iron man vr review

Marvel’s Iron Man VR Review – A High Flying Quest 2 Essential

I AM IRON MAN

I’ll cop to the fact that I’ve fallen off the VR bandwagon in recent years. When the original iteration of the PlayStation VR brough the tech into everyday living rooms and made it accessible I was all-in, regularly picking up new VR game releases and showing off the headset to my friends. As time passed and apartments grew smaller though, it started to fall by the wayside until, eventually, the PS5 came along and I didn’t bother mailing in for one of those annoying adapter doodads to make the PS VR work.

That’s all a very longwinded road to my point – which is that the last great VR game I played was Marvel’s Iron Man VR on the PS4. So when I was given the opportunity to check the game out again in its fresh new form on the Meta Quest 2 I was keen to see what improvements the team at Camouflaj had made in the two years since and how the wireless freedom and intuitive controllers on the Quest 2 could enhance the high-flying experience.

iron man vr

For those who’ve yet to check it out, Marvel’s Iron Man VR puts players firmly in Tony Stark’s iconic red suit as he battles a mysterious activist named Ghost, who’s taken to using Stark’s pre-Avengers weapons and tech to target Stark Industries locations around the globe. It’s a brisk, six-plus-hour adventure completely separate from the Marvel Cinematic Universe and it’s realistically just a thin setup to get you flying around and shooting at stuff as Iron Man, but it works well enough and means that all you really need to worry about is getting into the action.

And that’s where Marvel’s Iron Man VR truly thrives, in handing players one of the most exciting power fantasies possible in a superhero game – the ability to fly around and blast evil drones with total freedom of movement. Without downplaying the incredible work that Camouflaj has done in producing the game itself, it has to be said that the idea of embodying Iron Man really feels like a shoo-in when it comes to the capabilities of current, consumer-level VR setups. If you’ve watched even a minute of the guy in action in the Marvel films you’ll have seen him whooshing about, using his hand thrusters to navigate the skies, and it’s that exact action that works as the glue binding the Marvel’s Iron Man VR experience together.

iron man vr

It was mostly true of the already-aged PlayStation Move controllers, but it’s especially true here; simulating Stark’s thrusters and assortment of weaponry with two motion controllers in hand feels fantastic. It’s absolutely one of those have-to-feel-it-to-believe-it situations but, still, believe it. Within mere minutes of being shown the basics, you’ll be jetting around with reckless abandon, deftly manoeuvring through cliffs and darting around groups of enemy drones. It’s shockingly natural in practice and the sense of genuinely being in mid-air and piloting the Iron Man suit is scarily palpable.

Through the dozen chapters in the game’s campaign you’ll slowly amass a growing arsenal of iconic Iron Man weaponry, customising your suit at Tony’s mansion with different weapons, upgrades and even liveries using points earned in missions. It’s a great little escalation of power and equipping different weapons into slots in your armour keeps things simple when you’re out and shooting. You’ve essentially got two fire modes per arm, a primary fire that works with palms out and a secondary one with palms down. Admittedly it did take me a little while to feel like I was properly executing the hand positions necessary to switch between these in the heat of the moment, and the game definitely struggles to make the distinction at times, but when it does work it’s a (literal) blast.

RELATED:  The PlayStation VR2 PC Adapter Has Been Officially Revealed And Here's The Australian Price/Release Date

iron man vr

Iron Man VR is at its best when you’re in the heat of battle, juggling between the handful of different enemy drone types and figuring out in the moment which deft mid-air moves you’ll need to pull off at any given time. With the excellent tracking and intuitive layout on the Quest 2’s controllers, it’s all an absolute breeze. There’s also something to be said about being able to fully and physically rotate in 360 degrees with the Quest 2 headset on – something you couldn’t do on the PS VR with it bound to the console by a cumbersome cable. That fact alone quite nearly transforms the entire experience enough to make it worth double dipping if you played the PlayStation iteration, but you’re also getting a version of the game that looks sharper, performs better and is missing the egregious load times of old. That’s a huge plus.

What I’m less sold on are the frequent moments between missions where you play as the un-suited Stark in psuedo-cutscenes where you’ll walk around various areas and chat to other characters to move the story along. Most of these are fine, and the opportunities you get to explore a bit and play with different interactive bits like Stark’s various gadgets or the hoop challenge arcade game he seemingly has tucked away are a nice little diversion and good use of VR/motion controls. A lot of the time though you’ll get rooted to one spot while events take place and given how much momentum the rest of the gameplay has I would find myself getting antsy and wanting to at least be able to walk around a bit. That’s a miniscule gripe among everything else the game has to offer though, and if anything it’s just further proof of how fun and explosive the core missions are.

A code for Marvel’s Iron Man VR as well as the Meta Quest 2 hardware required to play it were provided by Camouflaj and Oculus Studios for the purpose of this review.

iron man vr review
Conclusion
Marvel's Iron Man VR was a great PS VR title, but it's an absolutely essential Quest 2 game. Everything that was great about its original iteration and its fantastic-feeling Iron Man power fantasy is still here, but it's all improved immensely by the freedom and performance offered by the new hardware. If you've got a Quest 2, this is a must-have in your library.
Positives
Flying and shooting as Iron Man feels incredible
Suits the Quest 2 headset and controllers perfectly
A decent variety of gameplay and set piece moments throughout
Looks great and performs well compared to the PS VR version
Negatives
Story feels like an afterthought
Weapon controls can sometimes get lost in the heat of things
8.5