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Shellshock 2: Blood Trails (PC)

Shellshock 2: Blood Trails (PC)


Shellshock 2: Blood Trails is a game from developer Rebellion who were responsible for Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron and The Simpsons Game. The title up for review today was produced on a limited budget and we will find out today if it shows.

You take control of Nate Walker, a soldier in the Vietnam War whose brother was involved in a horrific bio engineered program called Whitenight. This means that the game is full of zombie style monsters and pits the US soldiers against these abominations as well as the Vietcong enemy. Nate heads on a hunt for his brother Cal and it plays out over 10 levels which last for around 20-30 minutes each.

Shellshock 2 clearly has a rather ludicrous storyline and while we can overlook that if the game is solid, unfortunately after a rather solid beginning it all goes downhill pretty quickly after that. We are witness to a rather interesting and gore laden opening sequence quickly followed by the first of many shoddy and ill designed levels.

The gameplay mechanic breaks down into a few simple ideas, there are glorified shooting galleries and you basically stand still and take out as many enemies as possible. In fact this is really all that you do in the game, shoot zombie monsters and Vietcong soldiers in a variety of horribly designed environments. There are some quick time events which initiate after stumbling into a trap or when an enemy jumps on you from a dark corner. Most of this requires little to no challenge and some of them are frustratingly annoying. There is no break from the monotony and repetitive nature of the game and it ends in an equally climatic and annoying end sequence.

To be fair Shellshock 2 opens with an interesting and ambient first stage but the game rapidly disintegrates into a garbled mess which made me lose my temper quite a few times. While it is understandable that zombies would have limited Artificial Intelligence, the Vietcong soldiers are no better and act very similarly in their reactions and strategies. Everything is so unrealistic and poorly put together that it is hard to get any excitement from playing and I just wanted the game to end as quickly as possible. Obviously as I review them for a living I had to sit through it all right to the end but let me assure you, when I finished I cracked open a few beers and went to the television to try and forget the experience.

Rebellion incorporated a few decent ideas and the general interface is usable. The issues are clearly due to the budget and it shows in all areas, from the shockingly poor Artificial intelligence, right to the environmental design which is lacking in almost every way feasible. It really is impossible to recommend this game when there are titles such as Call Of Duty 4/5, Killzone 2 and Crysis available, all offering a multitude of thrills. Shellshock 2 would barely be acceptable in 2005, let alone 2009.

Luckily enough I only had to endure around 5 hours of gameplay before completing it and multiplayer was clearly not in the developers minds because there is none whatsoever. If you can endure the whole experience, you could comfortably beat it in a day although I would feel that therapy would be costly afterward.

Shellshock has been a budget title from day one and it shows in all regards. The visuals are terrible with no attention to detail and the level design is incredibly poorly implemented from start to finish. The AI was an afterthought and the fully functioning Vietcong soldiers run around like mindless chickens in exactly the same way the undead zombies do. If you marry this with a total lack of multiplayer and only 10 levels then it represents extremely poor value for money. This should be sold as a budget title or downloadable content, but as a fully priced game I can only assume that Eidos executives have been in the drinks cabinet for too long.



Bad in all areas. Enough said.
Lack of effort in all areas. Probably took the development team as long to make it as it took me to beat it. 5 hours.
Some average ambient sounds but that is about it.
Absolutely none.

Let this franchise die now, please.

About Author

Stuart Davidson

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