Horrifically poor FPS titles have never been in short supply. Since it seems to be one of those genres which constantly makes lengthy appearances at the top of he sales charts, you can’t honestly blame publishers for aiming to produce the “next big thing” and watch the cash flow in by the truck load.
But with the genre packed so tightly with top quality offerings, it truly takes something special to stand tall above the crowd. So in terms of height, Shellshock 2 must be found cowering behind a pebble.
It all starts surprisingly entertainingly. A brief opening section packs in masses of stomach turning gore, a surprise attack leaving you flinging ammo around like its half price at your local supermarket, and the kind of eerie sounds you’d usually find in a fully fledged survival horror title.
Then the game truly gets going. And it’s bloody awful.
The story, which finds your character searching around for your lost brother in the middle of an explosion of zombies, is about as entertaining as a hamster nibbling at your eyeballs. There are a handful of decent stand out moments which nudge the terror factor up a few notches. But these few seconds of entertainment can be counted on the fingers of one hand.
Set in Vietnam, obviously the weaponry isn’t exactly the kind of modern offering we all still enjoy in Call of Duty 4. Instead, it’s a mish-mash of slow reloading rifles, and grenades that seem to fly wherever they so wish. Aiming is an absolute disaster, with even a glance down your sights denying you even a vague semblance of accuracy.
Equally, you know that such a setting is going to introduce a not so varied number of jungle landscapes and dark murky tunnels to explore. Shamefully, the backdrops are as jaggy and fuzzy as you’d expect from a budget PS2 release. And every character is horrifically animated, mainly thanks to the poor frame-rate standards. Expect to see enemies stuck in scenery, dumbly standing still as you wander around them admiring their pixellated glory, and some that just are, well, broken entirely.
Enemies are incredibly frustrating too. Some will simply rush wildly towards you, waiting to be filled full of lead until you drift over the invisible line which stops them heading towards you. Or, they’ll be squatting behind a rock, hitting you with bullets with unnerving accuracy until you duck into cover and figure out exactly where they are so you can blast their heads before your life trickles away.
Quick time events make a surprising appearance. If enemies get too close, you’ll be prompted to nudge a button in order to initiate a swift animation which usually ends with gory results. Similarly, infrequent traps will again initiate a brief animation and urge you to nudge a few buttons to progress. Certainly not the worst example of QTE gaming, but a long way from entertaining.
On the plus side, the game won’t last you more than half a dozen hours to finish off. And with no multiplayer offerings, there’s no reason to not bury this one in the back garden and hope the dog doesn’t bring it back to the surface.
There’s no real reason for Shellshock 2 to exist. No one enjoyed the first game, and the genre has so many quality titles recently released that Shellshock 2 has absolutely no audience.
Leave well alone.