This year, moviegoers will be treated to a plethora of comic book inspired films. Among them will be the long-time coming Warner Bros. fan favorite, Green Lantern. The film stars Hollywood hunk (as my fiancee calls him), Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan / Green Lantern, and the film is set to hit theaters just in time to kick off the summer season. I had a chance to play the upcoming videogame tie-in, Green Lantern: The Rise of the Manhunters coming to us from Double Helix and Warner Bros Interactive, and came away very pleasantly surprised. Read on to find out why.
Now before you get all “that’s a movie game, and movie games suck” on me, you need to understand the mindset that I went into this demo with. A game like Green Lantern is considered a consumer product targeted at a very broad audience. And when you approach it as such and look at it at face value, you too will realize that this is an accessible, straight forward, but most importantly, plain ‘ole fun experience.
Following the current trend of film-to-game adaptations, Green Lantern also forgoes following a linear Hollywood script in favor of a storyline that takes place in the main character’s universe instead. In the game, you battle it out on the Green Lantern home Planet, Oa, which is currently under attack by — you guessed it — The Manhunters. With the help of Sinestro (co-op) and a recognizable face here and there, it’s your job to put an end to the robotic invasion.
The game will feature two modes of play as you progress through the story. You can duke it out all God-of-War like on the ground, and for a nice change of pace, you’ll get some flying sections thrown in as well. “It’s like playing X-Wing Vs Tie Fighter” is what editor Al Zamora said during our time playing co-op in one of the flying stages, and that comparison was pretty spot on. While the viewing angle wasn’t ideal, considering you spend most of the time looking at the bottom of Hal and Sinestro’s feet, the controls were pretty intuitive. The highlight here had to be after a “ring surge” power-up, where Hal transformed into a fighter jet and had us both saying “did you just see that?”
Ground combat is where this game shines. As any Lantern purist will tell you, Green Lanterns have the ability to create anything they so please to. In this game it’s limited to 12 special powers, but it by no means takes away from the experience. Special powers are pulled off with a combination of shoulder and face buttons. Not only are they devastating but they also look awesome. These powers are called constructs and as you progress through the story, beat up some baddies along they way, you’ll gain experience points that will help you unlock more of them.
As you’re pummeling bad guys you’ll want to get creative as combos will help raise your “willpower” meter, allowing you to unleash even more mayhem. One of my highlights during our co-op play-through was when I had Al pick up one of the enemy NPCs, hold him above his head, then launch him my way. As the enemy soared through the air, I whipped out my baseball bat construct (ridiculous, yet effective) and swung for the fences, hitting him right in the head and launching him completely out of the frame. I then giggled to myself.
Visually the game looked pretty good. Animations and framerates were nice and fluid and things like draw distance and background action was about what you’d expect from a title being released this deep into the current gen. The title will be full stereoscopic 3D capable but will also have anaglyph 3D support (red and blue lenses) as well. The 3D touches are a welcome addition as they will no doubt be intense during the flying sections.
The game will only support “couch co-op” so no online multiplayer here, but it’s also the kind of game you’d want to play with a buddy at your side to pull off all of the crazy combos anyway. And for those of you wondering about Ryan Reynolds and his involvement, he actually lent both his likeness as well as his voice talent to the project. While we’re still a few weeks away from launch I have to say that this is one I’m looking forward to reviewing. Finally another comic book movie game with potential (especially in the fun column)!
Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters, developed by Double Helix and published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment will be released on June 7th (week of E3) and will be available on PS3, 360, Wii, DS, and 3DS.