Ironman: The Game About the Movie About the Comic

Preview

The Ironman demo at Comic Con was the same demo available on Xbox Live, so rather than read this, you can spend about the same length of time playing it yourself. The demo offers up a short mission from the Middle East areas of the movie. There are two relatively simple objectives, and whether you complete them or the time runs out, the demo ends. Unlike the timed demos for games like Crackdown, which almost gave you too much of the game, Ironman offers so little that I really have to question the time limit.

I can only assume the demo was intended for Comic Con and was timed so others could play, but the limit exists on the Xbox Live demo as well. Either way, there isn’t much content to find here, but it does give you a taste of the game’s mechanics.

First of all, Ironman is fast, almost too fast. At any moment you can switch between moving on foot, hovering, or jetting around at blinding speeds. However as mobile as you are, it’s hindered by the vomit-inducing camera. It not only has a hard time keeping up with everything, but any time you try to handle it yourself, the game essentially tells you to fuck off. Why give the option to aim manually and then constantly wrestle it away?

I did eventually adjust to the camera, though it was never truly competent. Ironman’s omnipotence over all the enemies in the demo is impressive. You can zip over to any objective and hover overhead raining death on scores of defenseless tanks, foot soldiers, and artillery. While it’s pretty cool, I found it ironic that Ironman’s weapon of choice was essentially a pea shooter. He shoots this dinky laser beam out of the palm of his hand, and while it tears everything up well enough, it feels about as badass as shooting rocks out of a slingshot.

Throughout the demo we have Robert Downey Jr. giving plenty of cheesy one-liners that were clearly phoned in. I can only hope this isn’t indicative of the quality of the movie, otherwise we’re in for a trainwreck of Spider-man proportions. (Yep, I went there.)

While the demo was short, it begs the question, “Why does this exist other than to cash in on the success of the movie?” The momentum is cool, but the world feels so empty and bland, the action lacks kinetics, and the dialogue is cringe-worthy. Of all the comic-to-movie-to-game adaptations on display at Comic Con, Ironman was the only one to offer that soul sucking cash-in feeling I’ve come to expect from licensed products.

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