How difficult is it to hold your Wii Remote steady in your hands without it moving an inch? You’re probably thinking – quite simple really. But how about being low on health, hiding in the shadows while a psychotic hitman is looking straight at you…still that easy? Trying to stop your hands from shaking might be this games best use of the Wii-mote. However, does this little difference make the game any better? This game has had so much bad press that it actually spilled into the hype band wagon and as such some people must have had some high expectations.
What we have here is a game that is available on the PS2 as well and for good reason – it really is only a game with some “waggle” effects added on, with some terrible bugs hidden underneath all that filth.
You play as Dr Daniel Lamb who wakes up in a mental hospital that has been overrun by all its patients. Without any understanding of his past or why he is in this hospital, you are prompted with your first task – escape. As per usual this escape is more training than anything else and it is within the first 2 minutes of this game that the largest flaw in the game raises its nasty untamed head – flawed camera. It is just about impossible to play this game as you can’t plan ahead. You cannot, for example, twist the camera around the corner to see what you should do. Yes, one press of the “A’ button and you press yourself up against the wall (as you would in Metal Gear Solid) but that is it. Several other games have done a much better job on the Wii in this aspect, not sure what Rockstar were thinking…however, you will see there is a little twist to follow, which might explain this problem.
Once you get past the camera issue (or rather when you have accepted the flaw) you will be taught more basic fundamentals such as jabbing down with the Wii Remote to smack some old unlucky guy with a baseball bat or pressing and holding the “A” button behind another enemy and then striking down with the Wii Remote to activate a QTE (Quick Time Event) by mimicking the on-screen movements of the Wii Remote and Nunchuck. The longer you hold “A” before activating the QTE the more brutal the result.
Now for the twist – once you receive your first gun in the game it suddenly becomes one of the finest games I’ve played. Head shots are done with such accuracy that I actually found the game exceptionally easy. The Wii Remote lends itself well to the targeting system, and pressing “Z” while aiming provides you with the option to widen your scope vertically. In fact, I played most of the game aiming down the barrel of my gun so that I could manually adjust my camera.
With all your weapons at hands (axe, baseball bat, circular saw, crossbow, crowbar, hedge clippers, pen, plastic bag, pliers, saw, shard of glass, shovel, syringe and several types of guns) it goes without saying that this game has quite a bit of violence maintained throughout the pace of the game, but then so do most other games these days. So, what was all the big fuss about? Why is everybody so up in arms about it all?
The atmosphere and mood it sets is something that gives you this feeling that you are playing something that reminds you of the underworld. The movie 8MM is the only thing I could compare it to, very eerie. It feels dirty, it feels wrong, it feels sexist and it feels morally incorrect. Everything is just so raw and is portrayed in such an effortless, guiltless manner that you actually question yourself at times as to why you are playing it. The plot will also reveal something very sinister closer to the end which left me very unsettled.
For those that have never played a Manhunt game before – it’s basically a Hide and Seek game. In this case it’s a “Hide and you’re dead” game. Only when you hide in the shadows are you invisible to the naked eye, represented on-screen by darkening the health bar. A guard will walk right past you and that is when you strike. If you are seen by guards in a well lit area you run like hell to find shadow. The guards will search for you and then eventually give up and continue their patrolling patterns. That’s it in a nutshell.
The graphics in this game are really nothing special. The colours all look very “wishy-washy” and the environments all look very drab as it adds to the mood the game is trying to set. Sound is handled reasonably well, but overall it is something one would expect from developers like Rockstar in this day and age.
This game is neither here nor there. Even though it has some terribly unsettling moments I have played other games before that punctuate the eeriness even more (like Silent Hill) but it is the aspect of it being “an every-day occurrence” that makes one feel uneasy about it all. The game is playable, but it just lacks that spark to stick it up there with the other greats.