Cheat Code

Iron Man 2
Xbox 360 (Review Copy) PS3, Wii

OK, we have a predicament. Iron Man is cool, his movies are fun romps, and Sega is a top-notch game publisher, catering well to gamers' tastes (try to tell yourself Bayonetta and Resonance of Fate ain't geared toward the hardcore). So with everything going for it, why does Iron Man 2 fall flat? 

Taking place after the events of the movie, we follow Iron Man and War Machine as they battle Russians, AIM (Advanced Idea Mechanics, a technological terrorist outfit for the comically untrained) and Avengers villain Ultimo. 

Though the Iron Man 2 story is decent, plotted and scripted by respected comic scribe Matt Fraction, the game is plagued with poor voice acting, Black Widow in particular. Both Don Cheadle and Samuel L. Jackson reprise their roles of War Machine and Nick Fury, respectively; while Jackson is OK, Cheadle's performance is completely phoned-in.

For most of the game, you're given the option to switch between Iron Man and War Machine. Iron Man is the nimbler of the two, with energy-based weapons, and War Machine is the bruiser, featuring stronger armor and heavy weaponry. While the two play slightly differently, they're both pretty similar. The level of difficulty isn't all that high; none of the enemies are particularly hard to beat. In fact, the biggest challenge is figuring out the overly complicated weapons and armor upgrade system. But, more importantly, the targeting system here is atrocious — the camera doesn't recenter on another enemy once you dispatch the last. It's not all bad though; the air combat feels improved from the first game, and Iron Man's ability to redirect enemy artillery is particularly satisfying.

While definitely not alone in the bad comic translation category, Iron Man 2 feels like it should be better than it is, which is too bad, because the premise works so well in game form. The execution just feels off, from beginning to end.

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