Say this was the year 2000, you had just bought a PS2, you had never played a videogame before and heating up a microwave lasagne for one was as much technology as you had even been involved with. Then Shellshock 2: Blood Trails might have been impressive.
Sadly, this is the year 2009. The era of BioShock, Halo and Call of Duty. A brave new world of innovation, atmosphere and drama. You can even play multiplayer! Against other people! Who aren't even in the same room! Rebellion would claw at the screen in fear if they witnessed such powerful medieval magic being played out before their disbelieving eyes, before throwing their HDTV into the nearest river to see if it floats.
There is nothing to be found in Shellshock 2 that suggests it was made in the last ten years, let alone a title released well into the Xbox 360's life. Visually, it's dull and lifeless. The same goes for the gameplay. At least the multiplayer is... oh wait. It doesn't have multiplayer. Whoops.
If we had to pick the biggest of its many, many problems, it would be the gunplay. It does the 'first-person' bit of the FPS equation right but not the 'shooter' part. It just doesn't sit together properly. It's hard to explain why an FPS doesn't feel right given all you're doing is aiming a crosshair and pushing a trigger, so we'll list some of its problems instead.
Your pistol is more effective than your generic machine gun. Ammo is scarce so putting your knife two awkward D-pad presses away from your main gun is dumb. You're firing at enemies you can't see (the Vietcong) or at enemies who claw at you until either they die or you die (the Infected). You can't tell what weapon you have or what you're picking up, so refilling ammo is often a case of pick up weapon, drop weapon, pick up weapon, drop weapon. Just like the real thing! Presumably.
Throw in a bunch of QTE events, terrible voice-acting, some of the worst AI we have ever seen and a total running time that would merely be a fart in The Orange Box's world and Shellshock 2 truly is shocking stuff. The idea of mixing survival horror alongside warfare has potential but, on this evidence, we hope it's a while before anyone dares try it again.
This really is absolutely shocking
- It loads...
- ...And then it hurts
- Looks terrible
- Really quite dull
- No multiplayer