Manhunt 2: will the gameplay sink it?

By Scott Tibbs, November 11, 2007

With the media's collective hissy fit about Manhunt 2, I figured I would share my memory of the first game, which I found extremely offensive. Manhunt was boring. It was repetitive. The controls were terrible. The graphics were below average. Most gamers would be offended by a game like that.

Manhunt had a cool concept and loads of potential. Imagine Metal Gear Solid with a horror theme and a storyline that mirrors "The Running Man", a 1980's Schwarzenegger movie. Improve the controls and the fighting engine and you have a classic. The problem is it quickly falls into a rut and never gets out. Sneak up on gang member, kill him in a gruesome way, repeat. Find some items along the way. Never ever allow yourself to be seen, because the clunky and unresponsive fighting engine is a lot closer to The Karate Kid on the old Nintendo Entertainment system than Rockstar's more recent fighting game, The Warriors.

According to this review, Manhunt 2 offers more of the same. With Max Payne and The Warriors under their belts, Rockstar Games has shown they are capable of making entertaining games. The concept of Manhunt 2 and the track record of the publisher could have made Manhunt 2 a classic. I have to wonder if Rockstar simply phoned it in on this game, hoping to gain sales with gore rather than gameplay. At the end of the day, nothing is a substitute for good gameplay.

I have to be fair here: I have not played Manhunt 2, so I do not know first hand if it is really that bad. Given that Rockstar has had four years to improve the gameplay mechanics, it can't be as bad as the first game. However, saying that a game is more fun that the original Manhunt is kind of like saying something hurts less than dropping a 38 pound concrete block on your bare foot. In other words, I'm not optimistic. Rent before you buy; I'm glad I did that with the first game.

On a more amusing note, check out this cartoon at Penny Arcade.

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