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The torture porn showreel: See the Manhunt 2 that they didn't want you to see

11:21 PM on 11.03.2007·  4 minute read   ·  Jim Sterling@JimSterling
0

Fresh from the hacker's pantry, here are the uncut scenes from Rockstar's controversy magnet/attention whore, Manhunt 2. In all its bleak and bloodsoaked glory, this showreel of murder is taken from the hacked PSP version that I reported on in an earlier post and that Nex added to just a moment ago.
 
I've never been a fan of the term 'torture porn' when it comes to videogames, but if ever a game deserved such a label, this would be it. Watching these scenes, I feel like they're not meant for my eyes, like they were intended for more perverse minds to enjoy. I wasn't disgusted, nor was I shocked, I felt ... nothing watching this. No emotion whatsoever. The bleak and needlessly grim way with which these scenes are carried out just fills me with emptiness.
 
There's something about this nasty little showreel that makes me feel one thing, though -- an overwhelming urge to never buy Manhunt 2 -- edited, hacked or otherwise. I also find myself filled with more words than a mainpage normally allows, so please hit the jump. I have a lot to say about this artistic vision of Rockstar's.
 
There is a reason why games like this aren't made, and it's a reason that disproves the entire 'violent games' argument from people like Thompson. We as gamers love violence, that is certainly true ... but not like this. This is too real. This is the closest to murder simulation that you can get. It's not over the top, crazy violence with explosions and un-natural fountains of blood -- that's fun. This isn't fun. It's dreary, it's drab and it's far too real. It's downright creepy.
 
I realize now what makes the Manhunt games different from violence in other games and movies. The content of the above video is no worse than the cult movie Ichi the Killer, or Peter Jackson's early splatter movies like Braindead, but it lacks something that those films had -- flare, class and entertainment value. The violence was stylized and well crafted and it had its place. I do not see this in the murders of Manhunt 2. Where the image of a man being beaten to death with a bag over his head could be made either funny or terrifying, or at least have a point, Manhunt 2's rendition of such an event is so devoid of feeling, panaché or amusement that it could easily be taken as something intended only for disturbed people to get off on.  
 
I will uphold that Manhunt 2 should have been allowed a release in its true form, regardless of how tasteless it is, but I also want to maintain that, despite my beliefs of artistic freedom, I am not impressed with the crap in that video, and it is crap. You can make sawing into someone's skull fun, but that footage did not look fun to me. That's difficult to do, but Rockstar's unfeeling, psychopathic take on the scenario sucked out any enjoyment I could have had.
 
I don't think Manhunt 2 is damaging to children, nor is it some great social evil -- that gives the content entirely too much credit. The reactionaries are still idiots for screaming about the sickening, outrageous violence, but at the same time, the BBFC had a point when it said the game's 'casual approach of sadism' was relevant. Certainly not grounds for banning or scaremongering, but foundation enough for gamers to make their own choice -- and to say with their dollars that they have no interest in shallow, meaningless bullsh*t that doesn't even try to be enjoyable

Perhaps this is some great and meaningful statement of Rockstar's, showing us that for all the hyper-real violence we love, the reality just isn't fun. In making a game that isn't entertaining in the least, Rockstar has shown that realistic violence is not what we enjoy, and proven that actual simulation of murder is horrible. Of course ... I am wary of giving Rockstar that kind of credit. Far more likely, all this time I've been campaigning for the uncensored release of an artistic vision that's just ... rubbish. It doesn't make my belief all the less zealous, but it certainly, fittingly, takes the fun out of it. If anything, I'm angry at the BBFC not because it robbed me of my choice to buy Manhunt 2, but because it robbed me of my choice NOT to buy Manhunt 2.

As I think about it, I guess I lied at the beginning when I said that this footage got no emotion from me. I do feel something as I watch this video ...

Disappointment.

 

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#Controversy #Does it suck? #Manhunt #Rockstar
 
 
 
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Jim SterlingFormer Reviews Editor // Profile & Disclosures
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Destructoid reviews editor, responsible for running and maintaining the cutting edge videogame critique that people ignore because all they want to see are the scores at the end. Also a regular f... more
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