Marvel’s Iron Man VR Review
Tony Stark and Pepper Potts return in an exciting, exclusive new story by Camouflaj with Marvel’s Iron Man VR. Blending together the high-octane lifestyle of everyone’s favorite billionaire superhero philanthropist with the latest and greatest in Sony’s PlayStation VR technology is definitely an exciting combination on paper – does it live up to one of Marvel’s most iconic characters?
Marvel’s Iron Man VR Review
The story begins with Tony Stark and Pepper Potts celebrating Stark Industries’ departure from making weapons and military applications, opting for a morally translucent direction to developing clean energy solutions. In doing so, they destroy the last of Stark Industries’ military drones, pack away the Weaponsmith AI, and eventually make Ms. Potts the CEO of Stark Industries in an effort to bury the demons of Mr. Stark’s past. And it works – at least for a couple of years.
During a routine plane journey (as routine as it can be sitting inside a veritable sky fortress made by Stark Industries), Stark, Pepper, and Friday are attacked by drones bearing a mysterious similarity to those Stark Industries decommissioned all those years ago. Cue one of the most thrilling experiences I’ve ever had whilst wearing a PlayStation VR headset.
As the side of the plane explodes, Tony’s secure case carrying the Iron Man suit is sucked into the troposphere and the plane begins to descend uncontrollably. Fighting through to the cockpit and maybe grabbing a parachute are all normal things to consider in such a manic situation, but since when is Tony Stark ever normal? Heading for the burning hole left by the droid attack, Mr. Stark leaps out of the plane with little more than his cocky attitude and the Iron Man suit, which is rapidly falling through the sky, somewhere.
What follows is Iron Man’s signature deployment of the suit, piece by piece flying through the air until he is fully equipped and ready to take down anything. Through this entire sequence, the player is shooting down enemies and dodging fire, all the while reaching out to beckon the different parts of the suit. It’s one of the games most thrilling and rewarding segments, and that all takes place before Tony has to help land the plane, putting out fires and tearing down the landing gears.
Each of the more intense action sequences of Marvel’s Iron Man VR keeps you engaged, from the opening scene to the last. The controls are immediately fluid, recognizable even to those with limited VR experience, and everything comes together to truly make you feel like the ultimate badass.
The one true goal of this title is to put players into the booster boots of one of Marvel’s most beloved characters, and it does so brilliantly. Beginning with basic blasters before upgrading the suit to feature cluster bombs, rockets, and shielding, from start to finish, the focal point of the adventure remains true to the source material and is incredibly exciting to play. Unfortunately, and for no real fault of its own, Marvel’s Iron Man VR struggles to deliver in other, more standard areas.
While some aspects of the environment, such as the Iron Man suit and Tony’s Malibu Mansion, look fantastic, other elements of the visuals would not look out of place on the PlayStation 2. The narrative driven campaign takes place across a dozen or so missions, with many of the areas repeated throughout. The many training and time trial challenges on the Malibu beach are great, a small area with the mansion overlooking the ocean and arch rock formations scattering the beach just beginnings you to fly through them, but going to Shanghai the first time was a bore, and you go there more than once.
In an attempt to create a living skyline, a large free roaming environment in which to battle, the developers highlight the graphical restrictions of the PlayStation VR. Empty streets, roads void of vehicles, buildings that are basic objects splattered with yellow patterns to resemble windows; it’s a jarring contrast to an otherwise graphically impressive VR experience. Even the joy of finding the Stark Industries and Osborn Corp buildings is overshadowed by its limited visuals.
The technical limitations of PlayStation’s ageing VR continue to hinder the experience throughout. There is a lot of downtime between levels. You will often spend up to one to two minutes loading into Tony’s Mansion, only to enjoy a brief section of dialogue before yet another one to two minute loading interval into a level.
It’s difficult to judge Marvel’s Iron Man VR poorly when a team of developers is pushing the hardware to its very limits. Camouflaj’s attempt to put players into the Iron Man suit is a valiant one that offers one of PlayStation VR’s most exciting and most memorable experiences to date, even if the VR itself struggles to keep up.
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