Ever since its reveal, I have been intrigued by the concept of Iron Man VR. Such a title had been nothing short of a pipe dream for me since buying my PSVR headset. After enjoying the last Marvel PlayStation exclusive I was excited to dig in and see how this title compared to the rest of the PSVR’s offerings.
The free demo features a few sections including an open world tutorial area and one of the full game’s missions and cutscenes. Add on to that a couple of optional challenges and this selection seems well worth the non-existent asking price.
Iron Man VR Malibu Tutorial
It’s safe to assume this section is the opening for the game, with button prompts and holographic guides showing the correct hand position for the suit’s thrusters. The controls were surprisingly intuitive and being able to practice on a sandy beach proved useful in mastering the first steps of the game.
Taking off from the beach speeds the player towards a familiar cliff-side mansion, its white exterior and large glass panels on the horizon as large letters form the title of the game above it. Being able to control your movement in this sequence rather than being thrust forwards was an essential part in addressing my motion sickness and allowed me time to comfortably get used to the pace for the rest of the demo.
Arriving aside the Malibu Mansion reveals the most explorable part of the demo, with the mansion’s exterior and landscape all available to explore and investigate in Virtual Reality. Although this is not the intended purpose for the demo, the attention to detail was impressive. The mansion’s exterior features more detail than the rest of the surrounding area however, so I can’t help but feel that it might be used more in the full game.
The demo quickly moves on and introduces the long and close range combat options through a target time trial. While at first my movements were clunky and inaccurate, towards the final trial they became smooth as butter and piloting the digital armour became second nature.
Upon exploring and completing this area I felt accustomed to the controls and comfortable with the 3D HUD, a staple of the suit. It was fascinating to look around during gameplay and see various features come to life, from phone calls to statistics. Balancing the HUD and the gameplay became challenging, yet important. Overall this area fully prepared me for the following mission.
Out of the Blue Mission
The scene opens on Tony Stark’s private jet with a ghostly hologram of Tony’s AI Friday literally popping through the ship. This initial cutscene was surprisingly interactive with characters coming close enough to touch, showcasing their impressive models.
A surprising addition to this mission was the inclusion of dialogue options but upon experimenting they did not seem to have any effect on the rest of the scene, though perhaps the full game will elaborate on this. The cutscene transitions to actual gameplay fairly smoothly, though this might be thanks to unconsciousness masking a lengthy loading screen.
Without spoiling the best parts of the mission, it was undeniably impressive, immersive and fun. The repulsors were interesting to use outside of the time trial and melee combat became a quick favourite. One worry is that the repulsors eventually became less satisfying to use than simply punching the enemies. Different long range weapons could be a good way to counteract this and at the very least, I have no doubt that a central chest repulsor will feature in the full game.
The final part of the mission makes an interesting and risky maneuver, taking control of the hands away from the player as Tony catches Pepper from the falling aircraft. Despite this, I still found myself grasping for Pepper and keeping my arms held. I may have been tired but I felt so immersed that I was worried to let go of her. If this is the level of immersion after one mission, I am ecstatic for the full game.
At the end of the day, Iron Man VR’s demo is free and even grants a bonus armour for the full game. Its level of immersion and exciting controls and movement are surprisingly fluid after some practice. Furthermore, unlike other PSVR titles, it’s story and how it is presented is genuinely interesting. Being able to see these fan favourite characters up close and personal is excellent and the cutscenes have quickly become a highly anticipated part of the full game for me.
Iron Man VR releases 3 July and its free demo is available now. PSVR owners shouldn’t miss out on experiencing the demo for one of the most promising PSVR titles yet.
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