Recent posts: Ironman 2
Two stores have some pretty hot deals that we think are definitely worth your attention. If you have been putting off adding any of these titles to your collection, this may be as cheap as it gets for a while. Walmart, Best Buy and Toys R Us did not have any sales worth mentioning in their circulars this week, but K-Mart and Target have more than made up for it. Keep in mind, most stores do price matching, so if you can get your hands on a hard copy of either of these circulars, odds are you can score these deals if you don’t have a K-Mart or Target near you. Here we go:
Backbreaker – $34.99
Battlefield: Bad Company 2 – $39.99
BioShock – $14.99
BioShock 2 – $34.99
FIFA World Cup 2010 South Africa – $44.99
God of War 3 – $34.99
Heavy Rain – $34.99
Mass Effect 2 – $19.99
Skate 3 – $44.99
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves – $34.99
Battlefield: Bad Company 2 – $37
Iron Man 2 – $37
MLB 2K10 – $37
Modern Warfare 2 – $49.99
Prince Of Persia: The Forgotten Sand – $37
Splinter Cell Conviction – $37
Split/Second – $37
Whenever a blockbuster is being made, movie tie-ins are sure to follow, and to that effect, Ironman 2 has been no different than any other blockbuster in recent memory. Action figures, t-shirts, soda bottles, just about anything you can think of has seen a picture of the tin man strewn across it, so it should come as no surprise to see Iron Man 2: the video game is also in the repertoire. The game released in context with the first movie was a complete flop, as most movie tie-in games tend to be, so the entire project seemed to be behind the eight ball from the get-go. The original was so universally trashed, that the studio responsible, Secret Level, was disbanded, with key staff absorbed into a newly branded Sega Studios San Francisco. Knowing that the gaming community was already weary of their previous work, SSSF swore that they would do everything they could to get this one right. Needless to say, that would not be the case. At all.
Now here is where I start to feel bad and like I might be piling on: SSSF is no more, closed before Ironman 2 even hit the shelves. Having now played and beaten the game, it’s really not hard to figure out why. That’s not to say they were not simply victims of the video game industry, but with three awful releases under their belt, but eh… probably not. While certain aspects of this game seem to be more enjoyable than its predecessor, the game as a whole is still a complete disaster of epic proportions. That’s not to say this game lacks any fun factor whatsoever, it’s just completely lacking on every level.
The game itself is very short. As a matter of fact, it is way too short for a $60 release. From start to finish, I think I polished it off in about five hours. Instead of focusing on a lengthy campaign, Sega decided to throw in a bunch of achievements for getting 100 kills with each weapon available for both playable characters: Ironman and War Machine. There are also achievements for beating bosses with both characters, as well as an achievement for killing 1000 enemies. Nothing says awesome quite like playing the same levels over and over again.
The graphics are one of the weakest components of the game, which is kind of weird to say considering how bad the rest is, and considering the fact that a few years ago, we would have called them great. They aren’t necessarily awful if you take it as an arcade style game that is not totally meant to be realistic, and if this came out on Playstation 2 or the Wii, they’d probably be decent, but I think that description explains my exact issue with them. This game was developed specifically for the XBox 360 and Playstation 3, which means Sega knew their game was being developed specifically for HD gamers. There is nothing remotely HD about these graphics. I have a 30 inch, 720p HD TV that does every game I play complete justice, and the graphics from Ironman 2 look like they are being stretched to fit the resolution. You can see all sorts of distorted shading throughout the game and especially in the cut scenes. What completely blows my mind is the fact that the cut scenes look much worse than the game itself, and that is just about the complete opposite of every other game in existence. Aren’t the cut scenes supposed to be the best parts? The parts you show in the commercials to convince people to buy? Talk about a swing and a miss. I have games for the original XBox that I have played on the 360 that look better than this.
Level design and game play are also very clunky. There is a yellow marker letting you know where you are supposed to go, but it very rarely tells you exactly what you are supposed to do when you get there. This can result in flying around aimlessly trying to figure it out, usually resulting in death no matter which level you play at. There were more than a few occasions where this happens, and I found myself scrambling around yelling “what the hell am I supposed to do,” much to my dog’s dismay. The camera can be especially annoying as you try to maneuver into position to do whatever it is that you are trying to do. Making this even more frustrating is the fact that the flight controls themselves are very flawed and can be very difficult to get down. I have found myself slowly drifting on many occasions when I really needed to fly, and have had a difficult time switching to and from flight and hover mode. The combat system isn’t too bad, all things considered. My biggest complaint would be the fact that I can’t get Ironman’s unibeam to work half the time, but that may be a reload issue, which would be sort of understandable.
One of my biggest complaints about the game play is the final boss battle for a variety of reasons, one of which I will discuss in a bit. For now, I will talk about the fight itself, which is extremely frustrating. It’s not frustrating because it is hard, it is frustrating because it is stupid. It shouldn’t be hard, but the cameras and auto-aim really screw things up. I am OK with things being difficult considering, hey, it’s the final boss, but it is completely retarded to think the challenge is battling the game itself and not the boss. When you are locked on for auto-aim, which the game would be an even greater disaster without, it eventually prompts you to press B to pull out a part of the robots armor. The problem is, while you are trying to fight the camera angles to maneuver into position, the auto-aim will switch targets on you. I failed the mission a few times because, even though I had at least three pieces ready to pull out, it kept switching targets on me when I tried to pull them, resulting in me taking too long and getting Ironman killed. It got to a point where I almost rage quit because it was so dumb.
I could keep going on and on about the ways this game fails, like the weapon upgrade system and how confusing it is, or the fact that the whole menu system for customizing armor is a complete clusterfuck as well, but I digress. About the only thing they did get right was commissioning Lamb Of God to provide an original song for the game, as well as using riffs from said song as background music in the game. I also like the idea of being able to use many of the different suits in Ironman’s armory. The game can be mildly entertaining once you get past the general idiocy of the game play and controller setup, but in the end, there is just no way to justify spending the money required to acquire the game.
They managed to get Don Cheedle and Samuel L. Jackson to do voices for their characters, War Machine and Nick Fury respectively, but apparently Robert Downey Jr. had better things to do. The voice actor for Iron Man sounds a little bit like Downey Jr. when he does the Tony Stark voice, but nothing like him when he does Ironman. The dialogue in general can be pretty cheesy, but there is a laugh or two tucked away.
Another huge issue I have with the game is the story itself. I have really had a hard time understanding how a guy that totally gets Ironman like “The Invincible Ironman” writer Matt Fraction can get the story so wrong. The game itself takes place after the events of the Ironman 2 movie, which I am OK with. Having a game play out like the movie would be redundant, so it is actually much better this way. The game kicks off with Tony Stark being dropped by an EMP bomb as the company Roxxon is attacking one of his facilities. They are after something called the “Datasphine,” which is an archived version of Tony Stark’s AI assistant Jarvis. I can get past the fact that Jarvis is supposed to be an actual person, but since both movies have him as AI, we can move on. Roxxon is a company that bought out Hammer Industries, which if you saw the movie, you will know was trying to create a drone army of Ironmen. The difference between the two is that it seems Roxxon has been successful, and they are also backed by the notorious Marvel terrorist organization AIM. Tony blows up what is left of his facility, and the team determines that Roxxon has paired with Russian military separatists and leads a SHIELD strike squad to their base in Russia. Once there, he fights Crimson Dynamo, who has been a bunch of different people in the past, so it doesn’t bother me too much that the suit is now piloted by a General Shatalov. You then move on to fight Ultimo, who is an enormous robot suit piloted Kearson DeWitt and engulfed in the Jarvis AI and… wait, what? Ultimo? Piloted? Created by AIM? In what fucking universe? Ultimo is and always has been a thousand year old robot that was originally controlled by Mandarin. Why do they keep doing this shit? If the origins of a character don’t work with your plot scheme, CREATE A NEW CHARACTER! I understand Ultimo is a major Ironman villain, but so is Mandarin, and he is rumored to be the main bad guy in the next Wolverine movie. Use the real back story! I won’t even get into the fact that all the Marvel movies show Nick Fury putting together SHIELD, and now we already have SHIELD fully up and operational, with Hellicarrier in tow. My brain hurts just trying to wrap my head around the fact that they completely had to screw with the Ultimo character. I can’t take anymore. This whole thing is a virtual catastrophe. I am officially rage quitting this review.
At the end of the day, I don’t know if any studio is going to be able to get an Ironman game right. Marvel Ultimate Alliance has done decent by limiting flight, but Ironman is just one of many playable characters in that game, so it makes sense. When he is the star of the show, there’s just too much going on. For that, it’s hard to fault the developer for such an awful control scheme given the fact that it may be as good a scheme as it gets. That doesn’t change the fact that the game can be way more frustrating than it should be, or the fact that I would not spend $59.99 on this game, or recommend anyone outside of the most diehard of Ironman fans purchase either. Honestly, the fairest price I can come up with is $29.99, and even that might be pushing it. There is a playable demo on XBox Live and the Playstation Marketplace. This game is buyer beware, so definitely peep the demo before dropping any duckets on this. For me, back to Gamefly it goes…
Reviewed Platform: XBox 360