I love FEAR. If it wasn't obvious from my penchant for horror titles, most readers who have read my reviews already know that I have a strong affinity for shooters and horror games. So a game that combines both to create excellent moments of terror and to combine them with shooting a bunch of mooks faces is a dream that not many developers have engaged in. This is why I was curious when I heard about Trepang2 as the supposed spiritual successor for this series.
Trepang2 mostly advertises its action elements, as you can use Focus to slow down time and land more precise shots against waves upon waves of enemies. The game certainly looked like it was going to be a good time from the trailers. But honestly, it was the more intricate moments of its storytelling and more horror-based aspects that intrigued me even more as it has horror elements that wouldn't be strange to see in games like Resident Evil 4 Remake or Dead Space.
Honestly, at times it just feels like the genres collide and deliver an underwhelming experience. But when you lean one side over the other (especially with the cheats the game offers after the game), you start to appreciate how great this game is for mindless fun.
The story of Trepang2 is as basic as it gets. You are a soldier who wakes up in an unknown area where everyone wants to kill you. After snapping a couple of necks and throwing some mooks into a ventilation shaft, you learn that you're Subject 106, an evolution of a super-soldier experiment that can use optical camo and has access to bullet time.
This super soldier experiment was created through the Horizon Corporation. A generically evil entity that seeks to conduct experiments to "advance society". Of course, this experiment somehow involves using The Backrooms (seriously) as a source, so taking down this company for being run by a bunch of morons is in order when you join the TF22 forces .
The game wastes no time in showing us why this human experimentation is the wrong way to go about things, as at times we end up fighting supernatural enemies like zombies that can spit radioactive material at you or some abnormal beings that muffle the game's sound as I chase you in what has to be one of the scariest sequences in a shooter horror game.
The graphics in Trepang2 are definitely a highlight as you see how much the game loves its flashy style and detailed graphics. While it's visually noisy, you'll more than likely be impressed by the number of explosions going off all at once while maintaining a high frame rate of 120FPS. So much so that it makes me wonder why other games like Dead Space struggled to render half of what this game does.
Along with this great graphic presentation is the atmosphere. The game knows when to build up its moments of horror as you walk through deserted corridors. At the same time, it knows when to ramp up its action elements as you channel your inner Duke Nukem and proceed to gun down a bunch of off-planet armed troops.
As for the gameplay, Trepang2 is pretty decent. You have the usual controls for shooters (WASD movement, grenade throw with G and mouse controls) with the added measures of using Q and E as Focus and Cloak respectively. Masking is pretty straightforward; you turn invisible for a few seconds, allowing you to sneak past opponents so you can surprise them from behind or climb to a safe position in case you're overwhelmed. Focus is a bullet time effect that slows down time, allowing you to hit more accurate shots while gaining a slight movement advantage.
You also have access to a stamina meter that is emptied when you sprint or use slide, which is a separate button press. The slide is useful for displacing some smaller enemies or getting through riot shields if they carry any. This allows you to take on a more aggressive approach to defensive enemies as you can breach their defenses with a slide and use their riot shields as a means of defending against enemy fire.
Just like stamina, Focus is available in limited quantities, but will recharge with each kill. Trepang2 encourages players to shoot wildly and get as many kills as possible in quick intervals. The enemies are no slouch either, as they can pack a punch with their weapon choices and come in light to heavy varieties. While there isn't much depth to this game's enemy variety, the challenge comes from killing them while taking the least amount of damage.
The gunplay is a real highlight. You have access to a wide variety of weapons, including sniper rifles, pistols, shotguns and SMGs. The real beauty comes from the customization feature that allows you to change the way weapons work on a trade-off. For example, letting your shotgun do less damage overall in favor of doing burn damage that lights enemies on fire and causes them to squirm will always be my preferred method of dealing with a shotgun in Trepang2.
It's worth experimenting with each gun until you find the ones you like. Different enemies will require different adaptations, especially on higher difficulties where the challenge comes from taking down each enemy as quickly as possible because their weapons will do a ton of damage. After clearing a few stages on the Rage Mode difficulty, I can definitely say that learning everything about how the game works is a must.
On top of the frenetic gameplay and action are the sparse moments where the game tries to do its horror segments. I will say that for an aspect that feels very redundant compared to the rest of the game, these sequences stand out for how exceptionally great they are. The developers certainly knew how to create horror sequences that made FEAR 2 look like child's play, as they have more organic introductions and build-ups than the game did.
I was honestly saddened to know that many of these magnificent sequences didn't amount to much compared to the action chills and explosive gameplay. When the game tried to do horror, it did it almost exceptionally in ways that other games have failed before. It ultimately disappointed me, as I expected more from this game than what I got.
Nevertheless, I can say that Trepang2 is a must for shooter enthusiasts who want to be scared or just want to have a good shooting experience in the arena where you can shoot people down. While the mission variety isn't that great and the AI has its "running into literal fire" moments, it more than makes up for it with its unique sequences, tough difficulty, and awesome tone that becomes more self-aware as you activate cheats.
I love this game, but I definitely think it might be a bit of a cautious recommendation for non-shooter fans, as I think this will feel a bit empty, especially for people looking for horror experiences brought by the FEAR series. Still, I got to fight a bunch of mooks in Backrooms, so I guess that's more than I can say compared to what the folks in Kane Pixel's series have to endure.
Reviewed on PC (code provided by the publisher).
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Trepang2 offers many choices in terms of customization, gameplay and mechanics for players. Although the enemy AI is not that smart and the difficulty around changing damage values more than making enemies smarter, it more than makes up for it with its memorable set pieces, weapon variety and incredible moments of horror.
If you're looking for a game to scratch that itch left by games like the original F.E.A.R., Trepang2 is your game.• SUPPORT THE CHANNEL: https://www.patreon….