And play well it does. Manhunt 2
plays like a combination of Metal Gear
and Resident Evil
- all the gore of RE
plus the sneaking of MG
. If that doesn't sound like fun to you and you were expecting more of a run-and-gun adventure, you'll be sorely disappointed. This protagonist is not much of a He-Man. He's spooky in a resourceful, "I'll kill you with a pen a la Linda Hamilton in that Terminator movie," way more than he's intimidating as an action hero. Daniel Lamb and his escapee buddy are actually kind of pitiful, a bit like The Plague Dogs
in human form. Adams' book is actually a pretty good point for comparison since it features two miserable canine rejects from a testing facility that escape and try to evade danger while finding answers to their past. Like the dogs, the people in Manhunt 2
are capable of some violent acts and aren't always in control of their faculties. Lamb commits atrocities and then becomes sick as if he's shocked to be watching himself perform the act. The violence is stylized, but not enough to avoid some pretty sickening imagery. This is not a game for kids, this is not a game for kids, this is not a game for kids.
Did I mention that this was rated "M" for Mature? No parent in his or her right mind should let their child play Manhunt 2 until the child is heading off to college. The comparison to draw from a more popular medium is the film series, Saw. No doubt there are parents that allowed their high-school age children to see these movies, but it doesn't seem right from where I'm sitting. Saw, Hostel, and other similar movies are on a thin line between portraying violence and glorifying violence. Sitting in a theater observing incredibly violent acts as a form of entertainment is not likely to be everyone's cup of tea, but at least as adults we choose what to watch with a well-informed, adult perspective. Children without proper perspective are likely to watch violent movies, listen to music about violence, read violent literature or comics, and play violent games like Manhunt 2. The lack of perspective is dangerous because it may mean that a child's ability to maintain disbelief is not well developed. Enough violent images are imparted through the nightly news but there is something more infectious and powerful about controlling the action in Manhunt 2. As an adult pastime, it is actually very entertaining.
Manhunt 2 features two escaped members of a hospital that is connected to "The Project." This connection smacks of foul play and something twisted is going on when a smart, successful individual like Daniel Lamb can end up as the bloody killer depicted in the game. Playing as Lamb, you'll become party to his violence, helping him act out some pretty twisted executions. It's not important to list these. After you've seen a guy slashed up into little pieces with a shard of broken glass a few times, it isn't incredibly different to see other forms of murder. The challenge comes from using the objects in the environment and the shadows to surprise enemies. Catching them off guard and sneaking up behind them gives Lamb the opportunity to kill them in one of several ways. The press that Manhunt 2 is earning comes from some of the more gruesome ways to off an enemy. There isn't just random killing, though. Lamb and his partner have different agendas, but Lamb is in charge initially and determined to find out what happened to land him in the psych-ward from which he recently escaped. The story unravels slowly, but is pretty compelling; I won't spoil it for ya...