Short of loosing Big Bird, Bert and Mr Oizo on their intergalactic asses however, at present the corp’s greatest threat appears to be the anticipation and not-exactly-optimistic test screening buzz coming from DC’s summer blockbuster starring Ryan Reynolds.
So with fears of the movie bombing, let’s just say I wasn’t particularly looking forward to trying out the ‘movie-to-videogame adaptation rule of thumb’ which, 95% of the time, produces games destined for the bargain bin (see this year’s Thor, Harry Potter, Saw etc).
But if the Green Lanterns have anything on their side, it’s will power (their superabilities are powered by it), and it appears developers Double Helix have it in spades.
Much like 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which managed to encapsulate the fun and spirit of the movie without being beholden to it, Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters is a fun, fluid and not entirely forgettable God of War clone that many action and adventure fans will happily enjoy.
As per Wolverine, the story takes place away from the driving events of the movie, meaning that the whole waffly set-up thing is dispatched with instantly, with the action taking place off-world (well, not on Earth) and with you at least semi-comfortable with your newfound abilities (i.e., you won’t have 17 levels of complex ring-learning combos to undertake before being able to use it).
For those not aware of the core story and appeal of the franchise, you’re in control of Hal Jordan, a bewildered earthling bestowed with an extraterrestrial ring that essentially makes you a more bad-ass Superman – you can fly, create shields, and hit things over the head with anything your (the developers’) imagination can think of.
The combat is surprisingly smooth and intuitive, only instead of God of War’s sharp sticks/maces etc, your ring generates ‘constructs’, meaning that you switch between combo attacks incorporating a sword, whip, giant fists, machine guns, anvils, buzzsaws and more with ease.
It also helps that the whole thing is marvellously purty. It won’t win any awards, but there’s a sheen and competency around the presentation that is all the more impressive compared to most rush job video adaptations (again, Thor).
Of course, it’s not perfect. For one thing, it’s a tad repetitive. Even with the addition of the odd quick time event and Panzer Dragoon-lite space flying shooty sections, the level design is incredibly linear and not that varied. Additionally, the right analogue stick is used for a directional evade as opposed to camera movement, and while it’s predominately spot on, there are still moments where a panoramic view would’ve helped me survive an attack from an unseen assailant.
The main thrust of the single player is woefully short too, clocking in at little over four hours. Co-op is pretty fun, and your mates can pick up a controller and join the action whenever they’d like – that is, as long as they’re sitting within 3 feet of you. Yep, for some baffling reason an online co-op has been completely left out.
Still, these are gripes and grievances that you expect came about due to a lack of support and development time for a game that never really should’ve stood a chance to begin with.
Let’s hope that movie success or not, they’ll be able to fix them for a sequel.
Green Lantern: Rise Of The Manhunters is on General Release now, and available on Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, 3DS, and DS.