Both Iron Man and War Machine are playable throughout the course of the game
When the opportunity to play and review Iron Man 2 presented itself, I jumped at the chance. This is a new title by Gameloft after all; a company that has consistently released high quality titles that often push the benchmark even higher in terms of what we expect our iPhones to be capable of. Despite the pedigree I couldn’t shake a slight feeling of pessimism, that nagging voice in the back of my conscious that couldn’t let me forget that this is a game based on a movie license. Lets be honest, games based on movies are nearly always terrible. So what exactly is the deal here? Did Gameloft buck the trend or has the mighty iPhone developer finally dropped the ball after so many hits? The average star rating on iTunes paints a promising picture (4 stars at the time of publishing) however I’m afraid that I must deliver you some bad news.
As you have no doubt discerned from the screenshots Iron Man 2 is a typical 3D action adventure affair comprised mostly of linear A to B levels and open environment missions. The latter typically involves flying around, defeating pockets of enemies, escort missions and disarming bombs and so forth. Despite having a solid 3D iPhone game engine already in place, Gameloft have failed Iron Man in two key areas.
Firstly, and most crucially, it isn’t much fun to play. The linear levels are bland and uninspired with you running from mission marker to mission marker defeating enemies in-between. With the level design so paint by numbers the combat needs to be compelling to make these levels remotely interesting but depth is woefully absent here. You essentially have a long range attack button that fires Iron Man’s hand repulsers and a melee button that lets you smash your foe’s at close range. An overly generous auto-lock system however takes the challenge out of proceedings meaning every confrontation can be dealt with by simply running in a circle and mashing the long range attack button.
The second facet of Iron Man 2 that lets the experience down is the technical implementation, in other words - this game is buggy as hell. Ignoring the often obnoxious issue of terrain pop-in, Iron Man 2 suffers very badly from clipping, for instance in the third level set in the jungle I was able to walk up to a sheer cliff face and by simply hitting the virtual button for melee attack I passed right through the wall into a strange nowhere land. I was able to recreate this bug at my leisure by simply punching walls and going through them.
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