Featured Columns

May 6, 2010

The Comics Console: Iron Man 2

Quick news bit: Activision has released a new video featuring online gameplay for Transformers: War for Cybertron. It looks absolutely amazing! See it here.

Last September, Marvel Executive Vice President of Global Digital Media Group, Ira Rubenstein, made a promise to Marvel fans saying, “We are not doing movie-based games anymore,” after Sony’s GamesCom press conference. “Actually, wait … we are not doing crappy movie-based games anymore.”

As of May 4, 2010, Ira Rubenstein’s promise has been broken. The promise was originally made due to the poor reception of the X-Men Origins: Wolverine movie tie-in game (though while video game critics may have been hard on ol’Snikt-Bub, Wolverine fans, I’m sure, found the game delightful).

But with another major action movie comes another poor action game hitting every console on the planet, and this month it’s Iron Man 2. I was pretty disappointed, but not surprised, with how shoddy the first Iron Man movie tie-in was, but after a nice shiny new promise by Marvel, I’ll admit, I got my hopes up a little for IM2.

Iron Man 2

Publisher: Sega
Sega Studios SF
Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Nintendo Wii, PSP, Nintendo DS
Release Date:
May 4, 2010

Well if you have any idea who Iron Man is or what he does, then you can guess what the majority of the game will consist of: Tons of repulsor rays, explosions and property damage. And you would be right, however, the game lacks the kind of finesse that makes that kind of experience enjoyable for the whole 6 hour campaign.

The game’s story actually doesn’t fall in line directly with the film’s. Invincible Iron Man scribe, Matt Fraction, was brought in to help pen an original script, but, while definitely a step in the right direction, Sega pretty much botched the rest of the project from there.

There are two noticeable change-up’s in gameplay from the first game, the first being the addition of Tony Stark’s tag-team partner Rhodey, a.k.a. War Machine, selectable as a playable character at the beginning of each of the 8 levels. Playing as War Machine is basically the same as playing as Iron Man, with the exception of only a few different weapons and ammunition upgrades. Also, while Iron Man sports 9 different suits of armor in the game, War Machine is stuck with only one.

The second noticeable change is the simplified flight controls. Flying around levels is not only easier, but pretty fun (albeit with no hidden items or collectibles to collect so unfortunately doing a lot of exploring isn’t really necessary).

As Iron Man or War Machine you’ll pillage through hordes of mechs and tanks really only needing to use your fundamental attacks. Pulling the right trigger fires your primary repulsor beam while the left trigger adds some secondary rockets and what not.

You can spend some time on the ground with your melee attacks, but it’s not only unessential, it’s not even very fun. Punches don’t have that sense of impact that they should when an iron fist collides with heavy steel. The combat as a whole actually feels very limited compared to the last game, and enemies aren’t different enough to improve the awful repetition of just holding down the right trigger.

Familiar Iron Man villains like Crimson Dynamo and Ultimo appear as bosses to help change things up, but fail pretty hard. I found the boss battles to be more of a cliche chore as they were way too easy to defeat. The real challenge in IM2 was wrestling with the game’s erratic camera when confined in smaller areas.

Small tasks like unlocking doors have been proven to be enjoyable in games like Mass Effect 2 with a fun mini game, but IM2 would just have you rape your B button instead of adding something cleaver or unique.

Now, I’m no video game genius, and I’m not positive what kind of budget or time frame Sega was working with for this game, but I believe that if part of the hook of your new action game is to have 2 different heroes to choose from, maybe you should add some kind of co-op mode for 2 players to enjoy. I guess Sega didn’t put that much thought into that idea here. Co-op really would have made this game much more bearable, maybe even pretty fun.

Depending on how well you rank in conquering certain levels, you’ll be rewarded with new types of armor ranging from the previous film’s Mark I to the comics’ Ultimate Iron Man outfit. You also earn cash for destroying enemies which can be put toward armor and weapon upgrades, but that would mean dealing with the frustrating and overly complicated upgrade menu.

Samuel L. Jackson and Don Cheadle reprise their roles as Nick Fury and Rhodey for voice overs, and do a pretty decent job, but Robert Downey Jr. is nowhere to be heard in the game.

You would think, if nothing else, the game would look pretty good, but that is far from the case. The game just looks last-gen, and character designs look creepy. This is usually the point where I would say that only hardcore fans will find something enjoyable here, but I don’t even think the hugest Iron Man fan can play this game without feeling ripped off by the $60 price tag.

If only Sega could put as much care and effort into their games as Tony Stark does his armor…2/5.

Iron Man 2 goes beyond just being a rushed movie tie-in game, and is filled with so many problems that just shouldn’t be an issue for a 2010 game. Thank you Marvel for disrespecting your fans with your empty promises.

If Iron Man 2 was this bad, what can we expect for the Thor and The First Avenger: Captain America games?

…I can’t F’n wait…

At least we’re still getting Marvel vs. Capcom 3!

Next week on The Comics Console I try to not give up hope on Marvel video games, so we’re playing Batman Arkham Asylum: Game of the Year Edition!

Andrew Hurst



  1. I don’t think these guys get too much time to get out these direct movie tie in games which is another reason why most of them suck. And how do you NOT have co-op in a game like this? Sega really did miss the boat from what you say here and I’m sure there could have been some type of online play to enhance the game but ah well.

  2. Billy

    Wow, that IM2 game looks cool!

  3. This game doesn’t look so last gen to me graphics-wise…but then again, I just obtained a 1st gen XBox.

    : )

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