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.
(continued from previous page) ...on whether to purchase this survival horror shooter, let's focus on some of the positive points; I have managed to find a few.
It features zombies, and we all like a bit of zombie action, right? Well, Shellshock's most positive aspect is its storyline, which does a decent job at ensuring that you'll spend the majority of your time taking pot-shots and tossing grenades at the feet of the undead. Set at the height of the Vietnam War, a U.S. cargo plane accidentally (don't ask me how) drops a batch of 'WhiteNight', deep into the heart of the jungle. That’s bad news for all concerned because 'Whitenight' is a biological weapon that, when injected, turns people into zombies. Special Ops soldiers have tried and failed to locate the whereabouts of ‘WhiteNight,’ but have disappeared on their search. One man, however, makes it back to the field hospital, demented and deranged from whatever horrors are lurking in the jungle.
It’s a decent start to the game, with believable voice-acting, decent script-writing and an oppressively dark atmosphere that reminded me at times of Monolith's psychological first person shooter, F.E.A.R. Starting out in a dingy and blood-stained military field hospital, you can hear manic screaming in the distance as your colleague fills you in on the mission ahead. You walk into a dimly-lit room where the lone soldier, who made it back from the jungle alive, is strapped to a bed shouting wildly and furiously trying to escape his binds. He manages to do so and then reaches out with his hand to touch you. Unwisely, you hold hands with the soldier, which then transports you into your worst nightmare. You still wake-up in the hospital, but it's now under attack by a horde of Zombies! Argh! With a knife in your hand, you frantically navigate the corridors to escape the burning building.
Along the way you get treated to a few QTE events where you can shake the Sixaxis controller to push a Zombie away from you, or move it up and down to dive out of the way of an incoming grenade, and soon enough you get your first pistol as you navigate your way through alleyways and buildings picking off the zombie threat. Implementation of the Sixaxis controller is handled well enough, and keeps you on you toes to a certain extent, but the surprises don't last beyond the first level and the QTE's end up interrupting the flow of the game and becoming a bit tedious. Cut-scenes also do a fine job at interrupting the game at inappropriate moments, but I actually ended up looking forward to them more than shooting Zombies. That’s not a good sign.
The zombies themselves severely lack a scare factor, mainly because they don't look terrifying or act intelligently. To clear an area you'll often have to eliminate the entire zombie threat, but that undead invasion outstays its welcome far too often. They'll frequently spawn from the same position, creeping over the same wall, for example, time and time again. At one point, I simply had to take up a position in a window overlooking the wall and pick them off one by one as they climbed over it. You'll also run out of bullets frequently and then have to search around, annoyingly pressing 'triangle' to pick up ammo, rather than picking it up as you walk over it. The fact that you can't kill a Zombie with one headshot, but instead have to put a few rounds into them, means that a lot of time is spent pressing that 'triangle' button, when there really should be no need.
Shellshock 2 really goes downhill after the first level. It starts off being like a cross between Wolfenstein and F.E.A.R., and lures you into the premise that it will be a exciting psychological experience that will keep you on the edge of your seat. However, it falls short of making the grade that you'd expect from any PS3 first person shooter. From the lackluster audio and uninspiring visuals, right through to technical issues, such as the weapon targeting and A.I., Shellshock 2 is certainly shocking in many respects, but not in a good way. Steer clear of this stinker.
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