By The Mighty Monarch 4 Comments
This is not a game I would've normally bought, and though I've done plenty of comic reviews, I haven't done any video game reviews, ALTHOUGH, I'm as deeply engaged in video games as I am in comics. This happened to be a happy medium. Also, more importantly, my girlfriend got it, and she likes to watch me play video games as opposed to playing them herself. Most of the time.
So here I am, playing a game I had kind of assumed would be a worthless half-assed tie-in game. And it kind of is. But it also kind of isn't. Because dammit I enjoyed myself. Although the lacking in proper production is obvious.
Gameplay: Well.... the gameplay is, for the most part, shamelessly ripped off from God of War, and honestly, there's no shame in that. God of War had the most elegant and satisfying combat of just about any video game ever made. Green Lantern doesn't TOTALLY get it right, but the general feel is there, and it made the combat fun enough. Plus there's a nice variety of abilities, although aside from the ones nessecary for puzzles, you'll likely only pick a small few of them you like.... though at the same time, I think its easy to find fun in discovering which abilities suit your playstyle the best. Ok, so I take it back, that's a positive. Hardcore Green Lantern fans might notice the fact that Hal is given several abilites FAR more suited to other lanterns like Kyle's mecha armor and Guy's baseball bat, but it's a tie-in to the movie.
Oh, and there's also a few Starfox-riped-off flying levels. These feel like a much cheaper imitation of the superior game than the God of War combat. Visuals in the flying levels don't have a great perspective, so it's frequently hard to tell what's going on. There's also very little depth, so just about everything tends to look like it's the wrong distance from the screen.
Level Design: The levels themselves, LOOK nice. Along with the gameplay, the creators clearly took some of the environment design from God of War. The Temple of Knowledge on Zamaron looks amazing. There's just two major problems. One is that the levels are broken up into tiny segments that require cutscene jumps to navigate between. This makes the game feel smaller, since it's not really an open world, just a series of platforms. God of War was very clearly linear, but it never felt that way. Rise of the Manhunters feels more awkwardly linear than a rail shooter. The second problem is similar, but it's that they didn't make things convoluted enough. God of War games always have short plots that feel incredibly long while in progress due to the impressive complexity of the levels. They're linear, but so amazingly sprawling. No backtrack or loop around or side journey EVER feels forced or drwan out. Rise of the Manhunters doesn't even attempt this. The game just plows straight through the story with barely ANY side tracking. Sidetracking is something almost vital to an action-adventure game of this genre, it's what gives you the real 'meat' of the game. ROTM just... completely misses it. It forgot that its a video game, and its trying to be a movie. There are a few puzzles with some very clever design though.
Plot: The game is very short. The plot feels pretty rushed. It's something that could fit into maybe a three issue arc. Well, I guess the PLOT doesn't feel rushed, everything moves along at a nice pace, it's just that it takes only about 10 minutes to realize the game's going to be over in about 6 hours. Pretty much every big plot twist will be seen coming MILES away by a dedicated fan, BUT on the plus side, it's a GREAT introduction to a LOT of deeper concepts of the moder GL universe for people who only saw the film. They get a full scope of the Manhunters, more development of the idea of Yellow Fear Energy, a look at Zamaron brushing up against the idea of the Star Sapphires, and even a little tinge of Blue Hope. I enjoyed the plot for the most part. It was fairly simplistic and predictable, but not altogether terrible.
Voice Acting: Sinestro clearly wasn't the same actor as in the movie. It was painfully obvious. Whoevere they had filling in for him was not too bad, but again, this IS the movie tie in. Kilowog did a fine job, and the Manhunters were pretty great, but I'm really disappointed in Ryan Reynolds' performance. Many of the most vital lines in the game felt incredibly half assed. Like when he was declaring the manhunters would pay if they killed Kilowog... but there wasn't any emotion in it. I was most impressed with whoever was Queen Aga'po. She seemed like she knew what she was doing.
There's also a Co-Op mode, but that feels stupidly phoned in. Trying to keep both characters on screen in a chore, especially with how limiting it gets. Invisible walls get enacted so the players can;t be too far from each other. The second player is forced to be Sinestro, but the plot never gives any justification for it. There were frequent glitches in the second player's stuff in general. A few times the health bar was invisible, an aquired ability was suddenly locked and impossible to unlock despite it still being in the abilites quene to use, etc. Also, the second player can come in or out at any time, and will instantly have the same abilities unlocked, experience, and health EXACTLY the same as the first player. It just feels so phoned in. They could've made the second player someone like Tomar-Tu or someone who ISN'T still in the plot. But the biggest problem with the second player is that the screen keeps the characters small to accomodate both of them, but makes it hard to tell them apart.Sure Sinestro has pink skin and Hal is flesh colored, but they're both 90% green, and when they're as small as they are, a tiny dot over their heads doesn't always help.
And speaking of glitches, the game definitely has a few overt ones, and they become more noticable later. The second to last boss can be rendered temporarily unbeateable if you screw up the right way, and the camerawork in that same boss fight is an absolute nightmare. It also is not too difficult to completely screw up the background in the second to last level, making you start a section over again.
But finally, the game is just too easy. Combat gives you a ton of great abilities, and a ton of weak enemies. Even with the glitches and the terrible perspective in the flying sections, NOTHING really poses any kind of challenge. Though I've only played though the second hardest difficulty. But something tells me the hardest wont' be too challenging either. I was able to beat the game on Normal, and obtain 90% of the trophies, all in about 6-8 hours. And my girlfriend was playing co-op which, due to the difficulties in the design of the co-op, made things take LONGER than they would've solo. Though it did make things easier, since no matter who dies, the other keeps going solo for all of 8 seconds until a respawn. We only both died ONCE, and that was when a glitch rendered a boss unbeatable.
Is it a bad game? Not really. Is it worth buying it? Absolutely NOT. If you're a Green Lantern fan, you almost definitely WILL enjoy it... not a pun. Moving on! Play this with a friend new to the mythos. Give them some more info on the GL universe on their own. But don't buy it, you'll be done in haf a day. Compeltely done. But do give it a try, because it is quite fun to snipe manhunters using jets as bullets.
FINAL SCORE: 3/5