Top critical review
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Approach with caution!
on 7 June 2004
I am generally loathe to write a review about something that I don't feel strongly positive about but in this case I'll make an exception. The reason is because I've read so many positive reviews for this game I feel there's a need for some sort of balance as (am I the only one to think this?) the game is fatally flawed. But first thing's first; let's start with the positive:
Undeniably the game looks impressive and clearly the designers have been given free reign to follow their brutal and twisted instincts. You know the set-up so I'll spare you the story (limited as it is) but within its narrow ambitions this game really delivers the goods. It is Violent (with a capital 'V'). Call me jaded but I found the brutality of the game amusing (I've read others have found it disturbing). That is not really a criticism however (surely Rockstar never intended it to ever be taken seriously) and the OTT action will no doubt give you a few laughs.
The most impressive element to the game I thought was the voice acting. Rockstar really seem to have this aspect of games design nailed down. It is truly excellent (like GTA3 & Vice City before it) and will keep you entertained long after the cut scenes begin to try your patience. I played this game via the x-box live headset and it certainly adds an extra dimension to the game (you get the demented director of the 'snuff movie' gleefully issuing you directions down your lug-hole - The actor Brian Cox certainly seems to be enjoying himself!).
So far so good then BUT (now the bad part):
The control system I found to be truly,truly awful. I happily admit to not being the best gamer in the world but, bejesus, the control system seriously got up my crack. You have the option to invert the camera angle (and I swapped back and forth mor than a dozen times) but I just couldn't really get the hang of it. This would not be so frustrating if the game was amateurish or shabby in other respects, but as I've said, it isn't. To me playability will always be the number one priority in a game. The awkward controls have effectively ruined the game for me and I'll be trading this in poste haste (which is a real waste as I've only played it for a few hours - but it became a joyless excercise really). While I've been trying to get to grips with 'Manhunt' I've also had 'Rainbow 6-3' and 'Splinter Cell: PT' on the go. After wrestling with the controls for 'Manhunt' the other games are utter, utter bliss to use (and after all they're all stealth games so why couldn't Rockstar use the same system?).
My advice? Try before you buy (worth a rent first to see whether you get on with it).
Shame though...If only Rockstar and Ubisoft had collaborated a bit. Now that WOULD have been a juicy prospect!