Manhunt 2

The continuation of the brutal action game Manhunt by Rockstar, Manhunt 2 — is a classic sequel with a darker atmosphere, an intriguing storyline, improved gameplay, and an unprecedented level of ultra-violence. The studio began working on the second installment as early as 2004, but the game faced a prolonged development due to Rockstar's focus on creating GTA 4. Additionally, Manhunt 2 had to endure intense censorship before release. Eventually, the game made its way to PC in 2009, significantly outdated.

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Refer to GTA and Manhunt

Manhunt 2 is a standalone sequel; prior knowledge of the original is not necessary for playing. It also belongs to the GTA universe, just like the first game. Yet, the sequel took a significant step towards a different approach.

The most substantial change pertains to the narrative delivery. The game doesn't attempt to break the "fourth wall" between events and the player, where he needs to guess everything himself. Instead, Manhunt 2 relies on standard methods where the player is merely a spectator, and the characters encountered along the way tell him the story. That's why the plot got more attention: the pool of significant characters expanded to five and often mentioned other individuals. Throughout the gameplay, some significant moments and dialogues occur periodically.

The gameplay foundation of the predecessor — a stealth action with survival horror elements — remains intact until the very end. As does the atmosphere — players feel fear and isolation throughout the entire experience. This is realized through a gloomy and frightening environment, level decorations, and subtler techniques to instill atmosphere.

Manhunt 2 contains a few references to other Rockstar games:

  • On one of the levels, you can find a newspaper that mentions the events of the first part. Additionally, there's an abbreviation for the construction company 'J.E.C. & Son,' where the initials conceal the name of the Manhunt protagonist;
  • References to Grand Theft Auto are limited to popular brands, such as Pißwasser, or posters advertising movies, stores, companies, and other fictional entities from various games in the series.

Plot & Characters

The hero of Manhunt 2 is a fragile scientist named Daniel Lamb. He ended up in a psychiatric hospital after a tragic incident that led to memory loss and a mental disorder. At the hospital, he became friends with Leo Kasper, another patient. Both remember being participants in an unsuccessful government experiment on mind control.

Once an opportunity arises, they escape from the psychiatric hospital and attempt to piece together the events of that fateful day. The story takes an unexpected turn when it becomes evident that Leo is not a human at all, but a projection of a ruthless psychopath's consciousness within Daniel's mind, working by a brain implant called the "Pickman Bridge."

Yes, the premise of Manhunt 2 involving insane government experiments on people isn't particularly original. Nevertheless, the writers managed to craft an unusual story. The conflict between the two personalities within one body looked original at that time, and the ending wasn't predetermined. It required players to carefully explore the world, seek clues, and deduce conclusions. Actions led to one of the two possible endings, motivating them to replay the game.

Both protagonists appeared as inveterate psychopaths. Lamb is depicted as a fanatical vigilante, tearing everything apart in his frenzy. Kasper, on the other hand, is calm, precise, and swift, effortlessly killing groups of enemies. The understanding of the plot hinges on this contrast. As players uncover the crimes committed, they can deduce the identity of the killer based on his modus operandi.

Game World

In Manhunt 2, the action shifts to the southern coast of the USA, to the large coastal city of Cottonmouth. It's often described as a blend of New Orleans and Atlanta.

Compared to the grim Carcer City, Cottonmouth is much brighter and wealthier, as evidenced by the skyscrapers in the center and the secret research center of the government. The city is clean and safe; its neighborhoods are bustling, and people are prospering. The crime rate soared shortly before the events of the game, after a natural disaster. Street gangs emerged, trying to control abandoned areas.

Manhunt 2 follows the typical linear level structure common to action games. However, the levels are shorter, more uniform, and more straightforward compared to the first Manhunt, with almost empty rooms and a minimum of details. The locations include a psychiatric hospital, a secret laboratory, the streets of Cottonmouth, a bar, an abandoned construction site, and a residential suburb.


Most of the game walkthrough tied around Daniel Lamb. In some missions, the player can control Leo Kasper. The protagonist's model and controls remain unchanged since they are two personalities in one body. The choice between the two characters refers to the "Face/Off" blockbuster with John Travolta and Nicolas Cage.

Stealth executions are the primary gameplay mechanic and were updated with three types of cruelty:

  • Swift executions: quick and less gory;
  • Brutal executions: significantly bloodier;
  • Grisly executions: representing ultra violence.

The player selects the execution type by aiming at an enemy — the attack indicator changes color. The roster of melee weapons was expanded due to glass bottles, ballpoint pens, axes, katanas, sledgehammers, shovels, and much more.

Firearms are only available in specific locations, but the player can use them for executions. There are two types of pistols to choose from, a revolver, a submachine gun, a shotgun, automatic rifle and a rocket launcher. All weapons are divided into disposable and reusable, quiet and loud.

Environmental elements can also be used for executions. Players are allowed to slam enemies into walls or furniture, drown them in water, or throw from heights. The score calculation system was removed to pass censorship.

Among other new features, the protagonist can climb to higher places or crawl beneath obstacles. Light sources can be smashed to darken specific areas. Even so, the vigilant AI of enemies can detect the protagonist through breathing or minimal movement. Players must regulate their character's breathing and positioning accordingly.