Not for the faint of heart

User Rating: 9 | Manhunt PS2
Graphics: 9/10
Gameplay: 8.5/10
Sound: 9/10
Challenge: 9/10
Overall: 8.8/10

+ A very interesting story that makes the game kind of a playable snuff film
+ Great dark atmosphere designed to evoke claustrophobia and paranoia
+ Great use of lighting and the 'dark spots' blend in neatly with their surroundings
+ The best-looking game so far from Rockstar on the PS2
+ Cleverly crafted minimalist soundtrack that sets just the right mood of eeriness
+ Great darkly humorous dialogue from nearly all the non-playable characters in the game
+ Nicely implemented, stealthy trial-and-error gameplay that requires brains

- During certain levels, particularly shootouts, the difficulty feels unnecessarily tweaked
- I went unnoticed by the AI during some very obvious moments
- Despite its depth, the game is quite linear and lacks repeat value

Conclusion

Manhunt is a great game, both technically and creatively. The main aspect of Manhunt is, in simple terms, to kill. There are two ways of killing: visceral executions and shootouts. Shootouts don't really take off until half-way through the game, and are basically standard auto-aim shootouts with the stealth and gore factors tweaked up. In order to perform a successful execution, you have to silently stalk the prey for a while; the game provides many dark spots to facilitate the player for this purpose. Almost every item features three levels of executions, and dozens of items are featured in the game.

An example of a Level 1 execution would be choking an enemy with a baseball bat (to death, of course). A Level 2 execution might feature severing an enemy's nuts by pulling a sickle between his legs. A Level 3 execution can involve stabbing an enemy in the back with a crowbar, then jamming it in the victim's skull and wiggling it around, and finally prying the head off from the neck bone. Each execution is presented in a very graphic manner and as a cutscene, and accentuated with a grainy filter and scan lines, as if being played off a dingy CCTV camera, for a great artistic effect.

Manhunt is a worthy game to own for gamers thirsty for some degenerate thrills and ground-blazing style, as well as those looking for a solid stealth-action challenge, since the game's difficulty and deliberately minimal HUD - even though they do add to the tension - can be taxing for the impatient casual gamer.
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