Preview: Iron Man VR – Living the Superhero Dream
Whether you’re a comic book fan or not there’s no denying the fact that the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has shaped modern cinema ever since the first Iron Man movie in 2008. There have been several videogame tie-ins trying to milk the brand and for the most part have felt lacklustre, failing to grab the energy and excitement of being Tony Stark in the world’s most famous armour. Until Iron Man VR that is. Thanks to virtual reality’s (VR) unique ability to put you inside the suit, Iron Man VR could well be the benchmark for future superhero videogames.
First announced back in March 2019 and exclusive to PlayStation VR, developer Camouflaj demoed the title at the recent Gamescom 2019 event in Cologne, Germany, and the queue’s certainly testified to fans interest.
Available was a short 10-15 minute demo which served as an opening tutorial, giving players a chance to test the various flight and weapons controls. Set outside Stark’s LA home from the first couple of movies, by far and away the most important aspect to get right was flight. If you can’t freely soar through the clouds opening up for some intense straight-line speed before suddenly changing tack and nipping in and out of obstacles then the illusion would be broken before it had even begun.
Thankfully the studio has got most of this right from first impressions. There’s a nice boost manoeuvre to speed you along and the all-important hand controls work very well when changing direction or merely hovering. The only real disappointment when it comes to flying is turning, and this is due to the technical restrictions of PlayStation VR. Because of the single-camera setup there’s no turning around to fly gracefully. Instead, you need to press the Square or Triangle buttons on the PlayStation Move controllers to snap turn which does ruin the magic a bit.
That being said, all the flight motion is very comfortable due to using the hand-mounted thrusters. Only those who really suffer terrible nausea maybe effected, that’s something VRFocus can’t test.
Once the basic flight controls have been mastered it was onto the weapon systems. This mainly involved using the thrusters as blasters (as shown in the films). With Iron Man’s targeting systems being automatic simply looking in a target’s direction would bring up a reticule then point hand and fire. Quick and very easy to operate.
The skill came when trying to operate flight and weapons at the same time. This was where Iron Man VR started to shine, flying across the top of the ocean, dipping in and out of rock formations while blasting away at enemies was exactly the kind of experience fans of the character have been looking for. There was also a punch mechanic which dashed you in for a devastating blow when close enough.
Iron Man VR has already created plenty of buzz and excitement thanks to the possibility it’ll be a fully-fledged VR videogame rather than the short demo experience Spider-Man: Far From Home Virtual Reality. And that’s certainly justified from what VRFocus has seen so far. With a launch still expected in 2019, Iron Man VR could very well be one of PlayStation VR’s biggest hits.
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