A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Any positive messages about Tony Stark's desire to use his technology to help the environment and the world are lost amid all of Iron Man 2's flaming explosions.
Positive Role Models
Tony Stark (a.k.a., Iron Man) may be a hero with a strong desire to help the world, but has no apparent qualms about using violence to do so. And while he will nobly never refuse a call for assistance (even if he's in the middle of an important mission), he's demonstrably cocky and arrogant. Of all the superheroes your children could look to as role models, Tony Stark is probably not the best.
Ease of Play
Different versions have different issues, but no matter which console you play the game on, you're likely to run into some control problems. On the Wii, there's difficulty turning around. On PS3, using different control sticks for running and flying can cause confusion. Overall, Iron Man moves at a bizarrely slow pace (perhaps realistic for a man in a giant metal suit, but not true to the character). The game's difficulty level is not too high, but the controls can be problematic.
Violence & Scariness
As Iron Man, you will blast enemies (human, robot, or some combination thereof) with various energy beams and mini-missiles. As his armored partner, War Machine, you'll have a somewhat more powerful arsenal, including a rapid-fire Gatling gun. Explosions and gunfire are a constant in the game, though there is no blood. Enemies who are hit groan and fall to the ground.
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"Hell" can be heard in all versions of the game (except the DS version, which is a very different game altogether). The Xbox 360 and PS3 versions have some other mild swear words ("damn," "ass") sprinkled in the dialogue.
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Products & Purchases
This game is one of what seems like a billion product tie-ins to the Iron Man 2 movie.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Iron Man 2 might be a superhero video game, but it is one that is all about firepower. Explosions, blasters, bullets, missiles, repulsor rays, tank turrets -- you name it. Everything is blowing up all the time. In between missions, kids can upgrade the heroes' armored suits with more powerful weapons. Guns might be common in superhero games, but rarely do the heroes use them so much. Parents should also be aware that there is a Nintendo DS version of Iron Man 2, which is very different in its gameplay and only carries an E10+ ("Everybody 10 and Up") rating, as opposed to a T for "Teen."
Is It Any Good?
Iron Man 2 is a pretty standard third-person shooter, with controls that are sometimes clunkier than the hulking robots that attack its heroes. The all-new plot (rather than a retread of the film) makes it more exciting to play, and comic book fans will thrill to the appearance of some classic Iron Man supervillains not seen in the movie. The ability to play a mission as either Iron Man or War Machine adds some nice variety, as does the upgrade system that lets you strengthen your armor and weaponry.
Still, the game feels very been-there-done-that for anyone whose played their share of action games. And some of the controls issues are simply annoying. Iron Man fans can definitely have fun with the game, but it's not likely to make anybody jump for joy.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.