If it's the environment that establishes the dark atmosphere so crucial to instilling fear and dread, it's the gameplay mechanics that deliver the tension and shocks that make the experience come alive. No other game came close to the original Manhunt in combining stealth, horror and action. In order to create a greater level of tension and immersion for Manhunt 2, we improved on all of the familiar gameplay mechanics from the original, and added a host of new features to elevate the sheer tension and excitement of the gaming experience.
Not a level playing field
The signature game play mechanics from the original Manhunt return with a vengeance.
Once again, desperation and fear are woven into the very fabric of the game. You will be pursued by hordes of blood-thirsty hunters who are armed to the teeth and well-coordinated in their efforts to root you out and kill you in the most brutal manner possible. Head on confrontation will invariably end with your death. And your sense of isolation and helplessness will only be heightened by the dark and manic urgings of Leo Kasper, your fellow asylum escapee.
Your only hope for survival is to utilize stealth: move from shadow to shadow to divide and conquer, luring your enemies into isolation where you can murder them, one by one. You will make use of found objects, and use the hunters' weapons against them in your bid for survival. Successfully completing each level will take all the strategy, patience, and brutal cunning you can muster. It's a grueling gauntlet you must run; you are one man, alone against all odds. And this time, they've got more men, more guns, more helicopters, and more ways to trick you into revealing yourself and run you to the ground. You have every right to be afraid.
This time, the hunters operate in larger numbers; they are better armed, and deadlier than ever in combat. But what makes Manhunt 2's hunters even scarier than their predecessors is their enhanced AI. Everything about their behavior is more unpredictable: they are more likely to surprise you, turning around or changing their direction in ways you can't anticipate. And when one of them sees you, he'll quickly alert his cohorts to your presence. All of which makes it far more difficult to lure hunters away from the pack. It's all the more important to choose just the right moment to leave the safety of the shadows and strike. Because you won't get a second chance to surprise your enemy.
The radar on the bottom left of the screen is still crucial to your survival, showing the location, direction and level of alert of your enemies. The radar will only reveal enemies who are within your line of sight, or who you can hear. Hunters who are standing still will not be visible to you: just because you can't see anyone on the radar doesn't mean there's no one there. So you never really know what's around the next corner, at the top of the stairs, or behind a closed door. This means that must always be careful, peek around corners, and make sure you're safely hidden at all times.
The (relative) safety of the shadows
Manhunt 2 promises that you will never feel safe, even when you are hidden in shadows. To ratchet up the tension, we implemented a new QTM mechanic: which means that if a hunter is looking for you, and you are hidden in the shadows, there is a chance that they might see you. Depending on the interaction, a mini-challenge may occur which forces the player to input a specific sequence of buttons in order to avoid detection. If you fail, the hunter will drag you into the light and engage you in combat. Which means there is nowhere you can hide and truly feel safe, making the already tense game play even more nerve-wracking.
Because you are safest in the shadows, many of the hunters you will encounter are equipped with flashlights, spotlights and helicopter support. They'll routinely shine their lights into the shadows looking for you, so you're just going to have to hope they don't decide to check out the one you're hiding in. And you'll always have to be ready to run.
The dangerous psychological experimentation that Danny Lamb underwent has taken a severe toll on his mind. Throughout the course of the game, he'll be plagued by flashbacks from his past. Sometimes they'll be triggered by visual cues, and sometimes they'll kick in for no apparent reason. Your mind and your body are the only weapons you have - and even they can't be trusted.
All great horror experiences are filled with moments that make you jump out of your skin, and Manhunt 2 is certainly no exception. To make absolutely sure that Manhunt 2 scares the life out of you again and again, Rockstar London have crafted some perfectly timed scripted events to send your heart rate through the roof. Just when you're least expecting it, when you think you're safe; that's when a crazed psychopath is going to leap through a boarded-up window screaming and swinging a crowbar in your face. You have been warned!
Audio in Manhunt 2 is an enormous component in crafting the fear and anxiety in the gaming experience. In fact, it's so integral that we're going to deal with it separately - so stay tuned.