Iron Man 2 Review

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Ferrous foul-up


Not long after the completion of this movie spin-off, the game’s developers – Sega Studios San Francisco – were sadly shut down as another casualty of the global financial crisis. And while the rush-release of half-baked video games in time for a movie’s theatrical debut are far from rare, the looming closure of these Shaky Town coders was undoubtedly another factor in why Iron Man 2 turned out to be such a bitter disappointment.

Unlike recent Batman and Spider Man games that actually made you feel like a superhero – and non-licensed adventures such as Infamous and Prototype which gave you that comic-book feeling without an inky legacy to draw on – Iron Man 2 spectacularly fails to capture the spirit of the movie or printed page. For starters, there’s absolutely no sense of weight, force or power behind the shiny protagonist’s moves, his limp punches lacking the hefty feeling of satisfaction you should get from beating enemies to a pulp, while the Shellhead’s bulky boots feel light as a feather as he hits the ground at a 100 miles an hour. The thrill of burning through the clouds holds no sense of awe either as the skies are bereft of competent challengers, and the combat throughout amounts to little more than hammering the same buttons over and over again, never making best use of Iron Man's amazing arsenal. And while the dowdy gameplay and poor use of Marvel’s colourful source matter are bad enough, an appalling camera, unimaginative graphics and the way your hero inexplicably pops through walls is unforgivable, making this feel like something from the earliest days of PSOne gaming.

Shoddy, old-fashioned and a tragic waste of time, Iron Man 2 is a rare failure for Sega and a classic example of how hassled coders are finding it increasingly hard to knock out quality software in minuscule development windows.