Shellshock 2: Blood Trails Review
- Posted February 17th, 2009 at 14:14 EDT by Steven Williamson
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Shellshock 2 will shock you, but for all the wrong reasons. Even if you're a fan of the genre, it's a technically inept and totally unenjoyable experience.
- The zombie-themed storyline
- The lack of exciting moments
- The poor visuals and lackluster audio
- The sub-standard A.I.
From this point forth I need to remind myself not to review another first person shooter straight after playing Killzone 2. Following a four hour stint immersed in Guerrilla Game’s epic first person shooter, Rebellion’s Shellshock 2: Blood Trails is probably the worst game I could have picked up. The lack of a multiplayer mode, the omission of Trophy support, the dumb A.I. and ugly visuals are the first indications that publisher, Eidos, probably didn’t have its heart and soul in the project from the outset. Perhaps it had its mind on other things? Whatever the case, there’s no excuse for releasing a game that doesn’t even attempt to hold its own against other PS3 first person shooters.
While it’s slightly unfair of me to compare Shellshock 2 to Killzone 2, as they’re worlds apart in terms of development budgets, you’d expect most developers to at least try to implement some of the features that the current generation of gamers demand from a modern day shooter, or failing that, to concentrate on making the gameplay exciting and technically acceptable. Shellshock 2, however, gets a lot of things wrong and doesn't even try to attempt to stand out from the crowd, or take any risks. This is a FPS-by-numbers approach to the genre, complete with uninspiring visuals and bland design that would have looked out of place five years ago.
Where do I start? The lack of a cover system means that you just run around like a headless chicken picking off lifeless (in both senses of the word) zombie-fied soldiers. The closest you get to employing strategic tactics is being able to crouch, but as you can't lean around or over objects it's worthless, unless you get a cheap thrill from 'tea-bagging' the undead. You can also vault over should-be cover spots to evade the enemy, but you'll soon get bored of watching the same short animation that kicks in every time you do so and you'll curse at the way it clumsily interrupts the flow of the game.
It wouldn’t be too bad just running around shooting zombies if it was actually exciting, but it's not. The shooting feels sloppy and the weapons and grenades lack weight and potency. At times, the A.I. is all over the place and proves to be a frustration rather than a challenge, shooting at you from blind spots or sneaking up behind you at inappropriate times, normally when you're trying to deal with those enemies in front of you. Zombies also have the uncanny knack of being able to spot your position the moment you walk into an area, even though the locations are covered in a dark veil. It's annoying trying to work out where the gun-fire is actually coming from, before battling with the loose targeting mechanic to try and get an accurate shot on your target.
Depressingly bland locations and the lack of destructible environments are further indications that the power of the PS3 hasn't been harnessed. While the latter isn't always needed to craft a great first person shooter, it certainly helps to create realism. Shellshock 2 lacks realism in abundance, and at no point captures the feeling that you're involved in something significant. It's a limp experience that feels like you've stepped back in time to where the technology that makes things crumble and look war-worn wasn't available. With the power of the PS3 at its fingertips, you'd expect a lot more in terms of visual and audio impact. Overall, aside from some nicely rendered cut-scenes, and some decent voice-acting, it looks and sounds like an average PS2 game.
All of this could be forgiven if the gameplay were any good, but it’s not. There are no memorable moments (apart from the one where I turned it off,) there are no intense firefights, and there’s little to experience in terms of excitement. There's actually no real need for me to go on because Shellshock 2 is an instantly forgettable title that will end up in the bargain-bin graveyard of video game stores across the country. That's a guarantee. For the sake of completion, however, and to give you the option to make your own minds up on whether to ... (continued on next page) ----
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