Game Review: Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters

A column article, Shot For Shot by: Andrew Sacks
It has become universal fact that when Hollywood opens a big budget movie, a video game time isn't too far behind. In the case of big budget comic book movies, a video game usually comes as part the standard contract along with actions figures, t-shirts, and two subpar sequels.

At this year's Wonder Con in San Francisco, I was offered the chance to get some hands on game time with one of the big games coming out, Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters. Now I know a lot of us can be turned off by the stigma of movie based video games. Most of them can really suck – but then again sometimes the impossible happens the movie blows so badly that the slapped together video game seems like a blessing. Well, I can't say either apply to the Green Lantern...yet. It's always hard to tell from just a quick run through how an entire game is going to turn out. It could be horribly repetitive where you just hack and slash your way through a game dressed as Green Lantern, or it could be more of a Legend of Zelda type and have some puzzle solving. Again, playing a quick level and a half doesn't tell you much about the game; it's just enough time to get comfortable with the controller buttons.

To give you a small idea of what the game is about this is from WB's official release:
"Playing as gifted pilot Hal Jordan, the first human Green Lantern, gamers will create an arsenal of ring constructs and take flight in outer space and beyond to restore intergalactic order. Players will use the Power Ring to build an array of weapons from green energy to defeat the Manhunters – an evil android race bent on destroying the Green Lantern Corps."
Pretty basic. I don't know if they're being really secretive with the plot of the game or if that's really is it? I can tell you – because they told me – that it's not based on the movie, but based on the universe in which the movie takes place. Ryan Reynolds will voice Hal Jordan in the PS3 and Xbox versions of the game, and the likeness of his abs will also be gracing our home screens in digitally rendered format. Honestly though, take it or leave it. If the game sucks, the game sucks, no amount of voice talent can save a sinking ship.

So let's jump into what the game has to offer, besides Ryan Reynolds. Green Lantern serves up a single player or a drop in-drop out two player mode with Hal teaming up with Sinestro (pre-evil) for some Manhunter bashing... and bashing it is. The attacks are fairly standard but with upgradeable options. Being Green Lantern means you get to use your ring to produce all kinds of fun things to take down your enemies. A rocket launcher, miniguns, buzzsaw, and of course one big fist are all selectable for weaponry which make the generic smash 'em up fighting style a bit more entertaining. Of course you will have to earn some of the more fun and damaging weapons through gained experience. Being in co-op mode allows you to participate in team combos like pitching a Manhunter fastball to your buddy to knock out of the park with a big, green bat.

Smashing bad guys isn't the only thing of course, there's a flying mode, sadly though I think flight is an entirely different level, meaning you can't just jump into flight and bypass all the creeps on the ground. However the flight chapters aren't without their challenges, being able to control your character is one of them. I don't know about you, but when I play a flight simulator I'm all over the damn place trying to figure out which way is up. I can shoot missiles really well though and luckily that is one of the main features of flight. It plays out like every other flight simulating game, take out the incoming targets before the get you and dodge the debris zipping around you. Since you're using the ring as your weapon it never runs out of ammunition which is nice because you'll be shooting at everything but the target. Okay, so that's smash the Manhunters, and flight, and... um, did I mention Ryan Reynolds? Yeah, looking back at it there wasn't a whole lot presented about the game. It takes place on Oa and the space around it, and the Manhunters have invaded and started a fight. My information ends there.

Does this limited information mean secrecy or a plotless disappointment? It's hard to tell. I did have fun buzzsawing Manhunters, and I managed to pwn my demo guide in kills which totally makes up for failing horribly during my demo of Batman: Arkham Asylum back in 2009. It held my attention while I played in a mindless trance and I was dazzled by the lovely graphics. Apparently the game can be played in 3D on both regular TV sets and 3D enabled sets. I guess it comes with some special glasses for normal TVs, so that's actually pretty cool, because those flight levels will look awesome in 3D. I did however get the impression it was very linear, you have to stick to the path drawn out for you with no open sandbox play like in Spider-Man 2. Story wise, again I'm not too sure on the details other than Manhunters attack Oa. This fact doesn't reassure me in anyway, but I could be wrong. As of right now the game is 50/50, could be bad or could surprise the hell out of all of us and be really good.

Final judgment can't be passed until the game is release on July 7th when Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters is released on all major platforms, including Nintendo DS and 3DS.

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