Iron Man is one of those games that is just mediocre in everyway. It’s not broken but instead it’s simply no fun to play. From the mundane level design to the sloppy graphics, Iron Man is playable but no fun at all. It’s almost exactly what we expect from a movie tie-in.
Based on the recent movie release, “Iron Man: The Official Videogame” comes bumbling into stores along with all the other movie merchandise. There are lunch boxes, T-shirts, keyrings and the video game. Like most of the other merchandise, the video game is certainly not value for money. You’re essentially paying for a game which probably would have been “cool” around the time of the PSOne. Nowadays everything about it seems tired and dated.
The game begins in a cave where protagonist Tony Stark drafts out the first concept of his famous Iron Man suit. Being a billionaire weapons developer Stark realises the ugly truth about the world he has created and goes on to use his new suit against the military forces he has supplied. The game follows the movie plot loosely and is tied together by adequate cut-scenes which are voice acted by moviestars Robert Downey Jr. and Terrence Howard. Sadly no other actors from the movie have lent their voices, although, the CGI render of Gwyneth Paltrow does justice to the real thing.
While the cutscenes don’t look breathtaking by any stretch of the imagination, you’ll eventually long for them just to take a break from the washed-out, fuzzy graphics of the main game. Everything here looks grainy, dull and downright lazy. The amount of pop-in is staggering for a game developed on a “next-gen” console and the bland textures don’t help at all. It might even be too much of an accolade to say it looks like an early PS2 game because it’s easy to believe that this could be an N64 game. It looks that bad. Crates and enemies litter the levels but apart from that there are no points of interest. The levels are just barren and dull.
One particular level has you fly through a “sandstorm”. This essentially looks like a semi-transparent layer of brown over the screen. Hey, at least it reduces the draw distance, right?
The game is divided up into a series of missions each lasting around 10-20 minutes. These missions usually have you finding and destroying an object of interest while taking out a host of machine-gun wielding bad guys, helicopters and tanks. The enemies tend to just stand in one place until you have a chance to zap them with your Repulsor gun-thingy, Gatling gun or rockets. If you do eventually die (which is pretty unlikely) you can bring yourself to life with one well timed button press, thus making you pretty much invincible and the missions far too easy as a result.
At any point in the game you can redistribute power into a particular element of the Iron Man suit using the D-Pad. For example, if you’re suffering a barrage of attacks you can make the armour more powerful or if you are in a boss battle you can make the weapons more powerful. It’s a tactical addition to the game that works well. Variation is something this game seriously lacks and the power distribution mechanism at least adds something.
Control wise you use the nunchuck’s analogue stick to control movement and the C and Z buttons to control altitude in flight mode. You then use the Wii Remote to zap enemies by simply pointing the Remote in their direction and pressing the B-button. It doesn’t matter if you’re aiming is a little off centre because if you’re pointing the Remote in the general direction of the enemy you’ll hit every time. Hilariously the enemies will not even get time to hit the ground when you kill them – the game fades them out immediately.
Your weapons power up the more you use them but even though the game tells you they are getting more powerful they don’t really feel any different. It’s a shame because powering up weapons has become the staple-mark of games like Ratchet & Clank and there is a real missed opportunity to make something of the weapon upgrade functionality in this game.
The game is played to a pumping soundtrack of cock-rock which is meant to make you feel all the more powerful but sadly you’ll never feel cool playing it. And that’s the worst thing about the game. You just never feel like a superhero. Iron Man may be really tough in the movie but in the game you never feel like his attacks have any power behind them. The only fun thing is the sense of speed you get when you’re in flying mode but that’s only because the blurry graphics add to the illusion that you’re moving fast.
Iron Man is playable but that’s the only accolade that can be said for it. Why anyone would want to play it is a completely different matter. The graphics are horrible, the music is awful and the levels are tired and repetitive.
If you fancy taking control of a powerless, weightless superhero in the most clichéd game of the year then you couldn’t do better than Iron Man.