Manhunt 2 and violent video games

Now that Grand Theft Auto IV is set to go on sale, no doubt the old debates and tiring diatriabes about violent content in video games is sure to resurface. I have been playing Manhunt 2 sporadically on my PS2 whenever I have free time and I have to say that I don’t feel any more agressive, but I am also old enough to tell the difference between cartoon and game violence and the real McCoy.

Truth be told, I had no idea what this game was about when I put it on my gamefly q, I just thought the premise sounded cool. It’s about a scientist who’s been manipulated by a secret organization called “the Project” which does some genetic manipulation on him and he becomes fused with another more violent personality and he has to break out of the asylum and recover his lost life.

I must admit that this game is pretty violent, but no more violent than say some of the stuff you can watch periodically on TV. Just the other night I watched an episode of “Law and Order” in which the leader of a gang of assasins has his female pupil strangle a man with his tie. This graphic scene is maybe on equal grounds with a lot of the content on Manhunt2.

As for the game itself, I enjoy the A.I. and I think there is a lot of attention to detail like the scenes in the rain or the abandoned house in the “ghosts” level, though I’ve grown weary of dying repeatedly in the higher levels. Sneaking up on “hunters” is part of the course, but I don’t like the fact that if two thugs discover you hiding in the shadows, they can beat the life out of you and you have to restart the level. I got stuck in the “Sexual Diviants” stage where the pervs run the sex club and your character along with Leo try to break in and look for clues.

Overall this is an OK game but I don’t see what the fuss was all about when it was released last halloween. The New Yorker last month had an interesting article detailing the congressional hearings denouncing comic book violence in the 50s so I guess there will always be watchgroups and people who want to find scapegoats to societal ills. Let’s not forget that anything taken out of context always seems twice as bad and that Manhunt 2 is rated M for mature so your kids shouldn’t be playing games like this anyway, so where are the parents when they do??

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