Manhunt 2

Preview: Mental, pen-stabbing carnage

After seeing Rockstar's sequel to one of the most controversial games of all time, we can honestly say it's even nastier, more poo-ridden and all-round mental than the original.

In Manhunt 2 psychosis, mistrust and plain old head-screwing madness is the name of the game, as main character Danny and his mental mate attempt to escape an unpleasant asylum that's actually a cover-up for all kinds of nasty government experiments.

It's striking just how much the sequel has improved in terms of presentation; the intro scene, which opens into thunder-storm-inspired chaos, is incredibly cinematic with screams and cries emanating from the halls and doctors being dragged off and beaten by NPCs.


This new cinematic touch also extends into the main game, with a Ghost Recon-esque gritty camera filter effect spilling atmosphere into every shot.

The sound, again, is fantastic. The first game won a BAFTA for its audio and Manhunt 2 thankfully hasn't dropped the ball; we can hear echoes bouncing from every corner of the building, rain trickling from the windows and the pitter-patter of the guard's feet spindling around the corner.

Stealthily sneaking passed locked-up inmates - including a bloke that decides to take a piss on us and some poor chap who's hung himself - we're subtly introduced back to the Manhunt formula. This, expectedly, means we're soon smashing a bloke in the face with a pencil.

Combat is much more visceral than before, here sporting an over-the-shoulder Resident Evil 4-style camera for sparring against testy nutters. Most of the time you're better off taking the quiet approach; grabbing the nearest, carefully laid-out syringe and poking some poor sod in the neck by sneaking from behind.

As before there are various levels of gore in your executions. The longer you hold down the attack button the more gruesome your kill, ranging from quick and efficient hasty kills to stomach-churning gruesome dispatches.

But despite being able to fill people's faces in with a needle Rockstar has poured a level of morality into the story. Danny, the game's protagonist, actually isn't a violent man at all. As the story goes, he refuses to engage in violence and was incarcerated to cover "The Project".

A couple of years in the slammer have obviously mellowed him out though, because he's now pulling a fist-sized chunk of flesh out of the security chief's back with a pair of pliers. "Please stop! I don't want to hurt anyone!" he shouts to the other guards, perhaps an attempt on Rockstar's part to dodge some of the first game's infamous controversy?


Killing affairs are heavily swung towards the style of Sam Fisher. Sneaking in for execution kills and hiding bodies in the shade is essential to avoid alarm, and in Manhunt 2 you can create you own shadows by shooting out lightbulbs spurring all kinds of Fisher-esque strategy.

One stealth section has us sneaking passed a bloodlust-crazed inmate and then inevitably poking him the throat with the nurse's new Parker.

You're not always safe when the good old stealth meter pops up though, as we soon discovered when a guard decided to check out our hiding place and cause a quick-fire QTE sequence to stay hidden. This added even more tactical flair to stealth sections and frankly, we approve the use of QTE sequences in any upcoming title.

A later level gives further examples of Manhunt 2's expanded and deeper plotline, as Danny tries to piece together his life by following leads. One of these winds us up in a dark and dirty brothel, full of tooled-up goons, the occasional nutcase and ah, there are some prostitutes in there somewhere as well.

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