There are no strings on Iron Man VR, and it makes all the difference.
Sometimes, when a game makes the jump to another platform, very little changes. All it takes from us is a couple of new lines of text to outline any performance issues and that’s that. That’s not the case with Iron Man VR, though the structure of the game hasn’t changed. In terms of content, this Meta Quest 2 version is nearly identical to the original PSVR release, which we reviewed back in 2020.
Playing the Quest 2 version has given us a greater appreciation for Iron Man VR‘s storyline, certainly. Because while it doesn’t take place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, we always felt that Tony Stark got off a little too easy when it came to ditching his arms business.
Not so here. The first level, after a training section, sees you essentially shutting down the Gunsmith, an AI copy of himself that he created to help design weapons. Your reaction may differ but it immediately gave us second thoughts about Stark. Yes, he’s a smug arse but here he’s a smug arse who created sentient life and then shoved it in a cupboard because of a change of heart. And, inevitably, his sins are going to catch up with him.
But what really elevates this Quest 2 version of Iron Man VR is its controls. One of the major problems with the PSVR version of the game was that you had to deal with a) a wire and b) wonky tracking. We’d recommend you read our original review for more about that.
In theory, the idea of being Iron Man, in full virtual reality, is extremely cool. But in practice, the PSVR version of the game never gave you complete control. You’d spin around only to find, because of the way PSVR works, the game would lose track of you. The Quest 2 version fixes that, and it’s a much better game for it. There’s no fumbling around this time, because the Quest 2’s tracking makes playing a much smoother, immersive experience: you can spin around and fire knowing you’ll be firing in the direction you want.
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Yes, you’re still fighting drones and, admittedly, they aren’t the most exciting enemies to tackle. But being Iron Man, complete with 360 degree movement, feels fantastic. Blasting away at enemies is a breeze, as is soaring around each level. Punch, blast, it’s all the mind – and, thanks to Iron Man VR‘s responsive controls, you can pull off a wealth of manoeuvres almost as quickly as you can think of them.
Gone a little too far past your objective? Spin around and fire your repulsor gauntlets and catch up. It will take an awful lot of practice to fly like Iron Man and we still feel faintly cheated that Iron Man VR doesn’t give you proper jet boots. Our daring plane rescue was markedly less impressive because we kept smacking into the fuselage, but was it fun? Absolutely.
Sitting here, with our Meta Quest 2 on charge, it’s easy to pin down Iron Man VR’s flaws. As we noted in our review of the PSVR version, some of the enemies are pretty bland. Even the more interesting ones crop up a bit more often than we’d have liked. And, while some of the levels are excellent – the plane and helicarrier missions for a start – there’s room for improvement.
Take the city levels. Graphically, the Meta Quest 2 compares favourably to the PSVR version but it still feels like you’re roaming a set. Sure: you wouldn’t go out if Iron Man was fighting robot tanks, we get that. But the lack of Grand Theft Auto-style traffic or any sign of life means they fail to convince.
The dialogue too, is a little odd in places. Why would Tony Stark refer to Happy Hogan as “Happy Hogan”, rather than just Happy? There are some other oddities, too. It bothered us that we could throw our tablet through a window as if there were no glass there.
But, unlike the PSVR version, the sensation of being Iron Man is are to distract you from the bulk of Iron Man VR’s flaws. Yes, you’re fighting robot after robot but you’re doing it with such style and control (when you get the hang of things) that the sensation carries you through the rough patches. Though we’d still like a sequel where we get to punch Doctor Doom through a brick wall.
Is Iron Man VR the best VR superhero game out there? No – that honour has to go to Megaton Rainfall. But it’s still up there, and thanks to the Quest 2’s superior tracking, this is a much better experience than it was on PSVR. And so, you’re a Meta Quest 2-owning Marvel fan, you won’t regret stepping into Tony Stark’s iron underpants.