Published on August 20th, 2012 | by octaneblue0
Review: Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters
Developer: Double Helix Games
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
System(s): PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Release Date: June 7, 2011
Note: This review mainly applies to the PlayStation 3/Xbox 360 versions of the game; they are completely different from the Wii, 3DS, etc. versions.
A film based on the DC Comics franchise Green Lantern premiered in 2011, to largely negative reviews from fans and critics alike. The film featured poorly-implemented CGI, an overcrowded plot, and a weak conclusion.
As with most comic book-based films, Green Lantern‘s release in theaters was accompanied by the release of a video game tie-in. Titled Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters, the game is developed by Double Helix Games (Silent Hill: Homecoming, Front Mission Evolved) and published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. And while the film was very mediocre, the tie-in game is mildly entertaining, albeit with several flaws.
While the game is set in the film’s universe, it doesn’t directly follow its plot, and instead has its own unique storyline. While on Oa, Hal Jordan, Sinestro, Kilowog, and other Green Lanterns are attacked by a robotic force known as the Manhunters. These machines were built by the Guardians of the Universe. But the programming of the Manhunter became corrupted, and the Guardians exiled them, eventually establishing the Green Lantern Corps. Your goal is to defeat the Manhunters before they destroy Oa and make their way through the galaxy.
The main gameplay of Rise of the Manhunters can best be described as a beat-’em-up/brawler. Like many others in its genre, you will primarily defeat enemies with your powers, then move on once all of them are defeated. Essentially, the gameplay can be summed up as God of War-lite. The influence of Sony’s popular brawler is certainly there, but what sets Rise of the Manhunters apart is the Green Lantern ring. The ring is used as a weapon, with Hal able to transform the energy from the ring into weapons such as swords, hammers, giant fists, and even a mech suit and jet. Fighting is done through fast and strong attacks, or a combination of both. As you go through the game, you’ll level up, and be able to purchase new abilities for Hal to use. White energy is scattered throughout the game, and that will be your “currency” for upgrades. As you defeat enemies, you’ll build up a meter that will eventually lead to Ring Surge, where Hal glows green and can use Ring Constructs and so on as many times as possible until the boost runs out. This is extremely useful for situations where you’re surrounded by several enemies.
The enemies you’ll come across are primarily the Manhunters, or variations of them. You will unfortunately see the same enemies over and over again, as there is a lack of enemy types, and you will get tired of them. The boss fights in the game are a decent change of pace, but the bosses take way too much damage to finally defeat. Coupled with the fact that the mentioned enemies jump in during the fight, and they’re often the more annoying ones, the boss fights become frustrating quickly. And it’s not that the bosses are particularly difficult, the game just adds in a layer of artificial difficulty with the bosses absurdly strong defenses and annoying minions running around. And there are a couple of puzzle sections here and there, but they’re all pretty easy to solve.
And as noted, the core gameplay is the on-foot, beat-’em-up sections. However, there are a few flying sections scattered about. These play a little like Star Fox in that it’s an on-rails experience, where Hal is flying through the skies and shooting down foes. It’s a nice change of pace from the usual button mashing, but these sections are rather short. Unfortunately, Hal cannot fly in the beat-’em-up sections, except during cutscenes and such. So even when you make Hal dash, he doesn’t move all that fast, and it’s a shame that you can make him at least hover, since flying is definitely a perk of the ring.
One of the game’s strongest points are its graphics; this is a very nice-looking game with good production value. The CGI in the film looked rather odd and often out-of-place in the live-action setting, but since this is a game, it looks much better and more natural. Hal’s animations are good, and the environments especially are impressive. The game does pretty well in the sound department too, with fitting scores (albeit nothing memorable) playing as you’re going through missions. Ryan Reynolds, who played Hal Jordan in the Green Lantern film, reprises his role in the game. His voice acting is a mixed-bag; he’ll sound fine on some parts, but will completely lack emotion in others. Other voice talents in the game include Steven Blum as Amon Sur, Marton Csokas as Sinestro, Kevin Michael Richardson as Kilowog, among many others.
The game does include a drop-in/drop-out co-operative mode, where the second player takes the role of fellow Green Lantern Sinestro. However, this is a local-only feature, as the game lacks online multiplayer functionality.
Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters definitely has its flaws, but there’s some fun to be had during the adventure The game can definitely get frustrating, though. It’s also very much on the short side, lasting about 6-8 hours, and there isn’t much to go back to the game to unless you’re a Trophy/Achievement hunter. For better or worse, it actually doesn’t take long to grab all of them. Because of its short length, this is recommended as a bargain purchase or a rental.
It goes without saying that the game in its entirety is leagues better than sitting through the Green Lantern film.
+ Great use of the Green Lantern Ring’s powers
+ Upgrading system
+ Nice graphics
– Repetitive, annoying enemies
– Short length; lack of replay value
– No online multiplayer
Final score: 3 out of 5