Game Review: GREEN LANTERN Fun But Repetitive


The words "movie tie-in" are not friendly to most gamers. These games sell, mostly to parents who hear their children talking about a property, or to die-hard fans of the franchise, but more often than not they don't fair as well with critics or people who enjoy fun. There have been some exceptions to that rule, though, with standouts like X-Men Origins: Wolverine which was actually a better game than movie, and the great Spider-Man 2 game.

Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters is one of those nebulous tie-ins; it's not based off the events of the movie, but it's set generally in the movie universe, complete with the likeness and voice of actor Ryan Reynolds, the film's Hal Jordan. It's also nebulous in quality. This is a better movie tie-in than most, but it has some big hickups that prevent it from reaching a higher status.

The basic controls of the game will be familiar to anyone who has played a God of War or any of its third person action-adventure clones. You use a combination of light, heavy, and throw attacks to hack your way through Manhunter robots, while continually upgrading your constructs for some much bigger attacks. Constructs come in many shapes and sizes, from a basic ring blast to a full size jet that explodes on impact. There's enough variety in these, and they come gradually enough through the game, that you won't get too bored with any one attack. The mech suit in particular is just cool, and winds up playing a big part in the end of the game.

The problem and repetitiveness of the game comes in the enemy types and locations, really. Once you unlock certain constructs, you'll have a particular strategy that works agains particular types of enemies. Even when you go to Zamaron and fight against the purple-light wielders there, they all fight just like specific types of Manhunters. Really, there are probably about 6 enemy types in this game, and that gets old when you are talking about 10 missions. The game also takes place on exactly three worlds. When you think Green Lantern, you're supposed to think all of known space, so that just came off as a strange limitation.

Speaking of limitations, while there are auto-scrolling flight missions going through space, when you're on the ground fighting you can't fly. Now, we had a similar problem with Thor not being able to fly in his game (in fact, both games feature the exact same "flight" with specific points that you press X on and watch your character fly away for less than a second. woohoo). There is absolutely no reason for you to not be able to hover over your foes, chase down the flying enemies, and launch attacks from above. it's something we saw in the X-Men Legends and Ultimate Alliance games years ago; why on earth would this be neglected here?

Nevertheless, the general controls are easy to get into, and the constructs are both fun and frequently usable. Green energy is refilled rapidly and often, so there's not a lot of frustration in not being able to use your bigger attacks. The story, while a little light, does have some cool bits for comic book fans. Things like yellow, violet, and even blue light are referenced (you build your blue health meter with Hope energy from blue meteorites), and there are a handful of guest stars that will provide some amusement for fans of the books.

If you're a big Green Lantern fan, you'll be both pleased and frustrated at times by Rise of the Manhunters. Overall, it's a decent play in the summer games drought, but it's ultimately not very memorable. Lots of easy trophies/achievements and a relatively short campaign make it a decent rental, but few will want to play this game more than once.

Twitter activity