While the game is still brutally violent and bloody, some cuts have been made. The infamous scene in which the game’s protagonist ripped an enemy’s testicles off with a pair of pliers has been completely removed, according to IGN’s Matt Casamassina, but he said the most disappointing changes took place in the game’s depiction of the major death strikes. “When Danny sneaks up on an enemy, gamers will be given the option to pick from three different murder animations,” he wrote. “In the AO-rated build of Manhunt 2, we could clearly see these over-the-top and horrific animations.”
“In the M-rated version,” he continued, “Rockstar has added both an extreme blur effect and in most cases darkened the graphics so that it is nearly impossible to make any sense of what is going on. Players will be able to see character movement, blood splatters, and sometimes they may catch a glimpse of an identifiable action (for example, Danny hammering nails into the legs of a chair-bound opponent), but mostly it’s guesswork – a garbled, motiony mess that’s far less satisfying.” He called the changes “doubly unfortunate” because the gameplay payoff has been seriously compromised while everything else in the game remains unchanged.
According to Casamassina, the reactions of IGN office onlookers to the M-rated version were considerably more subdued than they were during a preview of the original AO version. In spite of that, the game is still fun and heavily atmospheric, he wrote, calling it “one of the grossest and most disturbing titles we’ve ever seen.” The full text of the IGN preview is available here.