Michael Moran writes for Bleeding Cool:
Things that we know never work: Movie tie-in video games (except Goldeneye) and superhero videogames (except Arkham Asylum). It’s with some trepidation then that I took a look at Green Lantern: Rise Of The Manhunters and Transformers: Dark Of The Moon, The Game.
The people behind these games have a couple of hurdles to overcome.
First, they need to make a game that appeals equally to both fanboys and gamers that don’t know Oa from Goa. Or if you prefer Cybertron from Calgon. That means finding a compromise between gameplay and authenticity.
Second, they need to win over hardcore gamers who won’t even look at a movie licence.
Unlike the two exceptions listed above, the Green Lantern game is very closely coupled to the upcoming movie release. Ryan Reynolds provides the voice for Hal Jordan (and it sounds like a few other major cast members join him too) , and the look of the game is an accurate portrayal of the film’s CGI sets.
It’s also, like the film, 3D. As long as you have a 3D capable telly or a new Nintendo 3DS.
The game features a live ‘drop in’ co-op mode, so that a visiting pal can pick up a controller and fight by Hal’s side as best bud (for now) Sinestro.
Something that plagues more than one superhero game is the difficulty of representing the transition between ground combat and flight. The Iron Man game suffered particularly badly from this, with Tony Stark sliding around all over the environment like Jerry Mouse in a frozen kitchen.
The Green Lantern game avoids that by having dedicated ground combat arenas and flight-only missions and not mixing the two.
The game us set just ‘after’ the events of the movie, with Jordan a full fledged Lantern from the outset.
The adversaries in the game are, as you can probably divine from the title, robotic Spacecops-gone-bad The Manhunters.
The weapons are a constantly evolving series of ring constructs. They get more powerful as you work your way through the game, in the standard manner. There’s some great imagination in there, with hard-light fighter jets as well as fist and hammers.
It’s clear that the game’s designers have coped with the various challenges they are faced with by tailoring the game more to a younger audience. Younger, indeed, than the film’s certificate technically allows. That’s probably part of the decision to have purely mechanical cannon-fodder to destroy, in the manner of the Star Wars prequels.
If you have a young Green Lantern fan in the house, it might be worth a go but notwithstanding the great work done on the environments, Green Lantern: Rise Of The Manhunters is, I fear, doomed to soon join the legions of unloved movie spinoff games that throng the shelves of your local games exchange shop.
Meanwhile, the Transformers tie in is…I am shocked to tell you… cracking.
A videogame tie in is an unloved thing. A movie threequel is rarely the pick of the bunch. Put them together and surely you have a recipe for misery, no?
Transformers: Dark Of The Moon, The Game as it seems to be called, has a great multiplayer arena mode, easily grasped controls, and looks absolutely luscious.
I can’t say anything about the solo player aspect, which apparently forms a prequel to the upcoming movie, but the multiplayer works as well as any game in my experience.
You can pick a robot in disguise from one of four classes, trading off speed against power to suit your personal combat style. A simple twitch of the thumb-stick converts your Transformer between vehicle mode (good for whizzing around the well-crafted maps) and robot mode (good for blowing stuff up).
The over-the shoulder camera works superbly, with your Transformer fading into translucency when you get backed into a corner. The overall game mechanics, with switchable weapons and killstreaks to reward success, will be familiar to anyone who has played, say, a Call Of Duty or Halo game.
Perhaps it’s only fitting that a franchise that has been slated as little more than a live action videogame has one of the best spinoff console titles I’ve seen.
If you’re a Transformers fan, or you just like the idea of driving a tank that turns into a big old robot halfway through a fight, it’s definitely worth a look.
Activision will be releasing Transformers: Dark Of The Moon, The Game for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii and Nintendo 3DS on June 24, 2011. Michael tested it on the X-Box 360.
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment will be releasing the Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters for PS3, 360, Wii, DS, and 3DS on June 7th. Michael tested it on the PS3.