Manhunt 2 - first look

Check out the schizophrenic sequel to the goriest game ever

Like the first game, Manhunt 2 is set almost exclusively in places where no sane human being would ever want to set foot, let alone creep around in the shadows. The asylum in which the game starts is some 19th century horror that looks more like a dungeon than a place of mental healing, and it's filled with things like inmates who try to piss on you and orderlies beating up other escapees. It's also packed with single-use weapons - such as syringes and pens - that can be used to gruesome effect on the orderlies and murderous patients patrolling the hallways. These items can also help out in a fight if you're discovered, although they'll break after the first few hits you land, forcing you to rely on your fists afterward.

Like the first game, Manhunt 2 is set almost exclusively in places where no sane human being would ever want to set foot, let alone creep around in the shadows. The asylum in which the game starts is some 19th century horror that looks more like a dungeon than a place of mental healing, and it's filled with things like inmates who try to piss on you and orderlies beating up other escapees. It's also packed with single-use weapons - such as syringes and pens - that can be used to gruesome effect on the orderlies and murderous patients patrolling the hallways. These items can also help out in a fight if you're discovered, although they'll break after the first few hits you land, forcing you to rely on your fists afterward.

The fistfights look cool and all, but the stealth kills are the real draw here. Like in the first Manhunt, each of the weapons you'll find have three distinct levels of brutality, depending on how long you can lurk behind your intended victim. You're free to administer a quick, instant kill, but if you wait a few seconds before attacking, you'll get to see something a little more unsettling - like your victim getting his trachea ripped out by wire cutters (again, not quite as gruesome as it sounds). Wait even longer, and you'll pull off a brutal torture-kill, like the nutsackectomy we described earlier.

To help you pull off these killings, you'll be able to carry around four weapons at a time, including axes, shards of glass, plastic bags and even one or two guns, which can now be used for close-up, head-exploding executions. You won't always need a weapon, though; sometimes, there'll be a skull icon on your onscreen radar, which means you'll be able put something in the environment - like a phone or a fuse box - to lethal use. Each of these has just one level of brutality, but rest assured it'll be horrific enough to make gorehounds happy.

The fistfights look cool and all, but the stealth kills are the real draw here. Like in the first Manhunt, each of the weapons you'll find have three distinct levels of brutality, depending on how long you can lurk behind your intended victim. You're free to administer a quick, instant kill, but if you wait a few seconds before attacking, you'll get to see something a little more unsettling - like your victim getting his trachea ripped out by wire cutters (again, not quite as gruesome as it sounds). Wait even longer, and you'll pull off a brutal torture-kill, like the nutsackectomy we described earlier.

To help you pull off these killings, you'll be able to carry around four weapons at a time, including axes, shards of glass, plastic bags and even one or two guns, which can now be used for close-up, head-exploding executions. You won't always need a weapon, though; sometimes, there'll be a skull icon on your onscreen radar, which means you'll be able put something in the environment - like a phone or a fuse box - to lethal use. Each of these has just one level of brutality, but rest assured it'll be horrific enough to make gorehounds happy.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

After graduating from college in 2000 with a BA in journalism, I worked for five years as a copy editor, page designer and videogame-review columnist at a couple of mid-sized newspapers you've never heard of. My column eventually got me a freelancing gig with GMR magazine, which folded a few months later. I was hired on full-time by GamesRadar in late 2005, and have since been paid actual money to write silly articles about lovable blobs.

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