Posts Tagged ‘iron man 2’

It’s like the Oscars, only without anything of the glamour. Or the TV coverage. Or the stars. So, nothing like the Oscars, then.

Underappreciated Gem of the Year

Winner: Alpha Protocol

It’s buggy, occasionally clumsy and short. But where Alpha Protocol succeeds is its charm. Players are given control of a rogue spy and asked to choose how to interact with people and what order to play the missions in, but it all seems to have purpose. While Mass Effect might be a better, deeper and more meaningful RPG, Alpha Protocol clocks in at a meagre six hours and encourages its players to go back through and find out what happens when they do things a little differently. It’s not the best game, but by God is it deep once you discover the vast number of options at your disposal.

Runner-Up: Alan Wake

Once again a tight, well-written game is ignored. Seems that players want explosions and gunplay, not fantastic and memorable characters in an intriguing mystery with emotional depth. Tsk.

Highlight of the Year

Winner: GoldenEye 007

Why does this get the top spot? It’s simple. All the tension, the worry, the stomach-churning doubt that so many millions of gamers went through after it was announced at E3… it was all for nought. GoldenEye 007 is a fantastic remake of an undisputed masterpiece, far and away the best FPS title on the Wii and possibly one of the finest Wii games yet made. This award is given for the moment you realise, ‘Oh my God… it’s actually good!’

Runner-Up: The 3DS

If this was released in December as it should have been, it would be the winner in most of these catagories. Nope, we have to wait until next March to play games in 3D. Without glasses. On a handheld. With over one hundred games in development for it. Including TWO Resident Evil titles. *dribbles*

Disappointment of the Year

Winner: Red Dead Redemption

It’s good. It’s fun. The feeling of exploration and loneliness is second to none. But Marston’s a bastard and players aren’t given a single reason to care about his family. Even when you are reunited with them, they come across as total jerks. The best parts of this game are in the final third, when you visit the wonderous northern landscape, but that’s after around twenty hours of playing. Vastly overrated by the gaming press, this is definately not worth paying full price for.

Runner-Up: Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode 1

Sixteen years is a long time to wait for the continuation of a very simple story. The reason for this game, as good as it was, getting nominated as a disappointment is simply that it was too familiar to the original Mega Drive titles and not enough of its own thing. Also, it’s bloody expensive.

Bastard of the Year

Winner: John Marston

He has a problem with killing… but he’ll do it anyway. He wants answer, now, dammit… but he’ll wait patiently and get jerked around in the meantime. He’s the baddest mother in the West… but he’ll work for grave robbers with no incentive. He’ll do anything to protect his family… but if he doesn’t like how you’re raising your kids, he’ll talk down at you. Bastard.

Runner-Up: Sonic the Hedgehog

Sixteen years? You made us wait sixteen years while you figured out that what we wanted is to run left to right really fast? And then you release the sequel we always wanted (Sonic 4 Episode 1) and your first great 3D game in the same goddamn year? You bastard!

DLC of the Year:

Winner: The Passing (Left 4 Dead 2)

Not only are The Passing’s three short maps fun, but the game comes complete with ‘The Mutations’, a special feature that changes the rules on a (current) bi-weekly basis. At the time of writing, developers Valve are encouraging users to create their own Mutations on the PC and these are now being incorporated into the updates. For the first time ever, user-created games are arriving on the 360, and it’s a hell of a good thing.

Runner- Up: Undead Nightmare (Red Dead Redemption)

The add-on is funnier, faster and far superior to the entire game.

Dick Punch of the Year

Winner: Alan Wake

You pay forty pounds for a game, you’d expect there to be an ending. Nope, you have to buy that separately. Twice. Oh, and if you didn’t get the first edition of the game in the week it came out, you have to pay for both add-ons, not just the second. Way to alienate your audience, Remedy.

Runner-Up: The 3DS

Nintendo have recently become the masters of revealing a product just a few scant months before they release it. The Wii’s major releases for the past two years have followed a similar trend: usually revealed in the summer, out by Christmas. When the 3DS was unveiled, everyone placed it at number on their Christmas lists. But then Nintendo did the maths and realised that, actually, they won’t be able to make enough. So now we wait. At least March isn’t that far away anymore.

Piece of Shit of the Year

Winner: Just Dance

Just… just vile.

Runner- Up: Iron Man 2 (DS)

Although the copy reviewed was on the DS, this covers all version of the game. A terrible, terrible title with literally nothing going for it, clumsy controls horrendous graphics and a storyline that had nothing to do with the film.

Game of the Year

Winner: Deadly Premonition

Not everybody likes Deadly Premonition, but the reason it’s taken home the gold prize here is for one very simple reason: it’s different. It’s essentially a murder mystery, but it’s what it’s not that effortlessly turns Deadly Premonition into one of the most unforgettable games of all time. It is not very good. Badly animated, poorly voiced, appallingly written and just plain shit throughout and yet it’s so goddamn compelling. You’ll constantly stop and call your friends over to witness this game with you because it’s hilarious. A unique title and certainly one that deserves more recognition that it’s gotten. If that doesn’t convince you, this will:

Runner-Up: GoldenEye 007

Almost winning the title, GoldenEye 007 is an outstanding remake of one of the greatest games ever made. The fact that it manages to redo almost every aspect of the peerless original, in a brand new way, and throws in the modern gaming extras including stealth, online multiplayer deathmatches and local split-screen chaos add up to one of the most essential purchases of the year.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, one and all. We’ll return in 2011 for more sporadic updates and bitter humour.

Iron Man 2: The Videogame (DS) Review

Ah, games of films. They’re always around when you need them and nine times out of ten they’re a big load of bum droppings. Mercifully, Iron Man 2: The Videogame (subtitle added in case you thought the film had accidentally been released on DS) continues this gloriously crap tradition.

In the film, Tony ‘Iron Man’ Stark teams up with James ‘War Machine’ Rhodes to overcome the combined might of Ivan ‘Whiplash’ Vanko and power-mad weapons manufacturer Justin Hammer. In the game, Iron Man and War Machine split up to take on lots and lots of identical robots to stop ULTIMO, an evil supercomputer. So about as close to the film as gargling camel sweat is to making music (and about as enjoyable an experience.)

There is a story in here somewhere but, to be honest it’s so awful your brain will escape from your ears to avoid taking it in. Just enjoy the heavily-pixellated mug of Samuel L Jackson and try not to read the terrible dialogue.

Playing the game is like slamming your hands in a car door, only not as rewarding. As Iron Man, you fly left-to-right, destroying grey robots via the button controls. As War Machine, you fly left-to-right on the same levels, destroying the same grey robots but with touch screen controls instead. Die and you’ll play a touch screen game of dot-matching to carry on, something that’s irritating as hell when you’re playing as Iron Man.

There are plenty of secrets lurking in the levels (good luck navigating their appalling design, though), such as the completely useless comic book covers, unnoticeable suit damage upgrades and bonus outfits from the characters’ long history. None of them make slightest bit of difference to the game at all and the visuals are so ugly that it’s hard to tell any of the suits apart.

Also, as a reward for defeating certain numbers of enemies, you unlock combat simulation challenges where you, um, get to destroy more of the same enemies. Thanks?

Completing the levels gives you points to spend on moderately useful attack upgrades. While the features for Iron Man are complete rubbish, War Machine’s upgrades actually make a difference to the gameplay. In fact, there’s so much more thought gone into War Machine than Iron Man that the game should be called ‘big grey robot smackdown’.

All in all, Iron Man 2: The Videogame is pure bollocks. Playing as War Machine is the closest thing you’ll find here to something resembling mildly interesting. The rest of the game is a fun-sucking, soul-destroying harpy of a game. Go and watch animals get hit by cars instead – it’s just as depressing and much cheaper.

15%

Iron Man 2 Review

‘Sequels never better the first film,’ says the movie bible. Sure, there are rare exceptions – Aliens, Terminator 2, Hannah Montana 2: Crimson Massacre, etc – but the rule remains true. This rule, however, does not seem to apply to comic book movies, where the sequel – freed from the shackles of the origin story – is nearly always better than the first film. Iron Man 2 keeps this proud tradition alive.

Just a few short months have passed since Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr) revealed himself as Iron Man and the world has never been more peaceful. However, dark forces are gathering against ol’ tin head. One the one side, Ivan Vanko (Mickey Rourke), son of the man who helped Tony’s father Howard invent the original Arc Reactor. Bitter and vengeful, Vanko creates his own Arc Reactor and electric whips, becoming the villain Whiplash. On the other side, the defence department, who demand the Iron Man suit be turned over to the military. If Stark refuses, they are more than willing to turn to industry rival Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell).

But that’s not the end of Stark’s troubles. The palladium core that keeps the shrapnel from entering his heart is now poisoning his blood. Faced with his own mortality, Stark goes off the rails, making Pepper (Gwyneth Paltrow) the CEO, alienating Rhodes (Don Cheadle) and drinking heavily. There’s also the small matter of Natalie Rushman (Scarlett Johansson), Pepper’s new secretary who seems to know a surprising amount of martial arts…

If that synopsis sounds overstuffed then that’s because it is. Iron Man 2 is packed to the gills with new characters, new situations and more things going on. Even director Jon Faverau’s cameo as bodyguard Happy Hogan is extended to four times the length it was in the first film.

In spite of that, Iron Man 2 is a consistent delight, providing spectacle, action, warmth, wit and humour in a tidy package that manages to avoid outstaying its two hour long welcome. The story moves along with the speed of a freight train, cramming in a ridiculous number of ideas and scenes with style and aplomb. One minute Tony Stark is single-handedly defeating the defence department with a few carefully chosen words, the next he’s battling Whiplash in the middle of the Monaco Grand Prix. The pace of the scripting, incredibly, manages to keep everything in check and simultaneously hit all the plot points that a film should – acts 1, 2 and 3 are all very clearly defined.

The downsides are many, unfortunately. The sheer number of things going on in the film means that Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow doesn’t actually have anything to do until the very end, while Whiplash’s backstory and reason for hating Stark is given an incredibly brief five minute explanation in the prologue. There are also only two fights with Whiplash in the entire film and both of those are pitifully short. The few memories Stark has of his father feel a little ham-fisted and lightweight in their attempt to add depth to the drama and really needed expanding. Also, Samuel L Jackson’s appearances as Nick Fury are too few and too short – he needs to have a much bigger role in the expanding universe.

Still, for all of those complaints, there are just as many incredible things to like. Tony Stark is still the only superhero just as interesting outside the costume as he is in it, there’s twice as much humour on offer and about ten times the action. Jon Favreau is clearly a director who can direct ballsy action scenes and the weight of the cast beneath him are talented enough to carry the human drama.

It might not be close to perfect, but Iron Man 2 has a lot to like about it. Bigger, badder, tougher, funnier and more exciting than the first one. Perhaps the rule should be changed to, ‘sequels never better the first film – unless the film is a comic book adaptation.’

4 stars