“Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters” is a third person action game (similar to “God Of War”) that puts you in the role of Hal Jordan, newly christened Green Lantern of Space Sector 2814 (home of Earth). Inspired by the recent motion picture, it utilizes the visual likeness and voice talents of movie star Ryan Reynolds.
The story centers around the return of the Manhunters, android enforcers created by the Guardians (who also created the Green Lantern Corps). After becoming too dangerous and brutal in their assignment, the Guardians dismissed the Manhunters in favor of the Corps. Now the Manhunters are back for revenge, and you must fight your way through an endless horde of deadly robots bent on your destruction, and that of the Guardians.
You start off the game with some basic abilities (smash/grab/throw). As you advance and earn upgrade points, you can unlock and augment different “constructs” that the ring is now capable of utilizing, such as flying blades, a Gatling gun, a giant hammer or fist, etc. You can even shoot simple force beams at different intensities.
The transitions between fights are very smooth. The game does not use cut-away cinematics, but rather short, in-game graphics “quasi-cinematics” that flow in and out of gameplay to set up the next encounter.
Game scenes fall into two main categories; you stand and fight using melee attacks and ring constructs (sometimes interrupted by small puzzle type challenges), or you fly through space using a simple space combat targeting system. In the two player mode, Sinestro (another Green Lantern and harsh mentor) joins Jordan on screen for co-op battles (which has the added benefit of opening greater possibilities for combo moves).
While the battles can get repetitive, the challenges do mount and as greater numbers of enemies combine with more powerful ring constructs (and combos) the screen can become a spectacular visual frenzy.
The game also features 3D display options. If you’re so equipped, it has a stereoscopic setting. There is also the anaglyphic setting that requires only standard 3D glasses. Since Sony did not see fit to include glasses with their release (and why is that?), I pulled out one of my 3D Blu-Ray movies and donned the magenta and green lenses. As expected, the colors were a little too washed out for my taste. Still, it was enjoyable for a while to play in 3D. Hopefully I’ll be able to try out the stereoscopic settings at some point.
Make no mistake, this isn’t a game I would put on my all time top 10 list. It is, first and foremost, a button masher. The real strength of Green Lantern is that it doesn’t try to be more than it is. How many times have gamers suffered through a game based on a movie franchise that had an awful plot, confusing controls and poor voice acting? It’s a simple style game, so the programmers turned their attention to making the game fun – and at this they succeeded. The controls are easy to grasp and customize. The graphics are sharp and the character motions smooth. The voice acting is quite good – not just on the part of Reynolds, but the other supporting actors. For fans (even casual) of Green Lantern, the story is accessible and adds to the history of the franchise. For this type of action escapism, I don’t think you can ask for much more.