No doubt Marvel is an instantly recognizable brand to many across the world, from comics to films with a dizzying array of unique characters. Iron Man would be one of these iconic characters, and fans will get their chance to be their hero Tony Stark in Marvel’s Iron Man VR, released 3 July 2020. Developer Camoflaj puts you into the man’s shoes, letting you fly and battle the bad guys with lasers and fancy tech. You can learn more about the game’s development in our interview with game designer Ryan Darcey here. Let’s get into the review.
You’ll find a few of your regulars of the Iron Man canon in the game. You can’t have Iron Man without Tony Stark, joined by Pepper Potts, his AI assistant Friday, Nick Fury and a new character named Gunsmith. Gunsmith is a holographic copy of Tony, who’s a more “devilish” counterpart to Friday. In the main story, a mysterious hacker/terrorist who dubs herself Ghost attacks Tony Stark and his company, in order to take revenge on deaths caused by weapons manufactured by Tony’s company prior to being Iron Man.
VR really fits Iron Man, considering the character’s whole schtick about advanced technology. The VR experience does have its moments to make you feel like a hero, but it falls short in having repetitive gameplay if you decide to play it for long stretches.
Initial trailers give the impression of Iron Man VR being a shooter on rails, but in actuality, you are allowed to fly freely. With your pair of Playstation Move controls, you use both triggers to fly in a unique VR experience. With your hands turned back, it moves you forward, so vice versa for backwards flight. You determine your direction by turning your head. Since players would be either seated or standing upright for the entire time they’re plugged in, it’s not the exact flight experience, but it’s about close as you can get with VR.
VR itself still has limitations, with the PS VR being a wired setup so the movement of freedom remains restricted to a point. Some movements have to be executed with button presses so that the wires don’t get pulled off as you jerk in response to the game. Despite that, there was no sense of motion sickness, and they’ve tried very hard to have it comfortable for most, if not all, players, but you do need to err a little should you think yourself especially sensitive to rapid movements.
IRON MAN IN BATTLE
In battle, you have the options of using your repulsors and secondary weapons. With your palm facing forward, you can use the repulsors to fire lasers, or form a fist to use the secondary weapons like missiles and whatever else you have equipped. Camoflaj has managed to capture the essence of the character weapons, making them feel good to use. Here’s a short list of weapons you can utilize:
- Rocket Punch: a three hit combo that finishes off with a Repulsor Blast or secondary weapon
- Ground Pound: dive bomb into your enemies for a large AOE attack
- Unibeam: unleashes a powerful laser from the chest
The enemy types are not numerous, nor do their tactics vary much. There will be enemies that have different weaknesses, like drones that require you to switch up between laser attacks and punches, but are otherwise not especially inspiring. The levels – of which there are 12 in total – typically take 15 to 30 minutes to clear. While the battle variety is a knock against the game, you do get to do many interactive actions to keep that immersion of being Iron Man – from welding doors shut with a laser, or disconnecting the power to objects – there are environmental items you can utilize throughout the game besides fighting enemies head on.
The garage is your main hub area for missions and upgrades. In the middle of this garage is your work station where you can check out and improve on the Iron Man armour. Gunsmith hangs out on the left, while the right will be the world map for mission select, as well as Friday. Towards the back will be various mini-game stations where you can lift weights, play the arcade machines and such.
The customization system is meant to encourage players to complete the various challenges or story to obtain Research Points to unlock more weapons and other tools. You can slap on various colour palettes for the armour, but as you can’t see them from a third person view, it feels like a missed opportunity.
As a whole, Iron Man VR gives a unique experience that fans can truly appreciate. You can build your own armour, use various iconic weapons and freely fly across the skies as you take down the bad guys. There’s plenty of good ideas within the title, but with quite a few repeating elements, it can become boring over a long stretch of time, thus making it best for quick, short sessions.
From a fan’s point of view, it can be a little conflicting to rate the game. As mentioned, the experience is great, but the charm and magic wears off over time. Perhaps when VR technology becomes more improved, then a title such as this could be developed to its full potential. As it is now, it offers a good time for fans of Iron Man, but not really much else.
|As close to being Iron Man as you can get||
Current gen technological limitations makes the concept lacking
|UI and design are pretty cool||Repetitive gameplay when played in long stretches|