Despite having some excellent source materiel, Iron Man 2 just isn't a very good game. And, so you know, I did want it to be a good game.
So, source material then: Last night I saw Iron Man 2
. the movie. I thought it was awesome.
If I was prone to mis-using and misunderstanding the word sublime, I would say it was sublimely awesome. It was like someone took my inner-nerd (you don't have to dig very far to find him) and took him to a hot-tub full of Suicide Girls. They were betraying their angsty-ness with repulsor bikinis. My inner nerd was fed beer, and stroked as motion comics played on a 3D TV before him.
Then plain old me came back to the office this morning and picked up the PS3 controller to play more of the game of the film. It was like those very same Suicide Girls had pulled my inner nerd out of that hot-tub, punched him in the face a couple of times and tied him up naked in the snow. Possibly forcing him to watch an EastEnders
I'm a big old comics nerd, I've been really enjoying Invincible Iron Man
, the current comics series, and I've been mightily excited about the movie. I was disappointed by SEGA's previous Iron Man
game, but trailers and the involvement of Iron Man
comics writer Matt Fraction got my hopes up for the sequel.
So, plot: Iron Man is Tony Stark, billionaire industrialist and weapons designer turned super-hero futurist trying to build a better tomorrow. He wears a flying robot suit with cool shit like Repulsor (sic) rays built in. For Iron Man 2
the game, the source materiel includes the comics as well as the film.
The game diverges completely from the film it gets its name from (while still seeming to share the film's universe). In the best tradition of Iron Man
, the story revolves around Stark, in partnership with Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D., trying to track down a permutation of his tech and stop some baddies doing generally bad things with it.
What you - the gamer - get is a third-person adventure game that blends flight, shooter and melee mechanics, strung across a series of bland locations.
Yeah, 'bland'. Problem Number One. The locations predominantly consist of a series of military and weapons facilities nestled in hilly landscapes. Iron Man
, as a concept, is rooted in science fiction that feels like it's about ten minutes in your future. That should
lead to some interesting backdrops for the action, but instead the locations mostly look like the same compound cloned repeatedly, with a lot of greys and very little to make you think, 'that's cool'.
The whole thing looks, generally, uninspired. Clunky-looking armoured and robot foes. Dull-looking weapons effects. Generally-drab designs.
Even the cutscenes are kind of ugly. I couldn't even tell
if SEGA got the likeness rights for Gwyneth Paltrow and Scarlett Johansson (who, in the film, play Stark's assistant Pepper Potts and the super-sexy Russian spy Black Widow respectively). Both characters, somehow, munt. Tony Stark, James Rhodes (War Machine) and Nick Fury all look close enough to their film counterparts (Robert Downey Jr, Don Cheadle and Samuel L. Jackson) but they don't look good
. Unfortunately only Jackson and Cheadle have lent their voices to the game, too.