Reviewed: December 8, 2007
Released: October 29, 2007
I played the first Manhunt when it came out on PS2. I remember being sickly excited because I loved many of the other titles from Rockstar Games. I remember thinking how hideously wonderful an idea it was…being hunted by people and killing them for survival…some kind of twisted game. I must have forgotten, though, how grossly disturbed I had been, to the point where I didn’t even want to finish the first installment because of how dirty and weird it made me feel. I must have forgotten, because I decided to play Manhunt 2.
I’m not easily offended, grossed out, or turned off from any experience, especially when it comes to gaming. Usually, in my book, bloodier is better. But, somehow, Manhunt 2 just goes over some kind of line for me. I believe that if you have a part of your brain that can be offended by something, you will be offended by some part of this game. I think that, for me, it was killing people in leather gimp-esque style costumes in a fetish bar. Something about that made me step back and question why the hell I was playing this game in the first place.
Granted, the general concept is really interesting. Rockstar creates a really involved atmosphere of insanity and brutal violence, but…as I played this game, I had to stop and ask myself…do I really want to live in a world like this…even if it is just a simulation? Games are supposed to be fun. Enjoyable. Even games that involve killing are fun (at least for me) for reasons other than just the killing. With Manhunt and now Manhunt 2 I feel like the game is merely a celebration of perversity and violence. How that translates into fun…I don’t really know.
Though Rockstar incorporated a few really interesting things into the control scheme for the Wii version of this game, I ultimately found that the game was repetitive and lacking. One of my favorite features in the game was that while hidden in shadows, if the enemy was alerted to your presence, you had to hold the remote perfect still while they looked for you. If you moved the remote, a dot moves inside a shrinking circle. If the dot goes outside the circle, you were spotted.
This feature, along with the motion controlled finishing moves and the crazy home-video-over-the-shoulder-shaky-Blair-Witch-style camera definitely created a very effectively creepy atmosphere for the game. In that respect, I applaud Rockstar for their efforts.
The killing moves are interesting on the Wii. You do a kind of “Simon-says” of murder, following the instructed steps to dispatch your prey. One of the most memorable was when I had a baseball bat and came up behind an unsuspecting fellow. The game had me “poke” the guy in the back with the bat, causing him to turn around and face me, whereupon I smashed his head in with a full, out-of-the-park swing.
Yes, the first few times you do this, these things are pretty entertaining, even though it is sick. However, the finishing moves do end up feeling very repetitive over time. And there is really no difficulty to them. At least, I didn’t find that there was really a challenge in getting the moves “right”.
Ultimately, I felt like the sneaking around and killing people while they were looking the other way style of the game was kind of boring after a while. And if you try and Rambo it and just fight fair against anybody, you end up getting your butt handed to you faster than anything. The only way to succeed in the game is to be devious and brutal.
Another problem I had with the game was the fact that the camera is very difficult. I often found myself feeling like I wanted to look somewhere and couldn’t…the only way to really look around in the game is to switch to first person view, but then you are limited in what you can do.
I have to give the visuals a good score just because these are probably some of the best graphics I’ve seen on a Wii game yet. There is actually atmosphere and ambiance in the worlds. The characters seem detailed and realistic…albeit in a gross and disturbing way. I definitely have to say that Rockstar did a good job of raising the bar for the other Wii game designers by showing what the Wii is capable of handling as far as graphics. While most games for the Wii seem cartoonish and flat, this game definitely had the most grit and depth of detail that I have seen so far.
Though I wasn’t impressed with what the game was showing me, I was impressed with how they were showing it to me. I really hope this is only a sign of what kinds of games we’ll be able to expect from Nintendo in the future on the Wii.
Though I didn’t like the game overall, I will admit that the sound was decent. For a game that relies on your senses to keep you alive, you would hope that you would be able to hear specific things to help you stay alive…then you have to remember that your character in the game is a crazy person escaped from a loony bin…so you end up hearing and seeing some things that really aren’t there, which makes for a pretty edgy gaming experience at times.
I felt that the sound gave you exactly what you needed: the ability to function in the game…unlike the camera controls. Also, during the execution moves, the sound effects are particularly disturbing and squishy sounding…so kudos! It definitely makes your stomach turn imagining exactly what is going on with the various weapons you use to brutally dismember, disembowel, and dispatch your opponents.
Unless you really are a serial killer at heart, I just can’t imagine anybody finding too much re-play value in this game. Granted, the first time through is rather entertaining at times, but once you kill a few people, it just starts to get redundant and old. Even just from a gameplay standpoint, the game isn’t really all that great. Combine that with the fact that it really made me queasy at times, and you just don’t have a recipe for a great game.
It’s definitely not one that I’ll find myself going back to anytime soon, even to check out the alternate ending. Maybe after a really bad day at work or something like that.
All in all, I wouldn’t recommend this game to anybody as a purchase unless you really loved the first game and just couldn’t wait for another installment. Otherwise, you will get the most enjoyment out of this game after a weekend rental. Anything more than that and you might want to reconsider your overall mental health.
The game looks and sounds good, but it’s repetitive and boring. And the world that it takes you to just isn’t one that this reviewer wanted to spend too much time in. If you feel like I didn’t give the game a fair shot, we’ll just have to agree to disagree.