Sequels. Comic franchises converted to video games. Movie tie-ins. Studios closing their doors. Needless to say, there are a lot of barriers that can narrow the odds of producing a high quality title. It would seem that Iron Man 2 was forced to hurdle all of them. As I mentioned in my recent First Hour review of Iron Man 2, its predecessor was critically panned. But did it deserve it? Or did it fall prey to the echo chamber of hate that often befalls licensed products and spin offs? The truth is, Iron Man had it’s problems. From unwieldy controls to frame rate issues, it seemed like it stumbled each time it would just get up to speed. But it had moments of fun, high intensity super hero action that carried one through to each subsequent mission. Going into a sequel, one assumes that Sega Studios San Francisco, the developer behind both titles would make an effort to improve the failings of the original while trying to maintain those things they got right the first time. The question is, did they pull it off?
After sitting in on the developer conference call for Iron Man 2, I was
hopeful that things were looking good. They talked about a dedication
to listening to fans, and to implementing those lessons they learned
from user feedback on the first game. They talked about simplified
controls, vast levels, destructible environments and deep
customization. They touted a boss that is “bigger than any boss in any
game ever”. And War Machine. War Machine sounded like a perfect
addition to the Iron Man gaming universe. Yes, it sounded like it had
really come together. And so I eagerly anticipated my review copy,
thinking back to the flawed but fun experience I had with the first
You may have seen our recent article covering a conference call presented by Iron Man 2 developer: Sega San Francisco. The First Hour was invited to take part in a small pre-release Q&A with two of the people involved with the production of the game. I sat in on the call and submitted a few questions. It was a good conversation and lots of aspects of the game were touched on, so if you’d like some more insight into what went into making this game what it is, please check it out here.
Ok, now that that’s out of the way, I recently sat down with a copy of Iron Man 2. To state the obvious, Iron Man 2 is the sequel to Iron Man. Both games were released to coincide with the movies of the same name. As most people know, releasing a game on a movies timeline can be... problematic. It often leads to rushed development schedules and lots of cut corners in the final product. Despite this situation, the first game was commercially successful. However, it struggled to win over most critics. With an aggregate score of 45 on Metacritic, that’s probably an understatement. However, I was one of the people who enjoyed the first game (while recognizing it’s many flaws), which is why I was chosen/volunteered to review the sequel.
Much like Greg’s recent review of Saboteur, this game is the final release of a studio before it gets shut down. Sega San Fancisco, formerly Secret Level Games will close shortly after the release of Iron Man 2. This does not bode well for the 3 other gamers besides me crossing their fingers for a Golden Axe: Beast Rider sequel.
I went into this first hour with an open mind and reasonable expectations. Having enjoyed the first game, more of the same with increased graphical performance, control tweaks and mission diversity would be a good start. Let’s see if they were able to squeeze any of that into the first 60 minutes of Iron Man 2.
We recently had the pleasure of attending a conference call with the producer and director of the new video game, Iron Man 2. With the film set to release on May 7th and the game on May 4th, Tony Stark is ready to take on the world again. Iron Man 2 will be available for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii, DS, and PSP. It will be Sega San Francisco's final release (formerly Secret Level) as Sega is closing up shop. Secret Level previously developed Golden Axe: Beast Rider and the first Iron Man game.
Mike is a veteran of both Golden Axe and Iron Man titles so he was the perfect fit to submit questions for the conference and he will be handling the eventual first hour and full reviews of Iron Man 2. Look for those in mid May.