Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters - Xbox 360

Note: I wrote 80% of this review back when the game first came out. It seemed wasteful to not at least post it so I quickly finished it up and decided to throw it up. I’ve also since seen the Green Lantern movie and can also now safely say that yes, the video game adaption is indeed better than the actual film. Also re-reading this now I think this is the single strangest review I’ve ever written, at least the first few paragraphs. What the hell was going on with me that day?

Here’s a situation you don’t come across too often, if at all. The video game adaptation of Green Lantern is actually getting better reviews than the film itself. Granted neither are getting glowing reviews by any means, but I can’t remember the last time this happened. Oh wait, X-Men Origins Wolverine. Ok so you do come across this but still not that often!

Having not seen the film I can’t speak of its quality. However having played the game, I am fully capable of speaking of its quality. If I were to speak of that quality, my speaking may mention that its quality is surprisingly decent.

‘Surprisingly decent’ may not be the most glowing review but come on, this is the Green Lantern video game. Did you expect my summary to be anything other than “crap poop”? No you definitely did not. However I think we can both agree that we look forward to the day where I can summarize a game by saying that.

I can’t say Green Lantern ranks highly amongst the list of my favourite superheroes. He’s near the bottom of the list of superheroes I have even basic knowledge of. Prior to the game I knew the following: he’s green, his ring can do practically anything, lanterns, and space. Following the game I can confirm all of the above, along with the following: Manhunters are bad and perhaps serve as some sort of space police, nobody should trust this Sinestro fucker, and turns out physical lanterns aren’t a big part of the Green Lantern universe.

My point is, those of you are going into this game as pre-determined Green Lantern enthusiasts will definitely get the most out of this game. It doesn’t take the time to present you with character back stories to bring you up to speed. You are given a pretty bare bones introduction, with the game informing you “here’s Green Lantern, these robots are bad, make Green Lantern beat up these robots” and you are sent on your way.

If you don’t know a thing about Green Lantern, then what you are getting here is an adequate, God of War style beat-em-up. The formula is so set in stone at this point that I barely need to explain the mechanics to you. There’s a button for light attacks, another for heavy attacks, you use the right analog stick to dodge, there’s no surprises here.

What does put the game at least a notch above other GOW inspired games is solid implementation of the aforementioned ring. By the end of the game you will be able to conjure a Gatling gun, a mech suit, a giant baseball bat, a large mallet, and of course a fighter jet that you then throw at enemies. It’s quite easy to switch to any of these moves by assigning them to a face button and then holding the right or left trigger and pressing the appropriate button. Even better is that in both the combat and the puzzle solving, the majority of them actually serve their own unique purpose and aren’t simply there for show. Enemy ship shooting at you from a distance? Bust out your baseball bat and knock that shit back at him. Man that fucker sure is on a glider isn’t he? Maybe shoot down that shit with this laser thing. It’s welcome to apply actual tactics to the fights occasionally, helping this from become a simple button masher, although there is also plenty of that.

Every few stages you take a break from the beat-em-up style action and take part in some person flying stages. It’s good these are there in that it breaks up some of the potential repetition of the other stages, but these were by no means my favourite parts of the game. You hold down a button and hold a reticule over things until they are dead. Simple as that. Occasionally you can turn into a fighter jet, but it doesn’t change much. These stages are also very short, a couple only taking maybe 4 or 5 minutes to burn through.

The entire game is actually a relatively brief experience. I beat the game on the hardest difficulty level (with minimal trouble I should add) in about 6 hours. Throw in a couple more hours of grinding to get the remaining achievements and I had a full 1000/1000 in not much more than eight hours time. As exciting as it always is to unlock every achievement in a game, now that it has been done I doubt I would ever return to this one now. So replay value is quite small.

Green Lantern is way better than I ever could have expected. The flying stages are merely passable but the core fighting is surprisingly fun and quite varied. It’s too bad the experience is such a quick one, making it hard to recommend this one until it’s found its way into the bargain bins. Although since now the game is about 2 months old, that should be happening literally any day now.