is far too repetitive and boring. With this being a movie tie-in it is likely that the game was rushed in order to meet the movie release date, and that’s a real shame because the game has some potential. As it is however, if you’re looking for a quick action fix it may be worth a rental, particularly if you are Iron Man fan.