The Quarter Bin

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Iron Man 2: The Video Game

Posted by Sarah LeBoeuf On February - 9 - 2010

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At a recent Sega event, I got a look at the video game tie-in for Iron Man 2, as well as a few words with Creative Director Kyle Brink. How does it look? Read on to find out.

While at a Sega event in New York City last week, standing just feet away from some of 2010’s most anticipated titles, I waited patiently to get a look at Iron Man 2. I took a look around, spotting Alpha Protocol, Aliens vs. Predator, Resonance of Fate, and Yakuza 3. Why was I lingering there, to look at a movie tie-in that served as a follow-up to one of the worst games of the last few years? Because tie-ins and superhero games have moved forward since Iron Man came out in 2008, and I really wanted to see if Iron Man 2 could follow suit. While waiting to speak with the man showing off the 360 version of Iron Man 2 (whom I soon found out was Creative Director Kyle Brink), another journalist mentioned that the first Iron Man received “mixed reviews”. “Oh no,” Kyle said, “The reviews were terrible. Let’s be honest here. It was bad.”

He wasn’t wrong; Iron Man was pretty awful, even for a movie tie-in. After a promising demo, the actual game had repetitive missions and poor controls, and was more of a chore than a source of any real entertainment. Kyle Brink knows this, and apparently, so does the rest of the development team for Iron Man 2. They really want to make a better gameplay experience, and the first step was making Iron Man 2 not as much of a tie-in game. The release will coincide with the movie of the same name, which is sure to be one of summer 2010’s first blockbusters, but the story stands alone and was written in part by veteran comic writer Matt Fraction. Considering that Fraction has been doing an excellent job of writing the character in the comic universe for the last two years, he seems like the perfect man for the job, and hopefully the narrative will actually be fresh and enjoyable, as opposed to a rehash of the film’s major plot points.

Another big change in Iron Man 2 is variety. Kyle stressed that each level would be completely different, meaning that the repetitive missions of the first game wouldn’t be an issue. Though I wasn’t allowed to play it myself, I watched Kyle go through several sections of the game. In one, Iron Man was soaring through a collapsing tunnel; in another, he was controlling the giant mech from the previous boss fight, who had been rewired to work for him. At ten to fifteen hours, Kyle said, Iron Man 2 may be shorter than Iron Man, but each level would be an entirely different experience, making the overall game less repetitive and boring, and more entertaining.

Adding to the theme of variety is the customization that can be done to the Iron Man suit. Throughout the game, there are plenty of options to unlock, from the visual presentation of the armor to the actual weapons that can be equipped. According to Kyle, the combinations are virtually endless, which should give diehard fans of the Armored Avenger some additional replay value. If that’s not appealing enough, War Machine joins the game as a playable character, though he does not have the same customization options that his buddy Iron Man does.

Graphically, Iron Man 2 does appear to have a bit more polish than its predecessor, but that’s not really saying much. It still can’t hold a candle to the bigger games with longer development cycles, and from what I was told, it appears that the development team learned to accept that. Kyle told me that they knew from the start it would be a short development cycle, and they prioritized what was most important to them: a solid single-player campaign with plenty of variety and customization.

Some of the biggest concerns about this game were the camera and controls, so without having gotten my hands on the controller, it’s hard for me to say whether or not they’ve been improved. Kyle seemed to be handling it just fine, but since he helped make it, I don’t know if that’s really a fair assessment. Does it still look like a tie-in game? Honestly, yes. Just from a visual perspective, it can’t pass for a triple-A title. At the same time, I can say that I think it’s going to be better than the previous Iron Man—but again, that’s not saying very much.

With a couple months to go until Iron Man 2 comes out (it should hit stores just before the movie of the same name), the game is almost done, with only some bug testing left to do before it goes gold. I would like to see Iron Man 2 be, at the very least, a competent, somewhat entertaining superhero game. For what it’s worth, it seems like the developers are taking a step in the right direction.

Iron Man 2 will be out in spring 2010 for the 360, PS3, Wii, DS, and PSP.


1 Response so far
  1. Luke Brown Said,

    going to give this game a chance, but the first one left a horrible taste in my mouth.

    Posted on February 9th, 2010 at 12:57 PM

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