Trepang2 for PC Review

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I forget how I discovered Trepang2 but I thought the name was interesting and it looked fun. The word “Trepang” refers to any type of large sea cucumber and my research tells me “Trepang2” was just a placeholder name but the developer thought it was memorable and decided to keep it. Trepang2 is a game that appears to be influenced by F.E.A.R. and, from what I understand, originally began as a hobby project by one individual and more people joined the team over the course of development. Developed by Trepang Studios and published by Team17, Trepang2 was released for PC in June, 2023, and the Xbox Series systems and PlayStation 5 in October of that same year. For this review, I played the PC version.

Before really getting into things, I want to say I went into this game expecting it to be a small indie title with fun mechanics. Basically, I expected a short but decent first-person shooter with some elements borrowed from F.E.A.R. I didn’t really follow its development or play the demos nor did I read or watch reviews after it came out. I just kept an eye on it because I knew I wanted to check it out so I guess my expectations were low. And now that I’ve played through the game, I can honestly say it exceeded them.

The player is put in the shoes of Subject 106, a prisoner of the Horizon Corporation. With the assistance of Task Force 27, 106 escapes and helps them clear out Horizon black sites. But, of course, not all is as it seems and as the story progresses, 106 uncovers the truth behind Horizon and Task Force 27. In my opinion, the story isn’t bad. It’s better than I thought it would be. It comes with solid voice acting and some interesting twists and turns. There are some elements of horror here and it’s not always shoved in your face and the game does convey a somewhat a creepy atmosphere at times. If I was to compare it to F.E.A.R., I would argue the horror here isn’t quite on the same level but I would also argue the action here is far superior. In fact I would say, Trepang2 is definitely more of an action game than a horror game.

Trepang2 is easily one of the best shooters I’ve played in a while. Basically, everything about the action is fucking fantastic. The weapons, the mechanics, the gunplay – it’s all fun and feels great. You can perform melee moves, slide into enemies to knock them down, activate a cloak and slow down time. You can also grab enemies to take them as hostages. The combat can be very fast-paced and gets hectic fast. Every single weapon sounds and feels great to fire and guns can be customized and dual wielded. You can find weapon parts that unlock different attachments. You can even unlock and change weapon skins. The action is accompanied by excellent gore effects and enemies are loud and very vocal which helps add to the intensity of firefights. When the bullets start flying, you’ll see sparks flying around, bullets and explosions can rip through parts of the environments resulting in dirt, debris, and smoke filling the air, and blood will gush and splatter. Every single firefight feels incredible. And you haven’t lived until you drop bad guys with incendiary rounds from the shotgun.

There are different enemy types including Horizon troops, Cultists, and let’s call them supernatural threats. Some of the game’s horror elements come in the form of certain enemy types and honestly, engaging them is my least favorite part of the game. That’s not to say they don’t fit the narrative or horror aspect or that blasting away certain supernatural types isn’t fun, but from a gameplay standpoint, the game is at its best when you’re up against human threats which is most of the time. And that’s good because the action is top tier. Luckily, the supernatural threats don’t overstay their welcome and some of the later missions that emphasize a more creepy atmosphere don’t throw too many of these threats at you.

After you complete the first mission which shows you the ropes, you’re brought to the safehouse and this is where you’ll return after completing subsequent missions. The safehouse is where you can select the next mission, customize your appearance, select and customize weapons, and access the combat simulator. The story plays out in missions and as you progress, you’ll unlock side missions and several of them require you survive waves of enemies. The combat simulator comes with multiple games modes including horde, endless, and survival, and a ton of maps to select from. Trepang2 comes with numerous difficulty levels and completing certain missions and simulations on certain difficulty levels will unlock different things including cheats, weapons, and customization options.

The story isn’t super long but Trepang2 is a game with a lot of replay value. With plenty to unlock, numerous difficulty levels, cheats that can make things easier or harder, and the multiple combat simulator modes and maps, including the unlockable Sandbox mode – there’s no shortage of things to do and work towards. In my opinion, the combat simulator is one of the best things about the game. Mainly because it centers on action. Horde and Endless have you engaging waves of enemies and earning money that can be spent on supplies like weapons, health, armor, and even support squads. It’s pretty much what you expect from these types of modes and they’re perfect if you’re just looking to quickly jump into the incredible action without any narrative interference and the amount of maps on offer is impressive. Then there’s the Survival mode which was added in as DLC. It’s easily the most interesting in the bunch. You battle across maps, completing challenges, and eating food to stay alive. The challenges or objectives each map offers is like the mode’s way of encouraging you to experiment and try different things. It’s fun and well implemented.

Trepang2 does allow you to approach situations all guns blazing or quietly. In other words, you can be loud or stealthy. The stealth mechanics are pretty basic but work and I had fun with them. Stay crouched, quiet, and out of sight to remain undetected and get the jump on enemies. What I found neat is that enemies can detect your flashlight and laser if your weapon has one attached. You can approach foes from behind and grab and kill them quietly and/or out of sight and the cloak ability renders you invisible for a brief time. Even during a firefight you can activate it to help you retreat if needed. While the stealth is fun, the real fun comes from going loud. At least I think so. Going in all guns blazing, running, sliding, shooting, and slowing down time. On higher difficulty levels, mastering the mechanics becomes more crucial. You’re pretty much always outnumbered and you basically need to keep moving. Bullets coming from everywhere and grenades landing at your feet will ensure you don’t remain stationary for too long and foes will often vocally react to situations which is cool.

Trepang2 features an excellent variety of environments. The story takes you to numerous locations around the globe and they all look and feel different. The environments are linear with more open areas where firefights typically take place giving you plenty of room to maneuver. I feel the environments are well crafted and while mostly linear, they do encourage exploration. Weapon parts, intel, and drones are the incentives to explore and there’s a roster of High Value Targets to eliminate. They can be found in missions and many act as boss types of sorts.

Trepang2 is a great looking game. The presentation is slick, the lighting and visual effects are excellent, the environments are detailed, and there’s good amount of visual variety. Every location looks and feels distinct. I think the weapon models look sexy and the variety of skins is a nice way to change up their appearance. Animations are also good and outside of some ragdolls looking a little wonky from time to time, I have no real problems with the visual presentation. The audio work is just as good. The soundtrack is pretty great consisting of a lot of fitting intense tunes that compliment the action nicely. It’s the sound effects that are the real highlight of the audio work. At least I think so. From the sounds of weapons fire to the enemy dialogue, it all sounds amazing. The audio work is big part of why the action feels as incredible as it does. Couple that with the great visual presentation and effects and the result is a wonderful feast for the senses. On the technical side, I’m happy to say I encountered no major issues.

I went into Trepang2 expecting a solid but short experience wearing its F.E.A.R. influences on its sleeve. What I got was so much more. Honestly, I didn’t expect most of what the game has to offer. I didn’t expect weapon or appearance customization, I didn’t expect all the cheats, I didn’t expect the combat simulator modes, and I really didn’t expect it to be as polished as it is. Hell, I didn’t even expect the story to be as good as it is. It’s not the greatest tale ever told but it is compelling. Granted, I didn’t keep up with development or play the demos so I was pleasantly surprised when I fired it up and experienced the action for the first time. The combat is fun, intense, brutal, and even visceral. The horror isn’t quite as amazing but it’s also not the star of the show nor does it take away from the action which is front and center for most of the experience. But if you want to compare this to F.E.A.R., since that seems to be an obvious influence here, the horror is just not on the same level. I’m okay with that, though, because the game appears to be more focused on action and the developer really nailed that part of it.

I absolutely recommend Trepang2. Ultimately, I feel it’s one of the greatest shooters of its generation. It’s a must play for any fans of the genre. It offers some of the best first-person shooting action I’ve experienced in a while. It’s one of those games that makes it hard to enjoy others of its kind just because of how incredible the action here is. If you’re looking for a great horror game or the balance of action and horror like first F.E.A.R. offers, Trepang2 may disappoint but if you’re looking for a great shooter, Trepang2 more than delivers. Definitely check it out.

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