Platform: Playstation VR (Playstation 4)
Release Date: July 3, 2020
Purchase: Playstation Store
My History with Playstation VR
I have had Playstation VR since the day it launched and I really think virtual reality is something that will be around for a long time. I have had so many cool experiences in PSVR that could only be had in virtual reality, but at the same time there are limits to what the technology can do in it’s current state. At least when it comes to Playstation’s offering. Playstation VR’s biggest shortcoming is in it’s resolution, it’s just too low for what they are trying to accomplish. The PSVR headset does a great job of being comfortable enough for you to forget about it and it allows you to get lost in the world of whatever game you are in, but at the same time the world you are getting lost in looks like a PS3 level game. This might sound like nitpicking, especially since this is easily the most accessible way to get into virtual reality, but it is something worth mentioning.
Even with the negatives out of the way, PSVR holds up well and does what it sets out to do, which is letting you get lost in a virtual game world. If you can look past some of the technical shortcomings, you are in for a treat with most every game you try out with the headset and Iron Man VR is no different. Iron Man VR is a game that I have been excited about since the day they announced it during a State of Play. Iron Man has been my favorite superhero ever since Robert Downey Jr. took up the mantle back in 2008. This game was basically made for me, I can’t even count the amount of times I have acted like I had repulsors on my hands after seeing the movies. So what did it feel like to put on the suit? Was it fun?
My Impressions of the Game
The game follows Iron Man as he deals with an enemy hacking and repurposing his own drones for their own nefarious purposes. I’ll only talk about one of the first missions, so as not to dive too far into spoilers. There is an early mission where you are tasked with defending an airplane (with Pepper Potts inside). You fly around freely and take on the drones that come to attack the plane and at times will have to come up to the plane itself to fix the wing or open the landing gear. The big thing with the open flight mechanics is that they made intuitive to fly just like Iron Man would. The tutorial tells you to fly by putting your palms face down and turning on the thrusters to go up and then palms back to fly forward. The thrusters work exactly as you might think they would and you can move yourself around wherever you need to. You can sort of aim where you are flying and turn just by moving your head and physically turning around. The thing that gets tricky is that you also need to shoot with your hands as well.
You can fire your repulsor blasts by putting your hands up with palms forward and pressing the button, but you obviously can’t move around while you do it. At first I wasn’t sure how to deal with that while enemies were also attacking, but I quickly realized that I could shoot with one hand and fly with the other. Honestly most of the questions you might run into can be answered with “what would Iron Man do?” The best thing the game does is make you feel like you are really in the suit. You can try just about anything you have seen Iron Man do in the movies (to an extent) and it usually works just about the way you would expect it to. Having the Iron Man HUD in your face during flight and battle also adds to the experience and after everything melds together you can really get lost in the fantasy of being Iron Man.
The other side of this game sees you playing Tony Stark out of his suit. You interact with Pepper Potts and your AI assistants as you go about his mansion. You can interact with a number of things here and there is even a room that shows off all the trophies you earn while playing the game. The main draw here is being able to customize and upgrade the suit, adding on new weapons and improving all the different aspects of the suit for battle. Being able to play as Tony out of the suit is a cool inclusion, but honestly I could have done with less of it and more of the flying and fighting. Especially early on in the game.
Not everything is perfect however, while using your hands to do everything makes sense, and is honestly the only way for the game to be able to control, it can get overwhelming in the heat of battle as you try to position yourself correctly to fly, dodge, and attack with all your different options. After you get your auxiliary attacks unlocked as well, things really start to add up. The controls aren’t bad, but they just seem to layer a few too many things on top of each other at times. The other thing that I wasn’t crazy about was the resolution. Like I said earlier, this is not a fault of the game but the hardware itself. The low resolution never hurt the experience enough to take me out of the game, but I think it is one of the major contributors to the reason I had to take breaks to collect myself. I wouldn’t say I had full blown motion sickness, but I definitely couldn’t continue along for hours on end. This is probably a problem with me rather than the game itself. Speaking of taking breaks, there are multiple minute long loading screens before just about everything in the game and it is noticeable as it forces you to sit and be out of the suit for a while. I took these as chances for a break and usually took a seat or checked my phone, but it doesn’t excuse the fact that it took me out of the game and the immersion that VR feeds off of.
Overall, I found this to be an enjoyable game. Even with the technical limitations of the system and the mechanical limitations of the game itself, I felt like Iron Man. As a huge fan of Iron Man and virtual reality in general I think this is one of the best games available on the system right now and if you have the PSVR headset it is one that you would be remiss not to try out. I would, however, wait for a price drop if at all possible. At $39.99 it seems a little steep for the content that is included. Missions get a bit repetitive and after a while I wasn’t sure I needed to blow up hundreds more drones.
As always, thanks so much for reading. What do you think about virtual reality and the role it will play in the future? Let me know in the comments below if you have PSVR or if you plan on picking this game up! Be sure to check back (at least) every Wednesday and Saturday and sign-up via email to be sure you never miss a post! Be safe and have a great day!