Last year's summer blockbuster, Iron Man, was a surprising hit. The game? Not so much.
The next film in the franchise isn't due for another year, meaning Sega's internal San Francisco studio has a lot of time left to work on Iron Man 2. Already six months into development, Iron Man 2 will have nearly two years of development by the time it releases, benefiting from some recycled tech and assets from the first game. Certainly, the team should have a much easier road for the sequel than the first -- but will it produce a good game? We're not entirely sure.
There are certainly some good ideas being worked into the sequel. For example, the game now features indoor environments, something that was apparently absent in the first game (seriously?). Sega's also adding on-rails flying sections to the game. In one scene, we saw the titular hero flying out of (what else?) an exploding factory. Finally, Sega's promising some ridiculously large bosses. A "mini-boss" that we saw was about the size of a small warehouse. The main bosses, we're told, will tower above that.
A strong emphasis will be placed on close-range melee combat. Robots punching robots? We're all for that. To keep things especially cinematic, Iron Man 2 will also utilize QTEs.
Despite these promising concepts, it's clear that Iron Man 2 was shown off much too early. What we saw was a buggy, seemingly unplayable mess. Once again, one of the problems with this game (and retained from the original) appears to be the inability to properly lock on to targets. The camera flew around wildly, and Iron Man had trouble landing the appropriate lasers -- or punches -- on enemy machines.
More troubling, the "showcase" of the demo, the battle against the not-so-mini-boss, was plagued with even more problems. Once again, Iron Man couldn't seem to hit the shining weak points, seemingly due to a camera that fought against the player. One of the robot's attacks involves it jumping onto Iron Man, threatening to crush him beneath its weight. The player must rapidly tap a button to lift the leg and escape. It's a cool concept, but it's not so much fun when you see it for the umpteenth time. In terms of attacks, this boss certainly didn't seem to have much variety.
There's still a lot of time until Iron Man 2's planned April release, but there's clearly a lot that needs to be done to get the game in working order. Considering the, ahem, underwhelming delivery of the first game, we're not entirely ready to think Iron Man 2 can -- or will -- be fixed in time.