Movie tie-ins can be a tough sell. To really succeed in this space, you need to prove to gamers that your efforts aren’t about trying to make a quick buck off a big name (see: Kick-Ass: The Game). In the past, Gameloft has brought their talent to movie games such as Avatar and Terminator Salvation. Iron Man 2 certainly shows the company’s ambition, but the experience is highly flawed.
Iron Man 2 follows the makeshift formula often found in superhero-based games in order to incorporate as many villains as possible. Your goal is to help Iron Man and War Machine take down a number of their foes. You’ll travel across Somalia, Manhattan, and other locations in order to bring a sense of security to the world. However, since new villains are crammed in every other level and the dialogue is super-cheesy, you never quite get a feel for what’s going on. This makes it hard to follow the story.
Beware his Iron Pimp Fist.
The game is made up of nine levels, some of which contain great concepts. For example, at one point you’re flying between buildings in a fairly open-world version of Manhattan, while next you’ll be scouring the depths of the ocean in an on-rails level. Unfortunately, the execution of these concepts isn’t as solid as one would hope. The on-rails levels always stop the action when enemies show up, and you can’t enjoy the open environments since bad guys are constantly on your tail from the second you set foot in the area.
Control-wise, Iron Man 2 is a mixed bag. The analog stick and buttons themselves are generally responsive, and moving the camera is as easy as dragging across the screen. However, buttons are re-purposed too often. Your hover, jetpack, jump, and ground-pound moves are all controlled through a tiny sliding button. The same goes for all your weapons. We often initiated the wrong movement or attack by accident, which was aggravating. Also, the analog stick is extremely stiff in-flight.
One of the most disappointing aspects of Iron Man 2 are the graphics, which seem like a step backwards compared to other recent Gameloft games. The environments have a low draw distance, character models are blocky, animations aren’t fluid, and textures are low-resolution. Even so, the game slows down to a snail’s pace when the action is at its heaviest.
Iron Man engages in a deadly game of versus jump rope.
Also worth noting are the voiceovers. Despite using pictures of the actors from the movie, the voices are your standard fare from Gameloft. The main characters sound okay, but some feel forced to the point where you may want to turn off the sound and just read the dialogue boxes.
Beating all nine levels takes around two hours and offers little challenge, other than struggling with the controls and frame rate. There is also an iPad version for $9.99, but it is technically the same game with slightly better (but still disappointing) graphics. If you must try this game out, go for the cheaper iPhone version. Iron Man fanatics may enjoy what is offered in this game, but for most people, we suggest spending your money elsewhere.