Everyone wants to be a superhero, right? Well, PlayStation VR has already made that possible on a few occasions, with players able to take on the role of the BEST superhero (that’s just facts folks) in Batman: Arkham VR and the SECOND best superhero (again, just facts) with the two Spider-Man VR experiences… I guess it’s only fair that the THIRD best superhero gets to join in on the action too.
Enter Marvel’s Iron Man VR, a PlayStation VR exclusive adventure that sees players stepping into the shoes of Tony Stark and his brilliantly destructive suit as he looks to soar through the skies and destroy any enemies that are in his path. It’s every bit as exciting and funs as it sounds too, with developer Camouflaj certainly delivering a virtual reality escapade that truly allows players to see what it would feel like to harness the iconic red and gold suit.
Marvel’s Iron Man VR pits players against the cyber-genius hacker Ghost, who uses some of Tony Stark’s old technology against him as a means to seek revenge for all of the lives that were lost through the use of his weapons prior to his adoption of the Iron Man mantle. This leads you on a tale that takes a few twists-and-turns that can be a little bit predictable, but ultimately feels as action-packed and engaging as any movie or graphic novel in the Marvel universe.
It’s worth noting from the get-go that this Iron Man adventure doesn’t tie into the Marvel Cinematic Universe nor is it linked to the upcoming Avengers title from Square Enix, with its narrative attached only to this game. That’s a good thing though, with it giving Marvel’s Iron Man VR plenty of freedom in how the story unfolds and what it decides to do with each character. You shouldn’t go in expecting any over-the-top or extravagant changes to the Iron Man formula, but there’s still room for a few surprises that are a testament to the developer’s creative freedom.
Marvel’s Iron Man VR makes you feel like you really ARE Iron Man, with the game having players tilt the Move Controllers to take off with their with thrusters, aim accurately with their weapons to blast away at enemies, and use all of the manoeuvrability tricks at their disposal to soar through the skies and shoot at the same time. You’ve got plenty of weapons in your arsenal that’ll genuinely make you feel like you’re using this pumped-up and powerful suit, whilst the immersion offered when you’re in the midst of battle is certainly impressive. Utilising all of these different things across each of the game’s missions is incredibly satisfying, with the varied and open locales you traverse across all lending themselves well to the experience.
One thing that I’m glad to report is that Marvel’s Iron Man VR has plenty of accessibility options in place to give players a comfortable experience when playing. There are different turning options for those who prefer snap turning over smooth, you can add vignettes to ensure that motion doesn’t feel tummy-twisting, whilst you’ll get to use a teleport-based system to move around when you’re outside of the suit and exploring Tony’s home. I can imagine that Marvel’s Iron Man VR will appeal to plenty of younger gamers or those who aren’t that experienced in virtual reality, so it’s good to see that there are plenty of options in place to ensure that the game can even be enjoyed by those who don’t have their virtual reality bearings yet.
Whether you’re simply flying around the skies or shooting your enemies, Marvel’s Iron Man VR is always a lot of fun to play. I was a little worried as to how the controls would feel thanks to its use of thrusters and the need for full movement, but they’re all intuitively implemented in a way that just feels natural. You know how Tony utilises his hands to traverse in the Iron Man movies? Well, it feels exactly like that, except you won’t have any mishaps in your garage by blasting yourself against the ceiling or falling through floors.
The combat always feels satisfying too, with the unique array of weapons all handling in a variety of ways that utilise the suit (and the in-game controls) differently. You’ve got standard blasts, homing missiles, bombs, an effective ground-pound, and the ability to throw a powerful punch at your foes, just to name a few of the tricks up your mech sleeves. Do you remember that laser that Iron Man uses towards the end of the second movie to wipe out multiple drones at once? That also makes an appearance and is every bit as cool to use in the game as you would imagine.
Marvel’s Iron Man VR just absolutely nails how it would feel to be Iron Man and it ensures that the game is a hell of a lot of fun to play. There are a good selection of objectives to complete across the game’s open-levels which ensures that there’s plenty of variety to be found in the tasks you’re performing too, though ultimately it all boils down to flying around and beating down baddies with your abilities… it’s an absolute blast.
Of course, there’s more to Iron Man than just a powerful suit, with Tony Stark himself also taking a starring role in the game. Admittedly, from a gameplay perspective a lot of these sections just feel like filler content to partake in between missions, with small activities to indulge in and plenty of little Easter Eggs to be found as you explore your plush Malibu home. However, you’re also able to customise your suit during these sections, with the player able to apply upgrades, change up the weaponry, and even alter the colour schemes (which always seems a little worthless in a first-person game, but still feels cool given you can check out the suit in front of you in virtual reality). It all makes for a nice change of pace and is something that I think will be especially appreciated by Iron Man fans. I mean, we’d all like to spend a bit of extra time with Tony Stark himself following the events of Avengers: Endgame, right?
Whilst Marvel’s Iron Man VR’s gameplay is undeniably frantic and fun, there were some aspects of the game that didn’t always deliver. The loading times were particularly problematic, with each lengthy sequence feeling tiresome when waiting to dive back into the virtual reality action. They’re quite frequent too and can certainly hinder the game’s immersion, especially when you’re in the midst of a story sequence or following an epic battle.
There were some framerate issues that would kick in during some of the game’s more busier sections too, which could be a little bit disorientating. It’s common knowledge that stuttering gameplay is a big no-no in virtual reality, so it’s a shame to see it occur here. Fortunately, this doesn’t happen on such a regular basis as the load times so it’s hard to complain about it too much. When they do kick in, though? It’s noticeable.
These issues certainly don’t stop Marvel’s Iron Man VR from delivering an enjoyable experience though, with the roughly seven-hour campaign offering plenty of thrills for the player to indulge in. Those seeking more fun antics with the Iron Man suit will be glad to see there are plenty of optional challenges to complete along the way too, whilst some additional unlockables, upgrades, and Easter eggs to discover certainly give the player plenty to do outside of the main story. It’s definitely one of the meatier single-player PlayStation VR titles out there, with plenty of bang for your buck offered in this superhero adventure.
Marvel’s Iron Man VR delivers an excellent action-packed experience that really allows players to see how fricking brilliant it’d be to be Tony Stark. Besides the fact that the Iron Man suit itself is intuitively designed to feel satisfying to use whether you’re simply flying around or blasting away at enemies with its vast arsenal, the game also just so happens to offer an engaging storyline and genuinely enjoyable missions to complete too.
Some loading issues and the occasional performance hiccup do see the game falling a little short in some aspects of its design, but for the most part it really captures the vibe of being Iron Man perfectly. Marvel’s Iron Man VR is simply the best representation of being a superhero that I’ve played in virtual reality.
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Platform(s): PlayStation VR