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  • Writer's pictureRoberto Nieves

Review: Trepang2

It is often said that imitation is a sincere form of flattery. The early to mid-00s were a wild time in video games, especially first-person shooters. While Halo dominated science fiction and Call of Duty had players storming the beaches, experimental titles twisted the formula of what a first-person shooter could be. That experiment had a name, and it was called F.E.A.R. The acclaimed F.E.A.R trilogy mixed supernatural terror with chaotic shooting and the best use of bullet-time since The Matrix. While the inspiration is worn on its sleeve, Trepang2 weaves inspiration into its own ebb and flow.

Trepang2 is an indie shooter that busts in with attitude and provides a bone-crunchingly satisfying action experience where players are super soldiers, which is the worst nightmare of anyone who opposes him. This heavy-metal, fast-paced cacophony of blood spatters and chaotic firefights stands as one of the most satisfying and euphoric experiences in games today, as it creates an irresistible ebb and flow to players.

There are no names. There are no identities. You are simply known as 106. In the opening moments of Trepang2, an unknown special ops squad breaks you out of prison. As the heavily armed guards search for your whereabouts, their chatter quickly reveals that you are no mere prisoner. You, the player, are a nightmare. A lethal weapon designed to annihilate any target. In the escape, you discover the ability to turn invisible at will and engage in bullet-time that makes any enemy a helpless foe. An international conglomerate has tampered with mad science, violating the human rights of many. Only you can take them down.

Trepang2 is light on story but big on gameplay, which is evident from the beginning of the game. A few moments after being introduced to moving, players are told what exactly needs to be done: Any enemy that opposes you must be dealt with. Trepang2 wastes no time establishing that. Most importantly, Trepang2 does the very thing that is quintessential for action games: Make the player powerful.

This is my boomstick

From the very moment players pick up their first weapon, Trepang2 introduces itself into a shooting experience that is excessively visceral, unashamedly bloody, and overwhelmingly polished. Guns fire with a ferocity of unbridled chaos, as each weapon has punch and impact. A gust of fire and smoke fills the screen. Bullets impact and fragment through the environment. Depending on what level the player is in, shards of concrete explode off of pillars, and shards of paper rain down in leather-filled libraries.

As mentioned before, players are able to switch between a cloaking ability and a bullet-time ability. Cloaking renders the player invisible for a short time. This ability is useful for evading crowds of enemies and keeping enemy soldiers guessing about your exact location. In a firefight, using cloak confuses enemies. They begin shooting where they think you are and not where you actually are. Using cloak can be paired with the melee attack options that Trepang2 presents.

Trepang for your buck

Players can get up close to an enemy and simply strike them, or they can get creative. Holding an enemy hostage is self-explanatory, and enemies will hesitate to shoot the player. Though, after a while, they'll give the hostage a pink slip through bullets. Alternatively, players may pull the pin off a grenade attached to the enemy and throw the enemy, making the enemy into a bomb that can be thrown into squads of enemies. In the heat of battle, as bullets and explosions are flying, this is simply one of the most satisfying gameplay moments of the year. It's something I haven't personally experienced since the golden days of Far Cry 3.

Bullet time is self-explanatory but with a caveat. Eliminating enemies is necessary to build the meter required to use bullet time. This makes aggressive approaches risky but recommended. Once used, the world blurs and slows to a crawl. Here, Trepang2 demonstrates its visual fidelity and the height of its gameplay mechanics. Bones are crunched, and bodies are twisted as a hail of gunfire pounds through the air. The world slows, and squads of soldiers are felled in an instant.

Max TrePang

One special note to the gameplay is shooting in Trepang2 is squarely from the hip or shoulder. There is no staring down the sights. That may seem like a strange omission, but it makes perfect sense with the rest of the gameplay's ebb and flow. The ability to run and slide into enemies to knock them into the air makes up for it, as it can be an effective action in combat. Shooting is chaotic and frenzied, making movement and speed essential.

Trepang2 genuinely feels like an enthusiastic project that highlights why gamers love shooters, to begin with. In a way, the game feels like an old-fashioned shooter from the late 90s or mid-00s, in which there is a simple story, but the gameplay is the star of the show. Each level in Trepang2 doesn't feel like filler or some lazily placed obstacle but a grand showcase of action and horror. Simply put, playing Trepang2 is the dosage of adrenaline and action that I never knew I needed.

Virtual Insanity

Playing the game feels so remarkably refreshing in the sea of shooters now. The sensation of power and the visual violence on display is absolute pandemonium. Compounding the entire gameplay experience is a nu-metal score from Brandon McKagan. This assembly of metal and electronic instrumentation further heightens the terror and chaos of Trepang2. Despite the frenzied action, the soundtrack makes itself well-known on screen.

Enemies fill the screen, some being otherworldly and grotesque. Often, players face the corporations' private military, and the enemy engages the efficiency of a special ops team. They throw grenades, take cover, and use coordinated tactics to destroy the player. Later missions reveal other enemy factions, like cultists, who use sheer aggression and often sacrifice themselves with explosives if it means eliminating the player.

Ghost in the TrePang

Trepang2 taps into the mad science of the future, not just in its setting but levels as well. Like a nod to the F.E.A.R games, certain levels take place inside office buildings and science labs. Other levels include grand libraries and courtyards. As combat unfolds, these areas become perforated with bullets and explosive damage, much to dazzling effect. Weapons start with typical firearms like handguns, submachine guns, and shotguns but can grow to include grenade shotguns and a minigun rifle. Throwables include grenades, flashbangs, tomahawks, and knives.

Scattered through each mission are collectibles. The most important collectibles will be hidden drones and weapon parts. The weapon parts give a little more customization to the combat experience. Weapon options include incendiary rounds, laser sights, scopes, and configurations for automatic fire. Finding drones is most important as they reveal tidbits about the story and unlock a secret ending. The various pieces of intel aren't required but open up the dark world of Trepang2.

They will F.E.A.R you

Perhaps the only setback to Trepang2 is its limitations to gameplay. Most games give players an assortment of abilities to utilize, such as Necromunda: Hired Gun. Trepang2 sticks to a limited number of abilities. In addition to cloaking and bullet-time, this also includes the ability to duel-wield. Having a few more abilities, such as a Robocop-inspired auto-aim, would have been nice, but there is a reason for this. This focus encourages players to maximize what they have and think differently. Where older shooters emphasized speed and aggression, Trepang2 continues this tradition as well.

Another setback can be the difficulty. There are five difficulties for players to tailor their experience. I chose Hard as many unlockable items become available when passing missions on hard difficulty. Naturally, some missions become incredibly difficult and require speed and well-placed shots. However, the enemy can become far too powerful. One mission, the Crash Site, required well over an hour's worth of retries as the enemies employed heavily armored soldiers with minigun rifles. Another mission takes place in a tight server room with no cover, especially as the enemy can shoot through catwalks and inflict damage on the player.

A Trepanging good time

Between missions, players enter a small hub world. Here, players may customize their weapons, engage in training simulators, and participate in missions across the world. This may seem like another setback, but this is also a nice touch as it allows players to breathe. In a way, this area can become a good way for players to fully hone their skills and maximize their combat potential. There are multiple difficulty settings to tailor the experience that best suits players.

Trepang2 is the experience I didn't know I needed in 2023. It's a true, enthusiastic take on the first-person shooter, acting as a wonderful throwback to the classics and a celebration of the unique action while doing its own thing. Playing is aggressive and fierce in a distinct way and unapologetic in its philosophy of action. More games need to be daring, like Trepang2, as there is so much untapped potential in the genre. Wherever the Trepang2 team goes next, I'll be ready with both shotguns in hand.

Trepang2 was reviewed on an original model Steamdeck and is listed as Steamdeck Verified.

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1 comentário

davenport kim
davenport kim
11 de abr.

Trepang2 is a first-person shooting game inspired by a very attractive science fiction setting. I am quite impressed with the game's graphics. Well worth the experience. flappy bird

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