Of course, it's when this freeform flight is comboed with the combat that Iron Man VR is at its best. Across its dozen or so main missions, you'll be battling against corrupted Stark drones in a bunch of diverse locations. Whether you're defending the S.H.I.E.L.D Helicarrier or ambushed in the urban jungle of Shanghai, there's always a stunning vista to battle against.
These locations, however, work better as distant canvases than they do up close. Though the art direction is always solid, the relative lack of rendering power on the PSVR can hamper the immersion somewhat. Get too close to a skyscraper and the muddy textures become hard to ignore, and fly too high and the locations can appear a little flat, with no signs of life on the ground. That's undoubtedly a purposeful design decision to make sure players don't experience any extreme nausea or vertigo, but the lack of depth at certain altitudes is admittedly a touch disappointing.
Likewise, the levels themselves are repeated too many times across the campaign. Returning to prior locations breeds a sense of familiarity that damages the initial spectacle, and makes you notice the drawbacks more than you otherwise would.
Fortunately, you barely have time to notice during the missions themselves. Though the objectives aren't all that varied (a good chunk amount to disarming a set of bombs or protecting areas against waves of enemies), they do keep the action intense and force you to feel the responsibility of being a superhero.
That early Shanghai mission sees buildings full of civilians rigged to explode, forcing you fly to each one, analyse where the bombs are located and disarm them while fending off a barrage of drones. In a similar vein, the opener has you blown out of an aeroplane and making sure it isn't destroyed (a sequence that doubles as the best Superman game we'll probably ever get, now I think of it).
The mental process that happens during these sequences highlight the game at its best; the devs don't simply get you acting like Iron Man, but thinking like him as well.
In its best moments, what the developers have understood is that it isn't just the core components of flying or fighting that make a superhero game. It's actually, you know, saving people. Frustratingly, these highs are again met with lows, as from the mid-game onward a lot of objective types are repeated or replaced with long, drawn-out missions that simply have you battling wave after wave of drones.
Thankfully, the combat mechanics themselves are responsive and intuitive, and there are plenty of options to choose from. A flick of the wrist is all it takes to flip between your primary and secondary weapons, while ground pounds and punches compliment the ranged blasts and nicely combo into each other. Dodging and positioning is of course important in keeping the upper hand, and knowing exactly which weapons to use in which situation, while dodging and weaving out the way of incoming attacks, gives the gameplay enough depth to not get stale.
Because of this, Iron Man VR is very much a full body game, for better or worse. You're going to need a decent amount of space to make the most of the experience, as the game excels when you're moving and twisting around to track enemies attacking from all sides. There is a thrill from this full 360 gameplay, and while occasionally the limitations of the aged PS Move controllers show themselves with a momentary loss of tracking, it's rare.
Of course this set up isn't ideal for everyone, and you can play it sat down, but it's a slightly lesser experience overall.
[Continued on Page 3]