Shellshock 2: Blood Trails Review

There are an abundance of amazing titles for your home console of choice at the moment. Fantastic FPS ‘horror’ titles such as Bioshock, F.E.A.R 2 and Left 4 Dead are just a few examples of how spoilt gamers have been recently, and just how high the standard we expect has grown. It was hugely disappointing popping Shellshock 2 into my Xbox 360. It’s my own fault, I’m a fan of the horror series and I kind of expected something gloriously gruesome. Zombies are awesome, you can’t go wrong with decapitated brains! It’s just a shame that Shellshock 2 not only does such a bad job at delivering any horror, it does a bad job at everything else as well.

Right now I should be giving you a few details about the characters and the story line but it would mean I’d have to go online and research it, because not only can I not remember any of the characters names, I just don’t care because they were so unmemorable. I better do my job though so here we go – It’s all set in World War II Vietnam. You are an American soldier in search for your brother ‘Cal’ – who has been injected with ‘Whiteknight’, a biological weapon. This weapon turns whoever is injected with said virus into a crazed zombie, and then the plot pretty much runs off there. You wonder around different environments looking for your brother as he attacks you constantly and meet dull characters who feel the need to swear constantly to feel on par with it’s adult rating.

I’ve been quick to fall out of love with games because of the looks but you can have some ugly games with great story lines. This could have been Shellshock 2’s saving grace, it’s just a shame whoever wrote the script seemed to be good pals with the script writer from Kane and Lynch. If you like swear words, this game is right up your alley. It’s just lazy writing in all honesty, swearing can be done so right and work well in the right situation. It just seemed that they felt the need to add profanity at any given chance. Not to add to the fact the story was just boring and characters were not only written poorly but voiced poorly as well. If you can get past the shockingly bad plot, you meet the equally atrocious graphics. The game looks like a late PS2 title, not only with character models but with environments as well. There is not one thing visually impressive with this title, it was really a shock.

Gameplay also turned out just as horrendous. I just don’t understand why 2 melee attacks are stronger than 4 shotgun rounds to the chest, nor why my pistol is stronger than my rifle. Also why the enemies stand behind explosive barrels, obviously wanting me to explode them to bits without any real challenge. There is no decent cover system either, when you do get slummed down by a large group of enemies it becomes too frustrating. So many questions left unanswered. What doesn’t help is that when you do encounter a large group, it all struggles to keep an even frame rate. How can a game this ugly struggle with frame rate issues? I haven’t even got into how bad it is to shoot the weapons! Manual reloads are a constant annoyance and the above mentioned frame rate issues only make getting a head shot even harder. Mix that with a lack of cover system and you have a game that makes you want to strangle yourself while playing.

Getting through Shellshock 2 is mixed between mini battles, walking around boring environments with badly designed corpses (which are meant to scare you) and then there is the much needed quick time events. The QTE’s are probably the most ridiculous feature out of everything in this game. When your being attacked and are trying to frantically pump in each random code that pops up again and again, you get the enjoyable audio of poorly done grunting from both parties. If your against a Vietnamese solder the annoying whines are enough to want you to shut down your console let alone your ‘brothers’ screaming. In fact I hated this so much, I stopped playing after chapter 4.

All in all, I cannot recommend this game at all unless you are looking for some easy achievements. Which seems to be the games only blessing. Some of you will buy it for the achievements, just like Avatar, and you’re going to get around 900 Gamer score for finishing it on hard. The game was just so bad, I could just about get halfway through. Unless you are desperate for a few miserable hours to waste then I would steer well clear. As I said before – try Bioshock, F.E.A.R 2 or Left 4 Dead instead.

Lauren Wainwright

Lauren is a 21 year old obsessive gamer born in the south of England. She started off on an Amiga Commodore 500 Plus and has never looked back since. Lauren loves FPS, RPG's (Western and Japanese) and Adventure games with her favourite title being Tomb Raider. Interesting facts include Living in Japan, being on Inside Xbox more than once, being UK Xbox Gamer of the Month and being a bit of an Anime fan.

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