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1eyedking Rockstar North's Manhunt (more like Molewhac for half the time)

Discussion in 'General Gaming' started by Roguey, Dec 12, 2015.

  1. Roguey Arcane Sawyerite Sawyerist Sawyer's Bride No Fun Allowed

    Roguey
    Joined:
    May 29, 2010
    Messages:
    25,176
    I missed out on this when it was released, and somehow forgot a PC port existed for over a decade. Finally noticed it on a Steam sale and picked it up.

    The art direction (visuals, music, menus) is fantastic; feels like a professionally crafted game equivalent of an exploitation movie (as opposed to an amateurishly crafted one, e.g. Postal 2, Hatred). The light/sound/line-of-sight stealth mechanics are solid, and the lack of quicksaving can make for some interesting chase stories. The levels, while linear, are more spacious than Chaos Theory's (the benefit of using RenderWare instead Unreal) and frequently provide multiple ways of getting through the bigger areas. The first seven missions are well-done and I thought I could end up enjoying this more than the aforementioned Chaos Theory...

    and then it turns into a clunky stop-and-popper. Sure, some of the levels have stealth sections (including a couple of pointless escort missions that thankfully aren't frustrating since you can just park 'em in the shadows until you clear out what's up ahead), but up until the last three missions the core gameplay is sticking to cover and popping the moles. You're not even given the option of trying to stealth them, since many of the enemies refuse to budge from their spots when they hear noise, unlike earlier enemies. The most tolerable of this bunch is the one where a SWAT team with flashlights is after you in a subway, cause seeing those flashlights in the pitch darkness is creepy, and their AI is different in that if they hear a noise they start firing into the darkness and sweeping the area (and since they have flashlights, of course hiding in dark patches is ineffective).

    I figured that it was never going to go back to mission 1-7 quality again and that I was probably better off just watching the rest, but in a surprising turn, the next-to-the-last two levels return back to "thwack walls to divide and conquer." The last one's a stealth boss fight that's okay, but I didn't like the not-particularly-well-telegraphed adventure gamey way you're forced to finish him.

    I don't know what they could have done to fix half the game, short of just cutting those levels and dealing with potential length-complaints, since they couldn't delay this into 2004, the year of San Andreas. Since Agent (another stealth action thing) has been in development hell for years maybe it'll turn out better. :P Unfortunately, I'm not even going to bother with Manhunt 2 since a) I've read that Rockstar Vienna/London didn't learn any lessons about core gameplay and insisted on including mole-popping sections b) they removed camera-rotation just to be obnoxious and c) there's a significant downgrade in art direction; it looks so very bland.

    Oh well, it was worth $2.50 :M
     
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  2. Ash Arcane

    Ash
    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2015
    Messages:
    3,262
    'sup Roguey

    It's a decent game. A bit lacking in some respects, but it has such a brooding, brutal atmosphere, and the story is certainly unique. There's a bit too much auto aim mole-popping, although you can (awkwardly) switch to manual aim to give yourself some extra challenge and make it a bit less mindless. The stealth levels are pretty good though, as you say.

    Indeed, don't bother with the sequel, it didn't improve a thing, it's worse even.
     
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  3. Leitz Learned

    Leitz
    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2015
    Messages:
    348
    Cash, I made you! *bzzzzzzt*. A perfect game in my opinion. I played the shit out of it 10 years ago. Like in Hitman: Blood Money you have to play it on the hardest difficulty and then try for the highest score in every level to get the most fun out of it. I played it on the PS2 though; I asume the gameplay doesn't feel right on the PC.

    I think the game kinda invented these duck/shoot mechanics that many console games use today (which I don't play).

    The sequel is very unpolished and can be played for certain camp value. The torture scenes are getting out of hand in this one.
     
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  4. Roguey Arcane Sawyerite Sawyerist Sawyer's Bride No Fun Allowed

    Roguey
    Joined:
    May 29, 2010
    Messages:
    25,176
    I didn't notice any issues. I'm not going to try to precision-aim guns with a thumbstick. :M

    Kill Switch predates it by a few weeks and it still wasn't quite the first https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cover_system
     
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  5. sweeneezy Novice

    sweeneezy
    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2015
    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Derekville, Stonehenge
    Kill Switch is probably the closest to the modern Gears system, though I'd argue it's a lot more mobile than Gears (the pace of the game is quite literally kill-switch cover), and it took alot of influence from WinBack, which itself was a pretty clear MGS rip that focused on the cover peeking system. So, its possible to trace it all the way to MGS, but the game that "invented" the system is pretty unclear. Kill Switch is still the most modern game, though it doesn't get all the credit it deserves, usually stolen by Rainbow 6 Vegas or Gears. It's still worth a play.
     
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  6. ZagorTeNej Arcane

    ZagorTeNej
    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2012
    Messages:
    1,893
    You were right not to bother with the sequel, I recently finished it and it's a far cry from the original:

    -Art direction, locations, characters and plot are boring and utterly cliche. Gone is the sinister and novel (for a video game) exploitation movie atmosphere of the original, it's a run-of-the-mill, utterly predictable psychological thriller.

    -Feels much more consolized, 30 FPS limit, can't move camera up and down (and it's more zoomed in, I frequently had trouble surveying the surroundings during both exploration and combat), smaller and more linear levels etc.

    -Executions are expanded (more melee weapons, added environment and gun executions) and are more gruesome/gory (debatable whether that's an improvement or not though, sometimes less is more) but they feature QTEs which degraded the experience for me, even though they're done exclusively via mouse in PC version I still didn't like them, they break the flow of the game.

    -AI generally felt dumber (not that it was brilliant in the original) but they added a follow-the-circle mini-game when the aware/suspicious enemy is looking straight at you in your shadow cover.
     
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