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Shellshock 2: Blood Trails 360 Review

30/04/2009 Specialist Tech Gamer Review
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Shellshock 2: Blood Trails 360

Shellshock 2: Blood Trails




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Shellshock 2 tries to take you on a journey through the bleak setting and hideous underbelly of the Vietnam War. The interesting concept of mixing the pointless conflict with a zombie-like, 28 Days Later storyline is utterly ruined by game-breaking technical failings. In my 8 hours of torture I was subjected to shoddy controls, a broken narrative and visuals that looked like they spewed out from a PS2 launch game. At the end of this miserable experience I was ready to let the infected hordes tear me apart and save me from remembering this pile of videogame rubbish.

For the first ten minutes or so I was totally sold on the concept of mixing a shady, Government-funded project to infect soldiers with this feral mutagen. After all, it's a requirement that games featuring zombies or ‘infected' are instantly better and score higher than those without. But then my controller leapt out of my hands and smacked some sense into me and I realised how utterly broken this whole game is.

When it comes to FPS games it's pretty important that you're able to shoot a gun effectively and move around with some sense of ease. But Shellshock 2 fails even at this most basic of tasks by having atrocious aiming and movement issues. Veering around the screen like some sort of demented 90's Raver is about the best I could do after spending half an hour with the sensitivity slider. Even pulling a rifle up to its iron sights meant that most of the screen obscured my view and made aiming even worse. By the time I'd got my sights on the enemy it was already too late and I resorted to a favoured tactic in this situation. Swearing and blindly firing until everyone was dead.

This is by far one of the poorest games I've played in all my gaming life. The BBC Micro displayed a better grasp of technology than this woeful effort.

Kludging through the awful combat meant only coming up against more technical problems. The frame rate barely touched upon the magical 30 frames a second (surely a legal requirement for a console game). This was in the indoor environments and when I finally came across a more moody or intense setting the game descended into a slideshow. I've never tried to wade waist-high through Molasses in January, but watching this game splutter out visuals like this certainly gave me a taste of it.

Despite lowering the difficulty level to easy so I could get past these inexcusable faults, the Viet Cong seem to have grown a titanium skin in the Shellshock 2 world. Taking down the non-infected enemy at point blank range really shouldn't take more than a single bullet, but whatever these guys were being fed meant they were able to suck up 5 or 6 rounds before falling down. The infected bad guys are also stupidly resilient. If you can show me a zombie that can take 2 shotgun rounds to the head and still jump around like a rabbit on LSD then you're a better man than I.

This is by far one of the poorest games I've played in all my gaming life. The BBC Micro displayed a better grasp of technology than this woeful effort and I cannot understand how it managed to creep past QA in the first place.

The concept of the story is Shellshock 2's one mediocre-to-average point but the failure to deliver even a nuts and bolts shooter is inexcusable. Just like the FPS ‘Turning Point: Fall of Liberty', the broken controls and technical failings mean that no-one should ever start this game, let alone finish it.

Written by Simon Arquette

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Simon Arquette writes the Tech Gamer column.

"Gaming technology and techniques fascinate me, always have and always will do. They've driven me to a gaming degree, and aspirations to a whole lot more. Here though, I'll be reviewing games for how they put their technology to work to deliver a compelling experience."

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