The DC Comic summer blockbuster movie machine is in full swing with pending release of Green Lantern the movie starring Ryan Reynolds, and of course the game to match is here in the from of Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters. Much like Tony Stark in Iron Man 2, cocky new Green Lantern recruit Hal Jordan to fight against a group of evil androids, although in this case, the robots Jordan must confront are the same ones created by the Green Lantern’s head governing body, the Guardians of the Universe. These same robots that were originally created by the Guardians to maintain order throughout the universe, have somehow gone a little “conservative” with their assessment of justice, and how now deemed all guilty and subject to mandatory termination.
Now let’s just get the obvious out of the way first thing. Marvel movie to game translations are often, well let’s just tell it like it is, mediocre at best, and with some, even the description mediocre is kind, but before the wrong conclusion is assumed, we here at GGD love our comic superhero flicks, so there’s no pre-existing bias against the genre we assure you. If anything, it took a great succession of purchased video turkeys before we stopped seeing them as automatic collectibles out of sheer repeated disappointment. That being said, let’s examine Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters.
Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters is a game of the 3rd person action-adventure, comparable genre-wise to a God of War type game. The game begins with the funeral service of the former bearer of what used to be Hal’s Green Lantern ring, and this provides a suitable setting to lay the groundwork for the game’s plot device, and does fairly nice job of introducing the game’s core characters, protagonist Hal Jordan, mentor Sinestro, and hulk-like behemoth Kilowog. Before long the evil robot Manhunters arrive on the scene, and the battle is on.
Gameplay is about exactly what most gamers would expect from a title of this genre, 3rd person hack and slash, quick attack and strong attack type action. Hal’s abilities are upgradable of course, and are divided into four sections, attacks, ring surge, ring power, and constructs. Fairly self-explanatory upgrades, with the constructs category being the most interesting as that’s the one that allows Hal to really engage his imagination and get the most out of the ring, making weapons like a Gatling gun form, a war hammer, or a massive mace.
Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters is generic in practically all aspects, no question. The otherworldly environments while passable, aren’t overly detailed. They’re futuristic and barren is a realistic enough manner, there just aren’t any of those animated little details that make you simply stop in middle of gameplay to visually soak in your surroundings, the way a Bioshock or a Fallout does. Hal Jordon’s enemies don’t seem to offer a lot in the way of foes dripping with evil persona either, consisting of mostly the robotic Manhunters, purple crystal aliens ( I’m sure they do indeed have their own distinct name Green Lantern devotees ), other hovering robots and few other non-descript foes. The sound effects are also pretty standard, but to be fair you can hear Ryan Reynolds giving a competent effort to breathe some tactile charisma into the Hal Jordan character, and the extremely accomplished voice actor Kevin Michael Richardson also does well to add some deep-voiced edge to the Kilowog character.
Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters offers a little extra variety of play, with a drop in or out anytime in the game feature, the second player getting to pilot the Sinestro character, and those gamers that enjoy a fairly easy set of achievements/trophies to add to their credit, Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters is quite cooperative title for those “completionists” out there. Normally, during a review when terms like generic, average, and standard and being bandied around, that’s usually bad news, but in the case of Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters, it’s really more of a very lukewarm endorsement.
Yes, you read that right, taken in the correct context of the majority of sub-par titles in this Marvel comic game mix, unenthusiastic and tepid as that endorsement may be, when it comes to one of these movie-to-game Marvel or DC comic translations, “average” and generic is still a mild endorsement. While nowhere near the quality of the kings of this genre like God of War, Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters does deliver what a purchaser of a game of this type will reasonably expect, and is certainly one of the better comic superhero game translations in awhile, and gets the passing grade just by not being an obvious no effort cash-in. Still not exactly what this genre of games could/should be, but a small step in right direction for a change.