NOTE: ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON COMICBOOKMOVIE.COM 05/02/2013 Iron Man 2 would once again be developed by Secret Level games, who were renamed Sega Studios San Francisco. The hope from publisher Sega was that by bringing in Secret Level under the official Sega umbrella the studio would be able to recover and make a better product than the poorly received Iron Man. The studio was announced to be closing with the release of Iron Man 2 one month before the game even came out.
Iron Man 2’s plot is a continuation of the film unlike the loose retelling of the film found in the first Iron Man. Penned by then Iron Man scribe Matt Fraction, the story deals with a theft of the JARVIS AI by the Roxxon Corporation which leads to the development of Ultimo. The only two actors who would reprise their roles from the film would be Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury and Don Cheadle as James Rhodes/War Machine, however there are lines from Rhodey that are completed by veteran voice actor Phil LaMarr. Eric Loomis of Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes fame provided the voice for both Tony Stark and Iron Man.
Quite possibly the only thing that’s got better between Iron Man 1 and 2 is that the iconic “hum” noise from the repulsor was added when you charge it. Iron Man 2 does nothing to build upon any of the decent to good ideas that were implemented in the first Iron Man game. The levels are more linear based than open like the first, so the sensation you got from boosting from one area of the map to another is gone. Outside of one scripted escape sequence, you’ll spend most of the game hovering as opposed to flying. This is pretty unacceptable as the sensation of flight is important to making the player feel like the Iron Man character. The combat received an upgrade that feels more like a downgrade. You get access to either War Machine or Iron Man whenever you want, with the exception of a few levels where you have to be one or the other for story purposes. You can change suits of armor for uncompleted missions and can select from a wide variety of weapons and upgrades for each. The problem is however, the game locks most of the good weapons out of reach until late in the game, and the game only has a 3-4 hour play length on the normal setting.
Equipping your upgraded weapons is highly unintuitive as well, and in my first time playing this game I finished a huge chunk of it not knowing I didn’t even have my new equipment with me. Fighting in the levels themselves is not much better. You have a lock on that only works when you are very close to your opponent which is not at all helpful in a large portion of the missions when you have to stay close to a target you have to protect. There’s not a lot of variety in the foes you encounter as well, with only two frustrating boss fights with the Crimson Dynamo and Ultimo. Other than that you’ll face waling tanks known as Arc Arminger’s, which are cool the first time you see them in the second level but not so much when you encounter them in almost every level after that.
Iron Man 2 is a missed opportunity that seems like it was crafted by another development team than the ones who handled the first Iron Man game. While it does have a decent story that won’t take you long to complete and good voice acting with exception of the Black Widow sound alike, I can’t recommend this version of Iron Man 2 to anyone other than the hardest of the hardcore Iron Man fans.