Review by wileymiester
"Great idea, mediocre execution"
Graphics - 5/10 - The graphics are similar to those in one of the games in the Grand Theft Auto series, and for GTA these graphics would work fine since the playable world is so huge. In Manhunt however, the level sizes are fairly restricted and the same level of graphical detail just doesn't cut it. In any particular level, all of the boxes, dumpsters, beds, doors, vending machines, etc.. will look exactly the same. The objects also have a very "smudged" look which gives the game more of a hide behind this block, hide behind that block, rather than a hide behind this dumpster, hide behind that bed, feel. The main character and the enemies all have a fairly nice look to them however, and the animations of the characters are well done. Again though, all the character outfits and faces are a random sampling of 2-4 for any particular level. Also, there are a limited number of executions or special kills that you can get, 3 for each weapon. This would have been all well and good were it not for the fact that there were such a limited number of weapons that you could use to perform these executions with.
Sound - 5/10 In the game the sound is critical. Every noise you make will have a reaction on all of the enemies around you in one way or another. For the player, however, the sound isn't as important. The sound that you will hear doesn't have any kind of reflection on how loud the sound is supposed to be in the game. For example, when you bang your fist on the wall you will hear a light thump, when you bang a crowbar against the wall you'll hear a loud clang, the volume of each of these sounds to the enemies, however, are indistinguishable. There is also very little music in the game. During the levels, the background music is more of a static-y drone with the thumping of a heart beat now and then. This helps with the general feel of the game, but becomes boring and tiresome the further you get into it.
Story - 8/10 This is what really pulls this game together. The concept of the game is what draws people into it in the first place, and it does a fairly good job of keeping the storyline moving. For the most part, not a whole lot happens from level to level but you always feel like you are progressing to something new, rather than the same thing over and over. I didn't expect to get a top notch storyline from this game, so I was pleasantly surprised that I turned out as well as it did.
Challenge - 7/10 The game does a good job of steadily making the levels harder and harder. This is usually done by throwing more enemies into the mix at once and taking away your weapons after about 75% of the levels. The challenge of the game also has a lot to do with how you would like to play the game. Early on, I wanted to do a lot of sneak attacks and get the special killing scene. Near the end of the game, however, I had already seen all of the different types of kills with the limited weapon choices and was content with getting through it quickly and just shooting the enemies. For the most part I didn't feel like the game had any real impossible moments or times when I couldn't get past a specific part. Also, once you know where the enemies usually patrol, the game becomes a lot easier. If you die because you walked right into a face to face confrontation with an enemy, then the next time around he won't be much of a problem at all. As a final note, near the end of the game they didn't give you nearly enough save points. I'm sure it was part of their way to add difficulty to the levels, but it became more of a nuisance than anything else. Overall the game didn't provide too much of a challenge, I never felt like I couldn't do it, I only felt like there certain parts that were going to be a pain to get through.
Control - 6/10 If you have a feel for moving around the GTA world, then the majority of your movements will be a walk in the park. Some of the new features like getting your back up against the wall were also done without much of a problem. The issues, in my opinion, start in two places. One is the targeting system. I would say that around 30% of the time, I would auto target on the enemy that was either further away from me, one that wasn't as much of a threat, or it wouldn't lock on at all. Throughout the game I couldn't really find any rhyme or reason as to why it happened. It became a bit of a frustration knowing that I had my gun loaded, aimed, and ready to blast the next guy who came around a corner and there was decent chance it wouldn't lock on for me and he could get a good shotgun blast into my chest. My other complaint comes with the lack of moves that is allowed by the main character. You can't crouch, roll, or jump. In a game where I have to do a lot of sneaking around and running away from firefights, I would like to know that just because there is a 3' railing in front of me I won't be trapped behind it.
Gameplay - 4/10 In a word, repetitive. About halfway through the game you've done pretty much everything that you are going to do, and the only thing that is changing is the level design. After about an hour into the game I realized that sneaking up behind a patrolling enemy is the worst way to kill them. Rather, if you walk into a shadow, it doesn't have to be in a really dark corner, just a regular shadow from a tree or something, and make a noise, the enemy will never see you, forget about you quickly, and slowly walk back. For some reason, even if I was about nose to nose with an enemy, I wouldn't be seen by him if I was in some type of shadow. It also doesn't help that the AI has such a short memory, even if they see you they'll give up looking for you without a heightened sense of awareness 30 seconds later.
Replay Value - 3/10 There really isn't a whole lot of reason to play through the game again unless you really like the execution scenes. You are rated after each level and this also might spur people to play again to get a higher rating, but all you get for it are a few bonus levels. These bonus levels are nothing more than kill as many as you can or stay alive for as long as you can. I could see how some people would like to play it again though if they really liked the executions and wanted to push themselves for the sake of pushing themselves. But the game doesn't give you much in return.
Overall - 5/10 I get pretty much got what I expected to get out of this game. I could have used quite a bit more graphically and realistically (as far as sneaking around is concerned) but I'm not too disappointed in what I got. If you like the premise of the game, you will enjoy it for at least a good few hours. But there really isn't a whole lot more to see later on down the road than at the beginning.
Note: If you have a headset then it can be used with this game. I did not so I didn't include the use of it into any of my scores. Since you can't talk to people or give commands, I figure it is just a way to make noise without hitting a wall. Which doesn't add much anyway.
Reviewer's Rating: 2.5 - Playable
Originally Posted: 06/22/06, Updated 06/23/06
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