PART ONE (The Cursed Comparison)
Unfortunately. Manhunt 2 deviates far too much from Manhunt 1, nowdays people complain that sequels are too similar to their first, second or even third installment. Manhunt 2 is an example of being way different to Manhunt 1... In a bad way.
The main issue Manhunt 2 has its that it doesn't know what game it wants to be, does it want to be a stealth game or a third person shooter? Spoilers, it's the latter. Where as Manhunt 1 did have shooting involved and unfortunately a considerable chunk of it's levels used shooting, it never strayed away from it's main core mechanic. Stealth. Manhunt 2 on the other hand doesn't feel like a Manhunt game, it feels like a poor man's GTA with amped violence and executions.
The main gimmick that Manhunt 1 was mostly known for was it's executions, here it works the same with some new things but now it has a minigame of sorts. It's intention I believe is to simulate how the main character would execute his enemies but you also doing it. While this could work it quickly wears off for two reasons. (Thankfully you can disable it)
It's repetitive and most importantly, it lacks context. The executions in Manhunt 1 worked because of the context given, you were not killing people in gruesome ways just... Because. Manhunt 2 gives you no explanation as to why you should execute more violently or not other than achieving a high score. and this also ties with the gameplay.
As I mentioned before Manhunt 2 feels like a third person shooter now, this is because a heavy emphasis on gunfights... While some things have improved like the gun feeling, it's pretty much Manhunt's 1 shooting with some shakyness and more gore.
A major thing that made Manhunt enjoyable was it's stealth mechanic. The first game made you feel vulnerable, not only because of the atmosphere, sound design and enemies, but because you actually were vulnerable, a face to face encounter in Manhunt 1 was not the wisest of ideas as you can easily go down.
Manhunt 2 still has the stealth mechanic but the game is too afraid of staying on this mechanic too long, which brings me to a major downside on this game. You are a killing machine. That feeling of vulnerability and weakness you felt in the first game? Gone. This is more evident when you can take two guys at once! Something that was pretty much impossible in Manhunt 1, but here you can easily do it.
And this is why I feel that Manhunt 2 is a wasted potential compared to Manhunt 1, it doesn't feel like Manhunt... But enough comparing, let's see what this game offers in terms of gameplay and mechanics.
PART TWO (Gameplay and Mechanics)
Manhunt 2 borrows most of the same gameplay from it's first installment, but also changes things way too much.
For starters, Stealth is barely a thing in the game, the first few levels in the game may be my favorites because Stealth plays a major role. Though this feeling quickly wears off when you realize you are pretty much unstoppable if you know what you're doing.
Another big change is to gunplay, this game revolves more about shooting than stealth. Now I do want to mention that stealth is still present in most levels but they quickly turn into a firefight fest with you going from cover to cover or even just going gunz'blazing, which is what I was doing most of the time, this is mainly because the player's health has been buffed, you no longer feel like a weakling as you did in Manhunt 1.
With that said let's talk about the executions.
As I said before, the executions in this game are pretty much the same as the first one except with an added minigame that tries to break repetition, but there are some new things. There are new executions in ways of Environmental, Jumping and Firearms executions. I find these to be welcome additions to the set but unfortunately, they serve no real purpose in the game besides getting a high score.
Talking about high score, Manhunt 2 is also divided into levels like it's predecessor, unfortunately the bonus features that Manhunt 1 had are absent, like unlocking concept arts, and new levels. Though you can unlock a bonus feature which is an alternative ending but that's it.
As for other new features like, a minigame to not be spotted when you are in the shadows. Climbing and crawling, and other few things.
PART THREE (Storyline and Setting)
You play as Daniel Lamb an inmate / scientist that has been used for experiments, you have amnesia unfortunately. But fortunately your good old pal Leo Kasper helps you escape the asylum you've been put, you quickly start to uncover your past and the reasons you are like this.
Manhunt's 2 storyline is a mixed bag for me. While I do find the plot interesting, the main issue it has it's that its such a mess, where as Manhunt's 1 storyline was very much straight to the point, this one is convoluted and sometimes it has unnecessary exposition.
If you've played Manhunt 1 you'll know that Cash gets very little backstory, we learn of him through the same storyline without residing to the past. Manhunt 2 relies much more on the past and discovering who your character is. The main focus in this game is Daniel and Leo, and I think it could have worked if the plot twist wasn't so obvious.
Spoilers... Leo is not real, he's in Daniel's mind... Sorta.
As it's obvious in the journey to the end we'll encounter many different enemies and characters... Unfortunately there's almost 0 characters or factions that are even memorable, with the only exception being Daniel and Leo.
Another huge change is to the setting, where as the first game took place in 1 night, this one takes place several days, this is not Carcer city mind you, so that claustrophobic and scary feeling the first game had it's gone, not only because you're a killing machine but because the locations don't have much of that tense atmosphere anymore.
PART FOUR (Extended Pros and Cons)
At this point it may seem like I absolutely hate this game. But Manhunt 2 has some things that are still fun.
- Gameplay can be fun and it's at is best in the first few levels where Stealth predominates over shooting, these sections are easily the most fun
- Storyline is interesting to some degree
- With the added climbing, level design has much more verticality and it's much more fun that the flat terrains Manhunt 1 had
- Voice acting in some character are well done
- Sound design again is top notch
- It's polished and works well for the most part.
- Just like Manhunt 1, shooting is the weakest part of this game and unfortunately, a huge chunk of this game relies on it... Way, way too much.
- Stealth is barely present in the game. But when it's present, it might as well be an extra alternative to complete the level because you're a Terminator, player's health has been considerably buffed along with melee damage. Making the Hide and Seek mechanic completely useless
- While the game has some shocking moments, it's hardly ever scary, and sometimes it tries too hard with jumpscares that don't end up working.
- Executions lack any real meaning besides getting a high score
- Unmemorable characters and factions for the most part
- The AI appears to be worse than the first game
- Locked at 30 FPS
- No vertical mouse aim (Except when you're aiming)
- No bonus features (aside from a laughable alternative ending)
PART FIVE (In Conclusion)
Overall, Manhunt 2 is a disappointing sequel to Manhunt, I really wanted to like this game but I just can't. The huge change to stealth in favor to gunplay is what lowers this game's score... It doesn't feel like Manhunt, and that's the problem, if this game was not related to Manhunt it could perhaps stand on his own. But unfortunately it's not.
Is this a bad game? No it's not, it's a mediocre third person shooter with optional-ish stealth and executions. But the reason of why I'm nitpicking this, is because Manhunt 1 was such a solid experience from start to finish and seeing this. It's a downgrade from Manhunt 1. Granted you can still have fun from this game. But it's not the same amount of fun you'll get from Manhunt 1.
Again like Manhunt 1. Game's not afraid of being graphic and violent, and now it has been amped even more, if you're sensitive or easily perturbed to gore you may not like the game.
Also the character models have 4 fingers and Manhunt 1 model's had 5 fingers... Truly disappointing.
As of right now, there's no digital store to buy the game, unless you find a copy out there, the other option is pirating it. If you're expecting an upgrade from Manhunt, don't bother it's not worth it, but if you're into shooters... I guess you'll like this game to some degree?