In the videogame world, when it comes to movie tie-ins the general rule of thumb is to expect little. Games released to coincide with movies rarely, if ever, are any good. So with that in mind I fired up Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters and expected to be let down. What I got was even less.
For the first three of four minutes I was fairly optimistic. Combat seemed quite fun, with the face buttons on the PS3 pad triggering both quick attacks, slower powerful blows and a grab move that used the power ring as a lasso. Chaining attacks is straightforward and select use of the shoulder button dodge move allows Hal to continue combos from one enemy to the next. The power ring changes forms from sword to hammer, to baseball bat and the moves are fun to see the first time. Key words being the first time.
There’s more monotonous repetition in this game than there is the colour green, and there’s a hell of a lot of green here. Once you find a couple of combos that work there’s really no reason to try anything new, there’s not any penalization for sticking to the same attacks. I got through the majority of the game just performing the baseball bat attack. New constructs can be unlocked as you progress through the game earning points, which can then be traded for upgrades. It’s God of War lite, really really lite.
Variation in enemy types is woeful, there must be near a million manhunter robots to take on. I get it that the manhunters are meant to be a relentless threat, but making me fight upwards of 20 of them, then move to another section of the same level and fight another 20 tests my patience to the maximum. Occasionally there’s a flying section where asteroids and ships are blown up with the power ring. Starfox did it better on SNES when I was about 10 though, so that sums that up.
Each level of GL follows an uninspiring formula of attack enemies, go to shining green aura and press the action button, land at new area and attack the enemies. Occasionally there’s a rock wall to break or a door to pry open but that’s about it.
The presentation is pretty slick, Ryan Reynolds looks bang on in his GL suit, as do Sinestro and the rest of the GL Corps. The environments are detailed but frustrating, there’s an illusion of freedom when you can see battles taking place off in the distance that can never be gotten to.
Boss battles are (there’s that word again) monotonous. It’s simply a case of learning when you can attack successfully then retreat to dodge any subsequent retaliation to whittle away the enemy’s life bar and go on to the next level to do it all over again.
Even if you’re a huge GL fan, err majorly on the side of caution before even renting Rise of the Manhunters. It’s rushed, lazy and even young children (who I assume this is catered to) are savvy enough to turn their nose up at something that is flung together. I’d spend another 300 words or so fleshing out plot, locales et al, but to be perfectly honest this game doesn’t deserve to take up any more of my time.
Perhaps in the future the GL franchise will get its own “Arkham Asylum”, a quality title that justifies its legendary protagonist. Based on this offering though I won’t hold my breath.