by Keaton Arksey
previewed on X360
The first Iron Man movie was a fantastic movie, perfectly encapsulating the essence of the Tony Stark character. It raked in over half a billion dollars in box office so it comes as no surprise that the sequel is in the theatres already. The game that was attached to the movie however, was not met with such fanfare. Luckily for Sega and thankfully for Shellhead fans, the sequel is a new opportunity to create the Iron Man game equivalent of X-Men Origins: Wolverine or Spider-Man 2.
The original Iron Man was panned by many for its sub-par graphics, mediocre sound quality, and repetitive combat. As movie-based games go, Sega could have easily chosen to put out the same game a new coat of paint on the original game. Hundreds of thousands of people would have bought the game just based on name alone. Thankfully Sega chose to change what didn't work in the last game while keeping what did. Better still, Iron Man 2 won't be the same game for every system. The PS3/Xbox 360 versions will be different from the Wii, PSP and DS versions. They'll all share the same story though, constructed by The Invincible Iron Man comic writer Matt Fraction. The game is set in the movie universe but will not cover the same story. Characters from the movie like War Machine and Nick Fury will appear, and are voiced by their movie counterparts Don Cheadle and Samuel L. Jackson respectively. Sadly, Robert Downey Jr. won't be voicing Tony Stark. Eric Loomis who voices Iron Man in the animated series will play that role.
Personalized Iron Man
The controls in Iron Man 2 have been simplified in response to complaints from the first game. Double tapping one of the triggers launches Iron Man or War Machine into flight. Pushing forward on the left stick will increase their speed, while pushing back will have the opposite effect.
A variety of weapons are available to Iron Man and War Machine to use to dispatch their enemies. Gattling guns, rocket launchers, missiles and more can be selected by the left and right D-pad buttons and activated with the respective triggers. You can have two weapons operating at once, with each being used by the left or right triggers independently. Before every mission you can choose between Iron Man or War Machine and choose a variety of modifications to the suit. You can also swap weapons, and add modifiers such as extra range or damage and even different ammo types. There are a variety of different suits for both characters, from the classics to the suits from the first movie. Everything you do during the game will earn research points, which is the currency used to unlock new upgrades, ammo and suits.
On the inside
Iron Man 2 will have missions that occur within buildings. While Iron Man is capable of taking flight whenever he wants, the restricted space means you will spend some missions hoofing it. On foot the game will play much like a third person shooter. The right stick will move the camera and the reticule in the middle of the screen. Should a bad guy get too close to Iron Man, melee moves can put them down quickly. Should Iron Man find himself near a weaker enemy like a tank or helicopter, he can do a quick power attack that completely incapacitates the enemy. Interestingly enough, various fighting styles will be unlocked as you progress through the game. While this hasn’t been confirmed, this could mean that there will be various combos for different fighting styles. Iron Man 2 will also make use of a health system similar to Halo: Combat Evolved. Attacks initially take down Iron Man's shields and only then start damaging his health. His shields will recharge but Iron Man isn't Wolverine: he can't just recover health automatically.
Iron Man may not have the most well known cast of villains in comic books, but that doesn't make them any less likely of desiring to break Tony Stark's armor. The Crimson Dynamo is the only confirmed villain to appear but we expect villains from the movie Whiplash and Justin Hammer to appear in some shape or form.
Where the music is
Fans of metal will be happy to hear that Iron Man 2 features music from various bands. Lamb of God has provided a new single “Hit the Wall”, created just for the game. Joining Lamb of God will be Meshuggah, STEMM, Soilwork, Nova, Hydro Da Hero, and Pimp X.
Iron Man: The Game may not have been well received, but it did provide a solid base for the sequel. With reworked controls, two playable characters and upgradable suits of armor, Iron Man 2 looks to correct many of the problems of the first game. Throw in a story created especially for the game and scribed by one of The Invincible Iron Man's writers and maybe we will get a Shellhead game that lives up to the good name of Tony Stark.