Looks like Take-Two invited the mainstream media over to play Manhunt 2 the other day, because not only did Newsweek and MTV check it out, but so did the New York Times. The NYT essentially walked away saying that games like Manhunt 2 have a long way to go before they reach the gore found in modern "torture porn." Seth Schiesel writes, "Banning the original version of Manhunt 2 may be a good way to demonstrate that the industry can police itself. Side by side, though, movies seem to be way ahead of games in delivering top-notch gore."
Schiesel tests this by renting the R rated version of Saw II, where the "first scene was of a young man in a bleak cell being taunted to find a key by digging into his own oozing eye socket. If he does not yank out the key in 60 seconds, his head will be crushed in a spiked metal 'death mask' around his neck." Scheisel points out that the game probably got the rating because all the ESRB sees is a highlight reel of the game, they don't actually play it. He says it'll be "fairly simple" to re-edit the game for an M rating in time for the holiday season. And the New York Times isn't above going with the general conspiracy theory floating around about Manhunt 2, saying, "Whenever it does ship, Manhunt 2 is likely to enjoy a level of public awareness (and potentially sales) that it could never have attained without the ban. That of course may well have been what its makers intended all along."