Game Title: Manhunt 2
Genre: Stealth / Psychological Horror
Platform: PlayStation 2 (PS2)
ESRB Rating: Mature (M)
Developer: Rockstar London
Publisher: Rockstar Games
Release Date: October 29th, 2007
Overall Rating: 9/10
Review Author: HorrorGod
This week's spotlight is for Rockstar's controversial follow-up to Manhunt, the third person, stealth based, psychological horror game, cleverly titled... "Manhunt 2."
During a severe thunderstorm, the security systems at the Dixmor Asylum for the Criminally Insane momentarily go offline, opening the cell doors throughout the facility, resulting in the populace wandering freely through the corridors. Two such inmates are Daniel Lamb and Leo Kasper. Daniel is disoriented and partly amnesiac, unable to remember how or why he came to Dixmor. He and Leo then set out to unravel the secrets of Daniel's past, all the while pursued by bounty hunters and agents of a mysterious organization called "The Project".
"Manhunt 2" has nothing in common with the first game, as far as story is concerned. Gameplay wise, it is much like the first, but with a few additions. Unlike Cash in part 1, Daniel can now climb, crawl, and even brawl -- although stealth executions are still the best method for taking out enemies. And speaking of executions, aside from the assortment of sharp and blunt objects at your disposal, you can now execute enemies with "environmental" objects.
The AI is also much smarter in this installment. Unlike the first game, where Cash could just lose his pursuers in the shadows, Daniel must also worry about being heard in deafening silence. A mini game will occasionally pop up, which is when Daniel must control his breathing, or else he will be found by those hunting him.
You can also use distractions (radios and other machines) to drown out the noise you create, whether it be from running, opening doors, or even executions.
"Manhunt 2" was originally supposed to release in the summer of 2007, though after it was handed an "AO" (Adults Only) rating, Rockstar/Take-Two had to delay the release in order to censor it. They removed the scoring system for performing executions and even blurred / added a static effect on some of the more gruesome kills. Once the new version was given an "M" rating, Rockstar released the title that October.
The game received mixed reviews, much like its predecessor, though positive reactions came mostly for its psychological horror based storyline. Which in my opinion, it deserved. Where "Manhunt" made me feel dirty, "Manhunt 2" did not so much. Mainly, because I was actually more engrossed in the story, than I was the shock value of the killing (the kills being censored didn't hurt, either.)
Rockstar would still go on to sell the uncensored "AO" version for PC, as an online download.
It would later be pulled when Direct2Drive, the service downloaded the game through, would be bought by GameFly.
I really enjoyed "Manhunt 2." And it actually made me want a 3rd installment in the stealth based horror series, but sadly, there has not been even so much as a whisper of that ever happening. It wasn't the sucker punch to the face like the first one was. With it's censorship, I believe more people had to pay attention to the story -- which is good -- rather than the graphic violence. If you never got around to playing it, I highly recommend you give this one a shot.
Unfortunately, the PSP version is the only one you can currently download on PSN. Maybe one day it will get a "PS2 Classics" release, but until then your only other choice is to hunt down a PS2 copy. Which ever you decide, happy hunting.
Please Note: The views expressed in this message are the views of the review author, who is in no way affiliated with SCEA or PlayStation.com.