The Green Lantern's Light Shines Brighter Than You Might Expect
Green Lantern is a movie tie-in game related to the soon to be released movie of the same name. However like many movie-based games, Green Lantern doesn't rehash or retell the plot of the movie but simply takes place in the same established universe. While there is nothing truly original about its parts, the execution is surprisingly fun and something I am not at all disappointed in experiencing. Green Lantern is basically derived from a formula neither new nor expired:
there are lots of bad guys in your way and you must enact violence on them until they are no longer impeding your progress. Sure, you could boil any game or genre into those terms, so let’s delve a tad deeper into the game. Combat is basically the same as games like God of War or Devil May Cry where you find yourself in mini “arenas” where you are given many enemies at a time to defeat. Combat boils down to light attack, heavy attack, grab, block, and your construct ability. Through unlocks and purchases the constructs open up more combat options and allows you to customize your play style. All together, the game gives
you roughly 10-15 different constructs you can map to your controller. When you press either of the triggers you can press a corresponding face button to unleash your construct. Example: I hold down the left trigger and each face button (A, B, X, and Y) has a different construct available. In total you can have 8 specific constructs equipped at once, though it will take some time before you have that many available. Constructs vary from a typical blaster shots and baseball bats all the way up to hurling a fighter jet or transforming into a lumbering mech. I found the constructs to be enjoyable and you are required to use specific ones in certain situations. For example, you can deflect certain attacks with the baseball bat or create mines that you throw into machinery, etc.
They also incorporate the Green Lantern mythos into most aspects of the game play: your health is run by Hope energy, your constructs by willpower energy, you can recharge by finding your lantern and speaking the oath of the green lanterns, and you can perform an “over charge” by which you gain unlimite willpower for a short time. The game also has a leveling system by which you can unlock certain constructs (typically the constructs you don’t purchase are required in certain parts of the game) and can assign points and XP to purchase new constructs or level up your existing abilities. The thing I appreciated was leveling up your attacks actually changes what the construct looks like, which was a nice touch and not one I expected from a movie tie-in.
Enemy types are varied but by the time you are halfway to completion you will have seen them all. Since you can’t have a God of War style experience without quick time events they obviously show up to the party. I will say I was surprised how rarely they actually come up and most enemies can be killed as opposed to requiring you to finish them off with a quick time event which is always nice (as seeing the same canned animation 50 times in a row because of a QTE can get aggravating).
Levels are your basic point A to point B affair but sometimes they throw in a “flight sequence” to mix things up a bit. These levels control similar to Panzer Dragoon, with you flying straight forward and enemies approaching from the front or rear, and they only happen maybe twice in the whole game. These were just OK but I did have a little fun with them. I felt they lasted a little too long for being mostly a palette cleanser.
The game also supports drop-in, drop-out cooperative played locally.Player 1 will always take control of Hal and Player 2 will take control of Sinestro. While cooperative play doesn’t really add any new mechanics into the mix I did find it fun playing the game with my wife.
The story is something that those familiar with Green Lantern will somewhat already know. The Manhunters, robotic sentinels originally used and created by the Guardians as their police force before the Green Lanterns, are attacking Oa and you have to stop them. I’ll be honest; I knew who the villain was going to be within the first 15 minutes (as will anyone familiar with Green Lantern and the villains of the last decade). I thought the story was actually serviceable for what they were doing and they could have been much lazier with the execution, so that was nice. The voice acting is pretty good and Ryan Reynolds provides his own and does pretty well as does most of the cast. Sinestro’s audio sounded awkward a few times and there was a few spots near the end of the game where the audio editing seemed to clip out the end of a few lines of dialogue making everything seemed clipped and sentences running into each other. The game also does a good job of inserting classic Green Lantern tropes like Zamaron, sapphire energy, and even a really surprising and cool use of the yellow fear energy (though I have no idea if any of this, specifically the yellow fear energy, will be used in this context in the movie).
In terms of replay ability or extras there really are none as the only thing located in the extras section is trailers for the Green Lantern animated movies. The game doesn’t contain any unlockable content or costumes, which they really could have went into after the recent War of Light stuff in Green Lantern. There are 3 difficulty levels to choose from but you can go through a level select if you miss any collectibles (which bump up your life and power).
All in all I found the game to be surprisingly fun. The length is around 5-7 hours but once you beat the game there are no real incentives for replay outside of the standard achievement fare. If you found yourself with a copy of Green Lantern I can’t imagine you’d be disappointed though you might find the experience to be a little short overall. I can say that the gameplay is appropriate for the Green Lantern franchise and makes me hope for them to add onto this concept for any future Green Lantern titles.
At the time of writing this review I have beaten the game on hard difficulty for the Xbox 360. My Xbox Live gamer tag is Sammo21.