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Manhunt 2 Review

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Developer: Rockstar Games Publisher: Rockstar Games
Release Date: October 29, 2007 Also On: PS2, PSP and Wii

Violence in video games is a touchy subject. Politicians of all stripes love to point to games like Mortal Kombat and Grand Theft Auto as evidence of an industry that fails to restrain itself. Manhunt gave them even more ammunition in 2003. Now that Manhunt 2 has been released on PS2, PSP and Wii, having had played it extensively, I can say this is one of the most violent games ever. The added interaction with the Wii underscores the controversial content.

As a reviewer, though, we do not judge games based on controversy. What matters to us is if it is indeed a good game. To that extent, Manhunt 2 is less noteworthy of a title. It is neither the most engrossing story in a video game, nor the perfect mix of action and stealth. We are left with a slightly above average stealth-action game, lots of publicity and media scrutiny, and thousands of disappointed gamers expecting better.

The game starts off in insane asylum. Your character witnesses brutal beatings from the prison guards and staff. As my grandma used to joke, prison is not the Holiday Inn. This place is definitely not the Holiday Inn. When a power outage releases the prisoners, they seek out revenge. This reminds me a lot of The Suffering, where the lights quickly go out and the prisoners start to over-run the place. Although there are no monsters in this prison, unless you count the prisoners.

You do not spend much game time in the prison itself. It is more of a tutorial for how the controls work and the radar system. You will learn about the kill system as well. You can pull off one of three in Manhunt 2: a Hasty kill gets things over quickly, a Violent kill takes a little longer but as the title suggests, it is more violent, and lastly a Gruesome kill. Depending on which one you pull off, the longer the kill sequence will last.

There are many ways to kill your enemies in Manhunt 2. It is, afterall, the main selling point of the game. Of course you can use a number of different weapons and objects, but you can also set enemies on fire. Pistols, shotguns, machine guns and sniper rifles become available after a while of playing. New to Manhunt 2 are leaping kills where you can fall from above and take out the person. Whether you do it quietly or not is up to you, although it is clearly more beneficial to you and your health if you don’t cause a raucous.

One of my biggest complaints with Manhunt 2 is that it controls stiffly. It really could have been a lot smoother and it will cause situations where you may draw unneeded attention. The other problem I had, which is not too uncommon with Wii games, is that the camera angles are really off at times. I also wish that the kills were not as censored as they are with darkened and blurred out scenes. Maybe the most gruesome parts, but they really leave much of it up to your imagination. I understand they had no choice after they got the Adult-Only rating, but they overdid it, I think.

Manhunt 2 may be one of the most violent games in the industry’s history, but it certainly is not the best. The stealth-action elements can be interesting, yet the controls and camera are just frustrating. The added interactive nature of the Wii (and slightly better graphics) make the Wii version superior to the PS2, but not by much. Fans of the first Manhunt should probably like the second game as well. If you have not played Manhunt before, just imagine Splinter Cell with a lot more brutality. If that sounds interesting to you, give Manhunt 2 a try. Just not if you are young or faint of heart.

Graphics: 7
Sound: 9
Gameplay: 7
Creativity: 7.5
Replay Value/Game Length: 7
Final: 7.4
Written by Kyle Review Guide