yummylee's Manhunt 2 (PlayStation 2) review

A giant drop from the quality of its predeccesor

The Manhunt series are without a doubt one of the most controversial series going. They make Mortal Kombat seem kid friendly to the amount of chaos the manhunt games have caused.

The first was released to your typical critiscm from parents and the like, but some pretty favourable reviews from the critics. While incredibly gorey with the focus being on some really nasty executions of your enemys, it still had some good stealth gameplay, a fantastic and equally disturbing script and in general a good way to vent out some seriously pented up frustration.

Manhunt 2 follows the same controversial gameplay focus on utilising alot of incredibly gorey, repulsive and downright disturbing excecutions for you to unleash.
But still, it doesn't quite give you the same feel as the original, sure its got some very (half censored) graphic gore all around, but the other aspects such as the story don't give it the motivation nor fear that the original manhunt gave u.

That said though it still doesn't get in the way from being an overall creepy experience with some solid stealth mechanics and some still very satisfying executions.

Storywise at least does start off strong with some a pretty complelling first mission. As Danny lamb, a patient at some mental asylum, you've managed to somehow get out of your cell thanks to the help of a fellow inmate. You must then make your way out of their and find out how to get your own life back and also somehow stop the mysterious company known as the project from capturing you again.

Though this time it doesn't quite feel like your 'forced' to commit these awful acts of murder. While Cash from Manhunt 1 was constantly thrown in 'scenes' with many different hunters in his way, Danny however could of had the choice to just move on from all this crap, but decided to stay and execute his way to the truth. Well no thanks to his very psychotic partner in crime Leo.

Setting aside the less than motivation situations you'll find yourself in, the surprisingly imaginative executions will always make you want to see them all if not for your own sadistic needs, but to actually survive this tale. Much like manhunt 1, manhunt 2 stress' on keeping yourself hidden, if your spotted it won't be long before you might find yourself starting again from a checkpoint. While Cash was a formidable fighter and was able to take a fair bit of damage and deal even more back, Danny however really has to keep to the shadows for how easily it is for him to totally have his whole life bar drain.

But when in stealth thats were Danny excells, he may of course hide in the shadows, make noises to attract the hunters via knocking on the wall or maybe throwing an item over somewhere. He may back up against many different flat surfaces and can do a peek around the corner too. But theres no hanging ability or even a sorely wanted crouch move etheir, not like you'de really need them, but a crouch move would of least helped give the stealth gameplay abit more substance.

The weapons available for your sick executions are all varied enough, ranging from say your standard ballpoint ben to the series famed crowbar to even a set of pliers.

Each weapon just like the first has 3 different stages of executions, holding the execute button for a peroid of time brings up different colours. Initially its just white which would show you a rather quick kill (quick, but far from painless). Then you have yellow, which is a violent kill, usually consisting of 'alot' wacks or stabs. Then you have red, which is gruesome kill and they luckily live up to its title. Gruesome kills are usually are a complete mess with Danny totally masacring his foe, stabbing and slicing everything he can usually. Even with the part censoring you can still make out bits and the squilching sounds are still very evident, so while you don't get the full show you still got for the most part many different gorey executions to enjoy.

Whats even more though is that now for one you may execute with firearms, theres only one but there still rather nasty stuff. Such as wacking someone to the ground with the but of your shotgun, then predictably followed by a close shot to the face. You also have enviromental kills, which are marked on the radar as a skull. When you manage to lure a hunter nearby the skull, and of course you happen to be behind him, you then just quickly press the execute button for Danny to grab whatevers nearby be it a manhole cover to a a fuse box. Again theres only one type of kill per enviromental items, but there rather sparce in between so there still pretty good to look forward to.

Moving onto the gunplay, that sadly falters compared to the stealth parts. Its rather satisfying sayin blowing a guys head open (totally uncensored) but the aiming for one is 'very' loose. While you do have an auto aim, that too doesn't aim quite where u want it at times. You also have a free aim option, but thanks to the serious looseness of the aiming its almost practically usless. Some firearms such as the sniper rifle though of course have no choice but to use the free aim and can lead to alot of missed shots by just how sensitive the aimer is. You'll get the shots eventually i presume, but still is rather annoying how there isn't any sensitivity alterer.

Gameplay wise thats all manhunt 2 has to offer, some moderatly decent gun battles with some satisfying stealth gameplay coupled with alot of gorey executions. Occasionally you will switch to controlling Leo, but he controls the exact same as Danny and has no advantages or anything, so it doesn't change much besides your appearance.

The sound is pretty good. The voice acting is however rather exceptional with Danny and leo both giving the impression of desperation and murderous intent respectivly. The other characters you'll meet all do give some rather good performances and the hunters too will make you feel uneasy at times with their disturbing and unsettling dialoque. As ar as music goes, theres not much really and what is their isn't very noticable. It mainly utilises the art of silence to create the atmosphere, that and a grainy filter that makes the screen look like some old VHS tape.

Graphically is rather ok for a (technically) year old game. The character models do look abit blocky at times, and the characters don't change their facial expressions beyond the norm amidst gameplay. The cutscene graphics though are pretty good and don't cause much problems with the animations and the like.

So overall its a pretty decent package. The problems though for me would be for one, the storyline again doesn't quite give you the feeling of fighting through these freaks because you have to. Sure you'll want to uncover the truth, but wonder was all this blood shed really worth it? Plus the many different 'gangs' of hunters are less prominent, you'll simply switch between each whenever the story asks for it instead of slaughtering a gang every like 5 levels. Not like its much of a problem, but the less emphasise on creating alot of different gangs sort of worn the hunters overall personalitys down a little. Whats more though is now your not rated upon completing a level. So in fact you don't even need to try the more gruesome executions besides of course just to enjoy the gore. Its a shame since it doesn't really give much motivation to come back to a specific level.

Theres two difficulty settings though, the harder on apprioatly titled 'insane' with the difficulty being possible to drive you insane. Theres also two different endings aswell, but no minigames or ratings to go after does lower the replay value sadly.

For while it lasts though its a pretty good gorey romp through a serial killers psych and does offer an ok story to sit through and alot of badguys to execute.

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