Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters Review

By Matt Cabral - Posted Jun 22, 2011

While repetitive combat, uninspired boss battles, and linear level design drag Hal Jordon's beat-'em-up down a few notches, the ability to kick epic amounts of robot ass with wicked ring-powered attacks often elevates the experience above its flaws.

The Pros
  • Cool ring-based powers
  • Lightning-quick combat
  • Saving the universe in co-op
The Cons
  • Co-op is local only
  • Combat grows repetitive
  • Restrictive level design

Green Lantern Rise of the Manhunters Review:

The comic book universe is an unpredictable beast. Last month’s Thor film was released to rave reviews, while its game adaptation got a 1 out of 5 (Read our Thor: God of Thunder Review). Now, the recently released -- and much more buzz worthy -- Green Lantern movie is receiving a lashing from critics, but its requisite film-tied game is actually pretty good. No, it’s not about to knock Batman: Arkham Asylum off its best-comic-book-game-of-all-time thrown, but it does offer ten or so hours of fun, albeit familiar, superhero-flavored beat-’em-up action.
  

 

It Ain't Easy Being Green

Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters
, like so many movie-to-game adaptations these days, is more a supporting spin-off story, than an interactive retelling of the film. More than that, though, it’s really just an excuse to unleash cool powers on relentless hordes of robot baddies. As the titular hero with the emerald ring, you’re tasked with thwarting the Manhunters, an ancient group of angry robo-thugs who want power, control, and all the other usual stuff evildoers crave but cannot have. They’ll stop at nothing to dominate the universe, but you--and your shiny green bling--have no intention of giving them what they want. Epic ass-kicking ensues.

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Green God of War

Borrowing heavily from Kratos’ playbook, Green Lantern relies on light and heavy attack combos, as well as blocking and evading moves. The defensive stuff isn’t used all that much, mostly because the game’s difficulty never really requires you to do more than whup ass; the offensive moves, however, offer plenty of variety and are complemented by tight, well-implemented controls. Forgoing the usual bare-knuckle brawling, even your basic attacks see you carving up your tin can adversaries with creative pain-bringers such as conjured hammers, swords, and saw blades.

Of course, these up-close killers only scratch the surface potential of your wish-granting jewelry. This isn’t Scribblenauts, so you can’t technically imagine anything into existence (we kept trying to summon a jackhammer-wielding great white shark to no avail), but the game’s preset powers are still pretty damn impressive. Hard-light constructs, such as baseball bats and Gatling guns, don’t feel especially inspired, but things get undeniably cooler once you start conjuring mech suits and fighter jets. These ring-spawned attacks drain mana-like energy, so not being able to spam them makes using them more rewarding. Pounding on some metallic menace with basic attacks, while waiting for your power gauge to fill, provides plenty of  thrills, especially when you’re able to deliver that final ring-assisted blow.
  



Numb Thumbs

While the powers are super-cool and the action fast-paced, it’s also painfully repetitive at times. Enemy variety is scarce, save for the occasional robo-baddies outfitted with wings or a shield, and boss battles come down to memorizing attack patterns while whittling away at a too-long health bar. Linear level design doesn’t add much spice either, as your journey rarely requires or encourages any off-the-beaten-path exploration. When not reducing enemies to piles of scrap metal, some on-rails flying missions offer a change of pace and a nice sense of speed. But here, your primary objective is to simply button-mash attacks until all the bad guys are dead.

Green Lantern generally skates by on fun, but very familiar baddie-beating action. It helps that it’s a mostly frustration-free affair, thanks to intuitive controls, well-spaced checkpoints, and nary a cheap death. Playing local co-op with a galaxy-saving buddy--who suits-up as Sinestro--also helps keep the experience’s more obvious flaws at bay. While it definitely comes with the “It’s good…for a movie game.” caveat, this superhero-inspired romp should please fans of the source material as well as those looking to spend a weekend kicking the crap out of evil robots.

Still want to play it? Why not rent it at Gamefly?