Green Lantern: Rise Of The Manhunters Review
Developer: Double Helix Games (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3) Griptonite Games (Wii, Ds, 3DS)
Publisher: Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment
Available on: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii, 3DS, DS (Reviewed on Xbox 360)
Movie/comic book game tie-ins usually have a bad reputation in the gaming world. Either they limply follow the story line from the cinematic release, or they take you on a separate story arc that nevertheless feels devoid of any original ideas. There may have been some exceptional cases (Spiderman 3 wasn’t to bad to play) but the majority just seem to be awful. Having said that, if you are a fan of the movie and the characters within them, then sometimes it doesn’t matter how bad the game is, you’ll still enjoy dashing around as your favorite hero/heroine. The latest comic book movie tie-in is Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters, but is it enjoyable even if you’re not a fan of the source material?
Green Lantern is a second-tier hero from the DC Universe who has quite a large following. If you have read the comics, you will know that the storylines are well-written and enjoyable to read (my particular favorites are the Blackest Night series) with some very interesting characters who have cool superhero powers. But can this game live up to fans’ expectations and smash the comic book game tie-in mark of doom? Or will it be forgotten about?
STORY: Hal Jordon is part of the intergalactic police force known as the Green Lantern Corp, a group who patrol the entire universe routing out evil and protecting the innocent. To do this, they each have a power ring that is fueled by willpower and illuminates the wearer with a green glow. The ring allows them to create green hard light constructs to whatever shape they desire. Hal was chosen by the ring after the alien Abin Sur crash landed on earth and died in his presence.
At the funeral of Abin Sur, Hal, his mentor Sinestro and fellow Green Lantern Kilowog (POOZERS!) meet with Abin’s son Amon Sur to mourn his father’s death. Suddenly, a race of machines known as the Manhunters, who were the original intergalactic police force but due to corrupted programming, they turned evil. They attacked the home planet of the Green Lantern Corps (known as Oa) in search of a secret yellow power known as “fear”, which has been hidden away by the creators of both the Green Lanterns and the Manhunters: the Guardians. Can Hal, Sinestro and Kilowog stop the Manhunters? Or is there something more sinister afoot?
As storylines go, the plot of Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters is not too bad, and plays out like a comic book. Although it isn’t as gripping as the comic book stories, it is enjoyable, with a plot twist near the end that you may or may not see it coming. You can tell that the writers have put the effort in to tie in the movie and the comic book together (both to keep fans relatively happy and get first-timers hooked) but it’s only just above average at best.
GRAPHICS: Sadly, the graphics are not great, character-wise. The characters’ faces might be the same as in the movie, but the facial animations are a bit ropey at times, and considering the graphics that some games are producing these days, Green Lantern’s efforts are definitely not up to scratch. In saying that, it is bearable to watch, and the hard light constructs are beautiful to behold. The worlds that you play through are nicely designed and actually quite good to look at. Oa looks quite beautiful in the distance, Zamaron is a fantastic paradise and the machine world of Biot is a mechanical marvel, so the environments at least are well-rendered.
Another feature of this title is the ability it gives you to play this in 3D, either using 3D glasses or a 3D TV. Glasses are available when you purchase the game, however this method only sort of works, and not necessarily worth the effort. Although it would be interesting to see the game on a 3D TV, unless you are willing to fork out the cash just to play this game you’ll probably give it a miss.
AUDIO: The soundtrack to this title is not bad, but you won’t be humming the tunes in your head afterward. The sound effects are pretty much as they should be, especially with regards to screams and explosions. However, some of the attacks can sound quite tinny, for example, hitting a robot can sound like someone beating the shit out of an aluminum can. Overall, the sounds seem to alternate randomly between well-recorded and badly improvised.
Hal Jordon is voiced by none other Ryan Reynolds, which not only gives him the authentic voice from the movie, but Reynolds does as good a job as the other character actors. Although it would have been nice to have the voices from the entire cast of the movie, all in all the dialogue is very well acted. The only other problem with the sound is that it just cuts out some of the time, and issue which you might have expected to have been picked up during the Quality Assurance phase of production.
GAMEPLAY: Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters plays like something you may have played before. In fact, the gameplay is almost exactly like God of War! You are equipped with fast and heavy attacks along with the “grab and throw” ability; the camera is fixed and only moves when you travel to an area; and the left stick is for movement whilst the right stick is for evading. The only difference between the two control systems is that instead of using different weapons, you are equipped with hard light constructs which deal fast attacks with dual swords and heavy attacks with extremely large fists and (later on) hammers. For special moves you have a choice of eight at any one time, and when you pull the left or right trigger, each of your face buttons shows another construct that you can earn through XP. You can have a mini-gun, either one or dual maces, and even a jet if you manage to unlock it! This makes fighting the bad guys quite fun.
The leveling-up system is similar to God of War as well, as once you gain XP, your level bar goes up and unlocks more constructs as well as attributes like strength and stamina. The more XP you gain and the quicker you level up (level 10 being the maximum), the more powers you will acquire that enable you to smash up robot faces.
Another similarity to God of War the “Ring Surge” power. You fill a meter by defeating bad guys, which enables you to press the left and right bumpers simultaneously, giving you infinite “ring power” so you can throw everything you’ve got at the enemy. That said, you have to be strategic in your use of ring power, because if you drain your ring power meter too quickly, you can find yourself in a spot of bother. Luckily, you can replenish it by either attacking enemies with melee hits or finding green canisters. Health can be replenished in a similar way, with blue canisters.
In certain missions, Green Lantern steps away from being a God of War carbon copy and starts to play a little more like the Sega Mega Drive game Space Harrier. Basically, you fly around a set route, moving around the screen using your aiming reticule to shoot down the enemy. You can also fire homing missiles as well, although this will drain your ring power meter. This mode is not badly implemented, but it is still quite easy to get through and offers no real challenge. Another feature is the inclusion of co-operative play, which enables a second player to drop in and out at anytime to assist you with battles, which is fun to play through and will get you a few extra achievements or trophies.
In essence then, this game plays just like God of War with different characters and a different world. You would be forgiven for saying that this is lazy and unoriginal, but it can’t be denied that the formula works. Green Lantern is good fun to play once you get over the shock of how familiar the controls are, even though they are neither as deep nor as challenging as those in God of War.
LONGEVITY: In total, Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters will take you anywhere from eight to ten hours to finish. However, if you wish to replay the game with a second player, you will probably be able to max out the achievements or trophies in just under a day if you’re lucky, which is is good news for you achievement whores out there! That said, with with little else to add depth to the game, you’ll probably complete this feature after two days maxium.
VERDICT: As comic book movie tie-ins go, Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters is generally not a bad game, although it is quite clear that it has copied God of War’s control system whilst borrowing elements of Space Harrier. Although some gamers will say this is an unoriginal, lazy game, if you are not concerned with originality, it is still quite a fun experience.
Given that you can potentially have this game finished and maxed-out in a day, it would have been nice to see a bit more depth to it, as well as some better graphics. Although this title will probably be heralded as just another movie tie in, it is nevertheless one of the better ones. If you’re a fan of Green Lantern, or you just want some unchallenging fighting action, you certainly could do a lot worse.