Marvel’s Iron Man VR
Publisher: Oculus Studios
Genre(s): Action, Shooting, Virtual Reality
Platform: Meta Quest 2, also available on PSVR and Meta Quest Pro
Age Rating: PEGI 12
Release Date: 03/11//2022
A code was provided for review purposes
Second Time’s the Charm, a Stark Comparison
About two years ago I had the pleasure of reviewing Marvel’s Iron Man VR on the PlayStation’s popular, yet dated, virtual reality headset. I loved it, I honestly did but I felt that it could have been improved on newer hardware due to the outdated tech PlayStation VR is built on. The camera and Move controllers are especially outdated by today’s standards.
Step forward to today and out of the blue, I was contacted by Camouflaj themselves to review the newer, Quest 2 version of the game. Being a massive VR fan and an avid Marvel nerd, I could not turn down that one, could I? How does this new version measure up to its PSVR cousin? How did it fair on newer hardware? Light up your thrusters, prepare your repulsors and let’s suit up!
Free from the Shackles of PSVR
With it being two years ago I did go back and re-read my Daily Star review for this game to remember what I said, it was a little while ago and I have played many games since that one. It’s certainly nice for developers to remember your review and from what I have experienced, all my criticisms have been worked on. More on that succulent, exciting stuff later.
So, as the title suggests Iron Man VR tells the tale of, well, Iron Man. You play Tony Stark, the very confident and very wealthy, playboy come inventor. You are trying to guide Stark Industries away from military weapons and more into positive outlets for him and his company’s creativity. Unfortunately, it is not too long before things go a bit awry. You begin to be haunted by a hacker called Ghost who taunts Tony and makes him relive his past mistakes.
As always I try and stay away from story beats as I like for players to experience them for themselves. I will say, however, that as with the first Iron Man game on PSVR, I found the story to be interesting, have good pacing and not only does it have rip-roaring, awesome set-pieces but also shows the human, softer side to Tony as he looks introspectively at himself.
Skills To Pay the Bills
As you are jetting around the globe, chasing Ghost or blasting some slippery drones out of the sky you acquire upgrade points to spend on your suit. These missions range from time trial courses and VR tests to story-based set pieces. Replaying them to get better scores is rewarding, especially as the controls become second nature.
The upgrades you are rewarded with are fun to tinker with too. Want rockets on your arms, they’re yours, want better armour, also yours. Iron Man’s suit is yours to play with and it’s always exciting unlocking new toys. After all, we are all grown-up children, the toys are just more expensive.
Freedom To Roam and Soar
It seems that Camouflaj, free of the ancient shackles of the PSVR, has given Iron Man the freedom to soar. Gone is the front-facing PSVR camera, the ancient, 10-year-old move controllers and the cable tethering you in place is no more. Now we have the freedom to roam, improved graphics and it all feels incredibly immersive and how I imagine Camouflaj wanted it to feel from the outset.
From a control standpoint, everything feels more naturalistic and less restrictive. In Iron Man VR you use your hands for most of the action, thrusting through the air, firing your repulsors and aiming rockets. Due to the Quest 2 not needing a camera though, I found everything more straightforward and responsive. I did not have to think about constantly looking forward at the camera or worry about my hands not being tracked correctly. I was free, free as a bird. Well, if the bird was a millionaire wrapped in an iron shell anyway.
A Whirling Iron-Clad Ballerina
The improvements in controls and tracking were immediate. In the initial time trial course you do, it took me a few goes on PSVR to get a decent time I was happy with. On this version though I flew through it the first time. Just the fact you can turn freely and move around in your play area is a massive boost to both the immersion and gameplay. As I was flying through the air, aiming for my next checkpoint, on the PSVR I would have to use the snap turning whenI needed to do a sharp turn or shoot something behind me. Not in this version, free of my PSVR camera and cable, I was free to whirl around my living room like an iron-clad ballerina. It was awesome.
I also found most of the set pieces a lot more satisfying. Rather than having to snap turn in mid-air to deal with hordes of robotic adversaries, I would just glide around my room, dodging projectiles, being badass and probably looking like a right wally. Who cares though right? I am Iron Man. The updated hardware and some tweaks to the controls really made me concentrate less on where I was in the room and more on the game itself, which is what we all want, right?
Crisp and Colourful
Graphically, I am not sure if it’s due to the hardware or work on the software itself but this updated version looks sharper. It’s more luminous and the resolution has definitely been improved. This is especially noticeable in menus and when dealing with text. Sometimes on the PSVR version, as with a lot of games on the platform, I found myself squinting to read some items, not here though, everything is crisp, clear and immediately legible.
One of my biggest gripes with the version I initially reviewed was the black loading screens. I feel they massively ruined the immersion and yanked me out of the VR experience. While they still exist in this version they are much shorter, less than 5 seconds by my count, less frequent and far, far less intrusive. I think a hell of a lot of work has been put into this area to keep the player grounded in the world and its narrative. It’s night and day from the PSVR version and makes the initial issue I had with the game non-existent. Brilliant stuff.
A Top Quality Glow-Up
I have to hand it to Camouflaj. Free from old hardware they have been set free to spread their wings. Iron Man VR on the Quest 2 is a much-improved experience and I loved the initial release of the game. This version is more immersive, less restrictive, better looking and just damn right more pleasurable. I soared around my living room free of cameras and cables. I whirled around firing repulsors at all angles and treasured every second. Anyone who owns a Quest 2 should buy Iron Man VR. It’s not only one of the best Quest experiences but one of my all-time favourite experiences in the medium to boot.
Rapid Reviews Rating
4.5 out of 5
If you would like to buy Marvel’s Iron Man VR on the Meta Quest 2, you can here.
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.