It doesn't shock me that Rockstar Games decided to create a sequel to the gory 2003 stealth/horror game. It doesn't surprise me that the developers set out to make a game that is even more twisted and disturbing than the first game. And it certainly doesn't surprise me that this sequel has become a lightning rod for controversy. What does surprise me is where I'm playing this over-the-top, ultra-violent game full of brutal murders, sexual diversions and non-stop four letter words. This is the kind of thing I would expect from the PlayStation or Xbox, but I'm playing this on the Nintendo Wii. I'm not sure what to make of that.
Despite a few notable exceptions, Nintendo consoles are generally regarded as a kid-friendly game system. As a first party developer Nintendo has focused most of their attention on games that appeal to all ages, and for the most part third party companies have followed suit. Apparently when it came to the Wii Nintendo wanted to shake some of that stereotype, because they shocked everybody by giving ridiculously violent action game, Manhunt 2, the green light.
But don't get too excited, because Manhunt 2 may be violent, gruesome and made specifically for adults ... but that doesn't keep it from being a disappointing Wii game. Fans of the original game will no doubt continue to love this continuation; however some may wonder why the series hasn't evolved much and why the look and feel of the game is so dated. There's still a fun game to be had in Manhunt 2, but Rockstar's track record is better than this.
In Manhunt 2 you play Daniel Lamb, a Dixmor patient who manages to escape his confinement thanks to his "friend," Leo. Together the two character set out to not only escape the hospital's personal goons, but also to uncover the secrets of something called "The Project." Throughout this lengthy adventure you will be given hints about the man you used to be, what happened to your family, who Leo is, where the two of you have gone and ultimately why you ended up in the Dixmor Hospital for the Criminally Insane. While none of this is especially scary, it does tell an interesting story full of twists, turns and a ton of ultra-violence.
Even though the game may have a stronger narrative than the original game, in practice this is pretty much the same old game we played four years ago. The game's lack of any real innovation is certainly something the critics can use against the game, but if it wasn't like the first game was the most innovative game on the block. Like your top grossing Hollywood horror movie, Manhunt was more about style and mood more than gameplay and substance. If you are one of those people who didn't like the first game then I can guarantee that you won't like this game, but if did get into the horror aspects of the original then you might enjoy this significantly less scary sequel.
If you didn't play the original Manhunt then here's a quick refresher course. In Manhunt you play a deranged man who is being hounded by that pesky voice in their ear (in this case it's your "friend" Leo). In short the object of the game is to get from one place to another without being detected. But since there are guards, federal agents, evil doctors, and policemen patrolling the area, getting from one place to another unnoticed is easier said than done. In most action games all you need to do is grab your trusty gun and run around killing enemies, but since you just broke out of the insane asylum, you find yourself completely weapon-less. And don't even think about rushing in and taking them all on in a fist fight, this isn't Streets of Rage or Final Fight.
Thankfully there are objects lying all around the level that you can use to kill those guards patrolling the area. All you need to do is hide in the shadows and sneak up behind your enemy and perform a death move. Performing these death moves is actually pretty easy, when your enemy's back is turned you will need to be close to them and hold down the "A" button. The longer you hold that button the more gruesome the stealth kill will be. For example, you can just walk up and push the button quickly, while that will certainly kill them it won't be as graphic as if you held it down until the marker was either yellow or red. I won't lie to you, it's the stealth kills that get the most attention, I wouldn't be surprised if most of the people who bought this game picked it up exclusively to see Daniel Lamb kill people in gross and sadistic ways.
This Nintendo Wii version adds a motion-sensing element to the game. The game still plays like its PSP and PlayStation 2 counterparts, but now you will be able to use the Wii's remote to perform the stealth kills. In practice this is really more of a gimmick than anything, basically when you get into a kill situation the game tells you a direction to move the control while your virtual character does unthinkable things on the screen. The motions the game tells you to make roughly translate to how you would use each of the weapons, so expect to make stabbing, punching and hitting motions. This added element of interactivity is fun, but it doesn't really add to the gameplay like I was hoping it would. These motions are fun to perform once or twice, but when you're constantly having to do them it gets kind of annoying.
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