Trepang2 review: FPS carnage at its most ridiculous

Trepang2 review: FPS carnage at its most ridiculous
Images courtesy of Team 17

Written by 

Dani Cross

Published 

19th Jun 2023 14:00

First-person shooters are sometimes hard to get excited about. We’ve seen almost everything the genre has to offer, with big-budget titles rarely managing to innovate in meaningful ways. But what happens when innovation isn’t the main concern, and the focus turns to creating a simple, fun action game?

Then you get Trepang2, a high-intensity FPS where you step into the boots of an unstoppable boogeyman, tearing soldiers limb from limb in the most over-the-top ways imaginable. 

Trepang2’s combat feels effortless in the best way. Every fight is fluid and flashy, and your guns are strong and deadly. Each encounter presents a sandbox for you to dispatch your foes as you see fit.

Want to slow down time and take out enemies one by one with a pistol? You can do that. Prefer to strap a grenade to a soldier and launch him at one of his mates? Go for it. Feel like going the silent route? The game won’t stop you. It all flows together perfectly, with constant windows for creativity and satisfying solutions to hordes of foes.

GGRecon Verdict

In the moment-to-moment action, Trepang2 pretty much delivers on all fronts. Its sheer fun, a joyous bloodbath where creativity in combat reigns supreme, and definitely worth a look if you’re looking for a new shooter to get stuck into. It's lacking a little bit of polish in certain areas, but there's no denying how satisfying the gunplay is.

A bloody sandbox

Fighting an armoured soldier in Trepang2.
Click to enlarge

Your two main abilities are key components of what makes Trepang2 so fun. Being able to slow down time and essentially become an invincible killing machine for a few seconds opens up the door to ridiculous strings of kills the average shooter could only dream of conjuring up. Likewise, the camo ability allows you to reposition safely and set yourself up for the next shotgun blast or pistol headshot. These aren’t original concepts, but the way they’re implemented is on point.

The game encourages you to move around rather than cower behind cover. Enemies will reposition, throw grenades or charge at you. Health and armour pickups are strewn across the level, forcing you to explore if you want to survive. And the more you move around, the more innovative you can get in combat. 

Slides, melee, grabs and throws all become commonplace when you’re dashing around and bumping into enemies around tight corners, and all of these moves are a constant joy to pull off. Slowing down time after throwing an enemy in the air so you can throw an incendiary grenade at his head and burn him alive in mid-air - this is why we play video games, and Trepang2 offers up these moments on an endless supply of silver platters.

Darkness awaits

A group of cultists from Trepang2.
Click to enlarge

There’s much more to this game than gun-fu, though. Having avoided pretty much all pre-release footage of the game, I went in blind knowing little more than this was a fast-paced shooter full of blood and gore. It’ll be tough to talk about what makes this game tick without a few hints at what you’ll be dealing with in the campaign, but I can say with certainty that going in with limited knowledge about the game’s events is the best approach, and to explain why I’ll have to delve into slight spoiler territory.

Not long into the game, the player is treated to a 343 Guilty Spark-esque tone change, a signifier that this game is more than ploughing through hordes of soldiers and chucking them off rooftops. It’s a twist that suddenly takes a sense of superpowered arrogance away from you, ripping out the notion that you’re the god in this game and enemy soldiers are merely toys to play with as you see fit. It’s an extremely effective switch.

Before long the game becomes a balancing act between horror and showmanship. I went from recklessly charging into battles and looking for hilarious kills, to making liberal use of my cloak, moving slowly to avoid triggering any kind of unseen danger. Rebuilding your confidence becomes a new secondary objective, running in tandem with your main goals in the campaign. 

Back in action

The player stomping on an enemy soldier.
Click to enlarge

If you’re easily spooked like me, this tonal change is jarring and takes a little while to adjust to. One campaign mission, set in the definitely-not-ominous location of an underground Siberian facility, was particularly chilling. Going back to fighting soldiers in an office building felt like coming up for air after a long dive underwater - I could breathe easy again among the carefree carnage. Hopping into a side mission and mopping up waves of soldiers became my safe haven.

You’ll slowly unlock more of these side missions as you play. The content in them isn’t too unique, to begin with, but they start to ramp up in variety the more you play. I felt just as compelled to complete the side content as the main stuff, which is a testament to how fun the gunplay is. Horde mode against crazed cultists is the perfect place to let loose and go nuts with whatever guns or strategies you desire.

I played on Hard difficulty, and to complete the main campaign and all the side missions, you’re looking at around 10-12 hours of gameplay if you’re an experienced player. There’s more to unlock, like hidden intel collectables or bonuses tied to completing levels on higher difficulties, but for the bulk of the game’s content, it’s still a decently long ride. 

The story keeps up with the quality of the gameplay too. It’s not groundbreaking stuff, but it’s compelling enough to keep you curious about what fresh horrors might be lurking around the corner. The intel logs paint a vivid picture of corrupt corporations and experiments gone wrong, and you’ll come face to face with these realities in due course. A lack of memorable characters does hurt it a little, but the writing is solid and the reveals hit hard.

Audio struggles

A gunfight in Trepang2.
Click to enlarge

Despite the overall quality of the gameplay, there are a couple of areas lacking polish. One issue stuck out more than any other, and that’s the audio. The audio design itself is fine, but the mixing was quite poor in my playthrough. Often the voice actors could barely be heard above blaring music in the middle of a fight or cutscene. This is in spite of having the voice volume higher than any other audio setting.

After a couple of different fights, intense heavy metal continued to pound my eardrums in what should have been a quiet resolution. At one point in the campaign, I couldn’t hear a character’s voice at all - without subtitles, I wouldn’t have known they were even speaking. It’s a shame because the voice actors did a good job - the eccentric “high-value-targets” screaming at you over comms in the side missions are particularly fun.

Glitches extend to the game’s physics and collision too. In a game with crazy physics like this one, you’re bound to see some wacky shenanigans now and then, and in a way these only add to the hilarity of combat. Whether it’s throwing enemies with such force they get stuck on the terrain, or lightly touching a corpse and sending it flying across the map, the ragdoll effects have been dialled up to the extreme - and honestly, I’m not sure I’d want it any other way.

One slightly disappointing aspect of the game is the controller settings, which aren’t quite as good as they could be. This game is clearly designed to be played with a mouse and keyboard, which is fine, but for controller fans like me, there are a few small issues that crop up with the controls from time to time. Sprinting doesn’t quite feel right, and the lack of sensitivity settings for scoped weapons makes aiming the DMR a nightmare on a controller.

These are only minor problems though, and they’re not as noticeable if you play on mouse and keyboard. Hopefully, this gets addressed if the game ever makes it to consoles.

The Verdict

The player riding a helicopter.
Click to enlarge

If you’re looking for a slick John Wick-style shooter to delve into, this game will be right up your street. If you’re looking for a successor to F.E.A.R, with action and horror combined in one package, it’s all here too.

In the moment-to-moment action, Trepang2 pretty much delivers on all fronts. It's sheer fun, a joyous bloodbath where creativity in combat reigns supreme, and well worth a look if you’re not averse to a few scares.

4/5

Reviewed on PC. Code provided by the publisher.

Dani is a Guides Writer for GGRecon. She graduated from university with a degree in Broadcast Journalism, then worked as a freelance writer before joining the GGRecon team as a full-time writer in 2023. In her opinion, the best game of all time is Elden Ring – but her favourite is Halo: Reach, a game that created lifelong friendships and somehow started her down the path to a career in media. She’s also way too invested in Pokemon cards, and a big fan of guinea pigs, cats and other cute creatures.