Smooth, Stylish and Stagnant – great game play ruined by a disappointing portrayal of a much loved hero.
Iron Man has long been one of my all-time favourite Marvel Heroes, with charisma, wit and a kick ass suit of armour, so it is no wonder when I heard that the game was coming out in VR I immediately knew I wanted to review it. Tony Stark in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is nothing if not charming, not to mention he is a leader, he brings the clan together, he is the glue but something tells me this game will have fans divided.
The first thing that should be mentioned is that this game requires PSVR alongside two PS Move controllers, something that is unusual given that move controllers have become somewhat of an outdated gimmick and are rarely required for VR games. In this circumstance they are absolutely essential as Iron Man’s suit’s main thrusters are controlled by your hands, so it definitely makes the experience more immersive. The game play itself is stunning, you move swiftly and smoothly, with excellent controls which truly mimic the design of the Iron Man suit. Not to mention potential upgradable features to make the suit better. For this I cannot complain. The game itself has standard VR scenery, excellent controls and really unites the player with the character – something you definitely need in VR. Although the controls and game play itself might take some getting used to, utilizing everything the suit can do and defeating a flurry of enemies can be very satisfying (and fun).
It should be noted that despite exellent visuals around the Tony Stark mansion and the interactive story environments, the mission environments do not compare. They lack detail, with the streets being barren, missing the standard road markings, streetlights and general atmospheric items such as abandoned vehicles. This is notably jarring and definitely causes a bit of disconnect between the player and the game. Further disengagement is a problem with the lengthy loading screens and the black-screened monologues given by Tony through the game. In this way it can feel like any old VR game – a series of missions feebly connected by a loose and vague storyline. Unfortunately whilst the story of Iron Man is so tremendous, this game has allowed it to fall flat. It would be better to think of this more of an Iron Man Simulator featuring a series of assignments.
If you can look past the disconnected ramblings of an Iron Man that bears no resemblance to the comic or cinematic Tony Stark you know and love, whilst also looking past the flaccid storyline, flawed scenery, long loading screens and repetitive nature of the missions, and pretend that you have never seen any version of Iron Man, then the game isn’t too bad because the actual game play is immersive and interesting and is something you rarely see in VR. In my honest opinion this would be better suited to an arcade format, with richer environments on a smaller scale.
Probably the most disappointing issue encountered in the game – the endless glitches. Simple tasks such as picking up weights or taking someones hand were interrupted by awkward glitches. Then there is the matter of the disappearing body – something encountered several times, especially obvious when you look down and you have no legs, or torso, or it shows your neck hole without anything attached. Definitely makes this game more of a thriller than an action adventure. In all seriousness there were some pretty massive technical difficulties, when combined with the loading screens which took several minutes, followed by a black screen for atleast a further 30 seconds, you have to question what all that loading was for?
It had the potential to be an excellent game, the controls take a while to get used to but are exciting and new, giving this game an edge that is lacking on PSVR. It’s obvious there was so much care and attention to developing a fluid movement style with dynamic and evolving controls, which makes it even more disappointing that the same devotion cannot be seen throughout the other aspects of the game. At best this game can be seen to be a flight combat game, but for a price tag of £29.99 (or £84.99 if you need to buy the version with move controllers) the game simply is not fulfilling the requirements to make a great VR game.
Unfortunately there are many things I would change about this game and not a whole lot I would keep the same. It feels like the rushed Beta of a game that should have been more prepared for a potentially huge audience of hardcore Marvel fans. The storyline was truly a washout, mostly because there wasn’t really one at all and any semblance of a narrative was lifeless and repetitive. Despite this, the game is definitely entertaining, just don’t expect to see the Tony Stark you know and love, because he does not exist in this universe.