Every game, no matter how big or small, needs to have that proverbial hook. Which reels you in for a long run and ensures that you get what you paid for. And while some games excel at this either through sheer fun factor, entertainment, tension or intrigue, then others, such as the recently released Marvel’s Iron Man VR, do so by developing on a feature which previously has been seen as nothing more than a simple gimmick. And while some may argue that VR, of any kind, is in fact a viable platform, then we have to be honest with each other, and admit that meaningful VR experiences are few and far between, and that the vast majority of virtual reality offerings are nothing more than demos with a price tag.
Marvel’s Iron Man VR, in many ways, has revolutionized the way in which VR can be used. And sure, you still need a headset, and a pair of overpriced controllers to play it, but how it utilizes both of those, beats other VR games by a country mile.
Nearly every major PSVR release suffers from the same issue – the controls. Some try to circumvent it by creating dull and boring mechanics, such as the cover-to-cover movement system of PSVR’s BRAVO TEAM; whereas others take the easy way out and force you to move using the face buttons of the move controllers, or a cop-out teleportation mechanic. And thankfully, Camouflaj has learnt from its competitors’ mistakes, and created a control scheme which is not just intuitive and easy to use, but also one which makes sense.
While in the game, you will spend the vast majority of time jetting around using your suit of armour. And you do so by holding triggers and facing the palms of your hands away from the direction to which you want to head in. This allows you to easily move from point A to point B, pursue targets, dodge debris, or even stop in an instant, as whenever you turn your palms around with the triggers pressed in, you come to an abrupt stop.
Marvel’s Iron Man VR gives you complete freedom of movement, and unlike some suggested, it never keeps you on static rails. Every in-game mission requires you to fully use Iron Man armour’s capabilities. And while Marvel’s Iron Man VR is a title which has an incredibly low entry level, then it will take you quite some time to master it. As it is so incredibly intricate, and it features so many micromechanics, that you are likely to miss some of them, if not most, on your first, or even the second playthrough.
When Marvel’s Spider-Man first launched on PlayStation 4, many argued that it is the closest one can get to feeling like a true comic book hero. However, the core design of Marvel’s Iron Man VR is meticulously crafted, that it easily beats anything that Insomniac’s comic book epic has to offer. And I can’t believe that I am saying this, but this is all thanks to that little-known gimmick, known as VR.
Marvel’s Iron Man VR features a steady drip of combat, which has you fight many hostiles and villains. And while it feels great to smash through drones, and other nuisances with your rocket fists, lasers, and beams, then unfortunately, the same cannot be said about boss encounters. And this is mainly because they are, by all means, a bunch of nobodies. I’m sure that some absolute nerds will say that Ghost and Laser Man are CLASSIC Marvel Villains. But for the game of this stature, to use such obscure characters instead of people such as Doctor Doom, it is rather disappointing.
Surprisingly, Marvel’s Iron Man VR features a fair amount of customization. And such allows you to alter your active abilities, passive skills, and most important, your weapons. But there is a catch, unlock points are linked to your performance during a mission. So, if you jump from one continuation screen onto another, you will probably have to panhandle for your skill points on the street. And while it is a highly reasonable to have skill-based reward system in place in almost any game, then a VR experience probably isn’t it. As many suffer from locomotive issues which VR has a tendency to activate. And if you are forced to rip off your headset because you have to run to the bathroom, or because you can no longer keep your balance, then you should not be punished for it.
As far as visual customization goes, then there is a fair bit of it. However, such is limited solely to your suit’s colour patterns. So, if you were expecting to don the MK1 suit, or one of the countless suits which Iron Man wore in the now classic 1990s cartoon, then you are in for a disappointment. Sure, you can make your suit silver, to match the MK1’s shade, but it is still the same suit. And while the Captain America themed Patriot suit features some additional detail, then it is a pre-order bonus, and it is still largely the same suit of armour.
If you are still uncertain about jumping onto the VR bandwagon, then Marvel’s Iron Man VR might, but probably will be the game to persuade you to pull out your wallet. As it is, at least to me, the definitive VR experience. And sure, I might have had more fun playing Arizona Sunshine on Co-Op with my friends, but I have never found a single player VR game to be as engaging as Marvel’s Iron Man VR. And if Sony was still uncertain whether it has ‘’the’’ flagship PSVR title, then it has definitely found it now, because Marvel’s Iron Man VR is the kind of game which shifts hardware.
As Marvel’s Iron Man VR is a PlayStation 4 exclusive, or rather PlayStation VR exclusive, then I feel it is important to underline in these closing segments, that if you are lucky, the complete VR bundle will run you well over £350 – if you already own Sony’s console. And while I am wholeheartedly recommending Marvel’s Iron Man VR, then I also feel obliged to say that now, perhaps, isn’t the time to go all in, into VR. We are currently living in some very uncertain times, and the entire quarantine debacle has inflated the entry price of PSVR exponentially. So, if you must play Marvel’s Iron Man VR at any cost, then either piece your VR set piece by piece, trying to save at least a bit of money. Or wait until the world gets back to normal, because paying £140 for two 2010 move controllers is not reasonable.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Marvel's Iron Man VR Review
Gameplay - 8/10
Graphics - 8/10
Sound - 8/10
Replay Value - 8/10
While not entirely perfect, Marvel’s Iron Man VR is by far the most complete, polished, and awe-inspiring experience to be released on PlayStation VR to date. But it does come at a rather steep price.