This action-packed FPS is a throwback to a bygone era of shooters. Despite a number of flaws, it’s an excellent trip down memory lane.
Single-player-only first-person shooters are a dying breed. Good ones are even rarer. While we do get a new Doom or a Wolfenstein every now and then, the modern FPS scene consists mostly of multiplayer-oriented releases, with half-baked campaigns shoehorned in at the last minute.
Enter Trepang2. Fans and critics hailed it the spiritual successor to the F.E.A.R. franchise, and for a good reason.
It’s a gory, fast-paced shooter with horror elements that takes a lot of what made the F.E.A.R. games so memorable and delivers a satisfying, concise solo experience.
Story and setting
In Trepang2, players take on the role of Subject 106, a nameless soldier with superhuman abilities and no memory of his past.
Upon breaking out of a holding facility in the game’s introductory mission, he joins up with a group known as the Syndicate, whose ultimate goal is to bring down the Horizon Corporation, the same bad guys that imprisoned the protagonist in the first place.
That’s roughly the gist of it. I never found myself all that invested in the fate of Syndicate, Horizon, or Subject 106. The story seems to be there to serve as an excuse for the on-screen carnage, and it gets the job done.
There are a few twists along the way, and you’ll have plenty of chances to learn about the game’s world by picking up “Intel,” i.e. laptops, flash drives, and smartphones that flesh out the story somewhat with their contents.
It is not a narrative-driven game, and it doesn’t pretend to be one. It’s all about the action. On that front, it delivers a satisfying blend of gore, edge-of-the-seat shootouts, and atmospheric horror sequences.
Weapons and combat
Players have access to an array of weapons to obliterate hordes of Horizon’s goons and ghoulish supernatural creatures.
You’ll have a choice of a standard pistol, SMG, shotgun, assault rifle, and DMR. Later on in the game, you’ll also come across grenade and bolt launchers, as well as a minigun.
Every type of weapon is moddable, and standard additions to adjust recoil, range, or noise are all there.
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Some of the late-game mods add even more punch to your guns. They are rounds for the shotgun or a minigun auto-aim extension akin to Soldier 76’s Tactical Visor ult in Overwatch.
Roughly halfway through the main story, you’ll also unlock the ability to dual-wield your guns and deal double the damage at the cost of increased recoil.
F.E.A.R.’s influences on Trepang2’s combat are obvious from the get-go, with the main one being Focus.
It’s an ability that, much like SlowMo in F.E.A.R., slows down time for everybody but the player, allowing you to wipe out a handful of enemies in the span of a few seconds.
Some of my favorite moments in Trepang2 involved triggering Focus and unleashing my two shotguns on confused opponents.
Subject 106’s second power, Cloak, makes him invisible for a brief period of time. It’s a good way to swiftly get out of the line of fire, but don’t count on using it to become a stealthy ninja assassin.
While you can sneak around and carry out stealthy assassinations, it’s clearly not the intended way to play through the whole game, and sooner or later, you’ll have no choice but to go in guns blazing.
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Impressive enemy AI
Just like F.E.A.R. back in the day, Trepang2 puts its AAA counterparts to shame by implementing advanced enemy AI.
I was impressed by how smart the opponents are in Trepang2, especially in larger, arena-like areas of the game.
They’ll split up into smaller groups to try and flank you. Runoff and take cover in hard-to-reach areas, and use grenades way more often than I’ve come to expect playing other single-player shooters. Trepang2’s bad guys can really put up a fight.
Not only is Focus extremely fun to use, but it also becomes a necessity to clear out groups of enemies on higher difficulty levels. The ability’s recharge speed increases with each consecutive kill, and you also get a boost for landing headshots.
Length and game modes
If you choose to beeline the main story, you’ll likely get through it around the 5-hour mark, depending on the difficulty. Thankfully, that’s not all that Trepang2 has to offer.
There is the Combat Simulator mode, an arcadey, horde mode, where you have to kill off increasing waves of enemies. There is a total of 31 Combat Simulator maps that you’ll unlock as you progress through the main and side missions.
Speaking of side quests, they are a bit of a hit-and-miss in Trepang2. Quite a few of them are just slightly modified Combat Simulator scenarios, with the added task of destroying Horizon Corporation’s servers, but there are also a few gems.
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For instance, in one side mission, I was tasked with investigating an “unidentified structure” underneath an abandoned countryside house that turned out to be a secret Horizon lab where the corporation developed AI that inevitably turned sentient.
This brief, half-hour-long mission was reminiscent of a Black Mirror episode and turned out to be one of the highlights of the entire game for me.
Should you play through all of the side content that Trepang2 has to offer, complete with unlocking all of the weapon mods, you’re easily going to squeeze 15-20 hours out of the game.
Graphics and performance
Trepang2 is not the most graphically advanced FPS out there. It entered development in 2016, and it can look a bit dated when compared side-by-side with this year’s biggest releases.
This is not to say that it’s an ugly game, though. With every setting cranked up to the maximum, it can look great, really exposing the amount of detail Trepang Studios have gone into when designing every nook and cranny of each map.
Performance-wise, there is really nothing to complain about. For the majority of my playthrough, Trepang2 ran at a smooth 60FPS, with only a few noticeable framerate dips during the hectic final mission. I haven’t run into any major bugs, either.
Trepang2 pros and cons
- Fast, satisfying gunplay
- Smart enemies
- Lots of fun side content
- Weak story
- The campaign is too short
Trepang2 is an excellent single-player FPS with snappy controls and tons of rapid, gory action. It strikes the fine balance between retro-inspired gunplay and modern game design. Definitely worth picking up, especially if you’re a F.E.A.R. fan.
Trepang2 comes out on PC on June 21, 2023.