I need to apologize to you, reader. A few weeks back SEGA finally let me play Iron Man 2 for a level or so, and I reported back to you
that there might be "hope for this game." After playing the full title, I can tell you that there was no reason to get excited. This sequel is better than the original Iron Man movie game
that I couldn't play without screaming curse words and hurling controllers, but Iron Man 2 falls well short of something you need to invest your money in.
Refreshingly, this is not a rehash of the film. Iron Man 2 takes place in the movie universe, but after the events of the new flick. If you're worried about spoilers, there aren't any in this game, but then there really isn't much of a story to this game at all. All told, it should take you five hours or so to cruise through this tale that revolves around some bad guys trying to steal a copy of Jarvis, Tony Stark's AI butler, and using it to create Ultimo, a giant robot that melds with a human and can heal itself. Before each mission, you'll get to choose if you want to play as War Machine or one of several Iron Man suits.
To get to the final boss battle, you'll need to wail through eight chapters filled to the brim with robots, tanks, and helicopters. This stuff isn't bad, but it isn't all that good. Blowing things up is fun, but just dashing to the side over and over again to dodge dumb enemies isn't that great. The trouble with the first Iron Man game was that flying, fighting and surviving were chores – they weren't fun and they were super-frustrating. In Iron Man 2, the battles are rarely frustrating, but they're also rarely fun. Blowing up a whole bunch of things on a tank over and over again gets boring. You can just float around, blast bad guys with one or your four weapon slots, and move on to the next yellow objective marker.
It's a bit brain dead.
Iron Man 2 allows you to fly whenever you want, but that's a bit weird. You figure the whole time you're playing on the ground (or inside destructible buildings), your left stick is moving your character, but as soon as you take flight, movement jumps to the right stick and the left stick becomes speed control. This led to me screwing up more takeoffs than I care to remember.
SEGA tried to add some strategy to the mix by filtering in an upgrade/invention system along with that aforementioned ability to play as War Machine or Iron Man. As you play the game, you earn Field Data points that you can cash in for weapon upgrades, new combos, and new ammo types. This is a nice step towards making the suits and weapons feel different, but because there's no real challenge to the game, you don't really need to tweak anything and will probably only do it once or twice until you find a combination of missiles and repulsors that suits you. I really didn't fool with the option too much until I had finished the game and could buy an upgrade that made it so I didn't have to reload my weapons all the time. The upgrades make more sense on the hardest difficulty, but even then, I just messed with them once and forgot about them – I wasn't tweaking before every mission.
Making this system all the more subpar is the fact that it's really convoluted. If I hadn't been given a demo of how it works, it would've taken me some time to figure out that I needed to invent the modules, equip them in the weapons screen, and put them on the different suits at the armor selection screen. It works, but it's not crystal clear or easy to jump into.
On top of all of that, Iron Man 2 is an ugly game. The faces of folks like Don Cheadle and Samuel L. Jackson are laughable and fake looking, textures pop in, logos are blurry, and just about everything is a pixilated mess. A primary example of this game's visual shortcomings? At one point you need to fly into a tunnel. As you approach the "tunnel," it becomes clear that the opening is painted on the side of a wall – it's a Wile E. Coyote tunnel.
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