by Keaton Arksey
previewed on WII
Rocky path to manhunting
Violence sells. It’s really the only thing that can be said about how movies like Hostel and Saw get sequels and people still come out to see them. While movies like these are allowed to see the light of day, one game almost didn’t. Manhunt 2, the sequel to the PS2 game Manhunt, almost didn’t get released. The game was just too violent, said the ESRB, while they hit the game with the feared AO rating. Game critics and fans everywhere took sides, many stating that it was censorship. The game didn’t seem like it was coming out.
Then, Rockstar reworked the game, and resent it. Though there's no knowledge of what exactly was changed, the game received an M rating. Manhunt 2 was going to live.
Freedom to the insane
You play as Daniel Lamb, a scientist on the “Pickman Project”, dealing with controversial experiments led by Laura Whyte and Dr. Pickman. When funding is cut, they decide to move the whole project underground, and Lamb agrees to become a guinea pig for the project. However, an unforeseen side effect occurs, and patients are sent to Dixmore Institute for the Criminally Insane. During this time, Lamb goes insane with paranoia, questioning what is real and what's not. Six years after his commitment, a freak lightning storm knocks out the power at the asylum, knocking the security system out. Daniel decides to escape, but isn’t the only one.
Stealth will be a major part of the game. Chances are that if you try to take on all enemies head on, you won’t be escaping the asylum and exposing those who caused your mental state to falter. As in Splinter Cell, ambient noises such as machines running can be used to mask the sound of your movements, and to muffle the sounds of your kills. Shadows can be used for hiding, but if an enemy comes too close, the player will have to press certain buttons to regulate the hero's breathing and to keep from blowing his cover. Crawling and climbing are also new additions and expand the potential for exploration in the game.
Where the blood comes in
Manhunt 2 is a mix-up of different genres, including stealth, action and survival horror. What sets this game apart from a game like Splinter Cell is the executions. By sneaking behind the enemies and holding the A button, the player shifts through the levels of gruesome. White is considered hasty, yellow is violent, and red is gruesome (you want gruesome, by the way). And ooh baby is there gonna be a lot of violence. Before the reworking of the game, confirmed executions included taking a pen and stabbing an enemy in the neck with it (sweet), cutting into a man's skull with a saw (double sweet), and, what could be the most awesome, disgusting thing ever done in a videogame, take a pair of pliers and remove the manhood of another man.