Trepang2 review: FEAR’s heir is more fun than expected

Brian Adam

We played the final version of Trepang2, the frantic bullet time and kung fu FPS considered the spiritual heir of FEAR.

Trepang2 review: FEAR's heir is more fun than expected


The first FEAR (First Encounter Assault Recon) is remembered fondly and nostalgically by gamers, for specific reasons. Between the AI ​​behaving in a believable way, the gunplay of the level and the horror moments effectively orchestrated, the title offered an experience that was nothing short of satisfying. Hence, a small team based in Vancouver, Trepang Studios, has set itself the ambitious goal of creating a spiritual heir to the progenitor of the Monolith Productions series.

The gestation of Trepang 2 saw the active participation of users, who put various demos to the test to offer useful feedback to insiders. Thanks to the opportunity provided to us by the software house, we were able to get our hands on the final build of the product, well in advance of the release date, so that we could test it with complete peace of mind. Let’s find out together if Trepang2 really manages to embody the spirit of FEAR

Bullets, kung fu and lots of blood

The prologue of Trepang2 coincides with that of the demo version we tried a few months ago: the protagonist is a supersoldier without any memory, who is being held captive in a heavily guarded facility. At one point, however, he is freed by a heavily armed military group and escorted outside the complex. Our hero then gets on a helicopter and reaches the base of operations of his new allies, which serves as a central hub for organizing your equipment and deciding on your next destination. The protagonist’s goal? Track down every member of the organization that kept him locked up.

In short, it is the classic story involving experiments on humans with not exactly surprising implications. On the narrative front, to understand, Trepang2 is not characterized by particular flashes of originality. The whole campaign is just an excuse for us to take flight to different locations in which to give life to a new massacre. A few twists or the presence of some targets with an undoubtedly fascinating aesthetic change nothing: on balance you get to the end credits without having paid too much attention to everything that happened.

It wasn’t hard to guess: the gameplay is the real protagonist of Trepang2, also thanks to the wide range of actions that can be performed with great ease. This first person shooter doesn’t play like the classic exponents of the genre.

Here it is not possible to enter aiming mode and the key that is usually used for this function is actually used to lead your hands (or feet, if pressed in flight). To make your way through the enemies you need to combine hail of bullets and melee attacks, not to mention the two special powers of our supersoldier. The possibility of slow down time and of become temporarily invisible.

Each skill has its own dedicated button and it’s really easy to enter bullet time and go wild with flying kicks, machine gun bursts and slides. In the most agitated moments it is also possible sneak up behind an opponent and use him as a human shieldthen snap its neck or throw it in the air and blow it to pieces, using two SPAS-12s at the same time and slow motion, of course. The feeling of the weapons is typical of distinctly arcade productions, with the guns holding off without difficulty. There aren’t many tools of death but they all seemed fun to use in battle, proving the commitment made by the development team on this front.

Short but replayable

If the gameplay of Trepang2 satisfied us, we cannot say the same about the situations proposed during the adventure, some of which fail adequately to support the frenzy of this first person shooter. When in front of the player are soldiers or members of the cult that is behind the experimentseverything runs smoothly and it is a pleasure to take part in the massacre.

The music changes when the production wants to imitate FEAR at all costs and try to replicate it horror moments: these phases of the game do not scare and the situations in which the monstrous creatures (whether bosses or normal enemies), they failed to satisfy us. In fact, the abominations are unpleasant to look at, and not in the good sense of the term, and the sections in which they must be eliminated lack a bite, unlike the shooting phases with the soldiers.

The content offer of Trepang2 has also convinced us halfway, given that it takes about four hours to complete the few campaign missions. It is true that the Canadian degree boasts a certain degree of

replayability thanks to numerous levels of difficulty and in the presence of side missions. These allow us to shed light on certain aspects of the plot or to face hordes of opponents. Exceeding the standard challenge level, the battles of Trepang2 become difficult and require a healthy commitment to be completed at maximum difficulty. This feat shouldn’t be done for glory alone, since the developers have thought of a way to stimulate the player to stay glued to the screen for much longer than the time required to finish the adventure. In the central hub it is possible customize the protagonist’s uniform and loadout, with many aesthetic and functional options that are unlocked only by completing specific challenges. There is also a rudimentary system for modifying weapons, but in this case the various silencers and lasers to be mounted can be found around the scenarios in the form of collectible briefcases. There is also an entire screen dedicated to tricks, also linked to objectives, which can distort the experience with modifiers of various kinds (guns that shoot knives, for one thing).

Graphics and AI

From a technical point of view, Trepang2 is a little more than enough product. The use ofUnrealEngine 4 did not allow developers to take advantage of the technologies integrated into the fifth iteration of the Epic Games engine. Between an average lighting system and good but not exceptional polygonal models, including those of the weapons, the visual presentation doesn’t make a miracle. Obviously there is one attention to violencegiven that it is possible to mutilate or explode the bodies of the unfortunate with the various instruments of death, which are covered in blood and guts when the elimination takes place at short range.

What is subdued is the realization of certain scenarios, which appear rather generic and lack particular attention to detail. With the exception of the aforementioned creatures that face each other at specific points in the story, some of the priority targets that are hunted between one mission and another have a certain charisma, especially those on the upper floors of the sect, with their peculiar masks gold that inspire fear in those who look at them.

There is nothing of note to report regarding theartificial intelligencewhich unfortunately is not at the levels of the one seen in the main source of inspiration of the game: here the hostile soldiers tend to stay in cover and not have an overly aggressive attitude when outnumbered, but we are still very far from the peaks reached in first FEAR on this front.

Instead, we must emphasize that our experience hasn’t been without bugs and one of these is the same that we found in the previous demo: from time to time the weapons stop firing for a few seconds and you have to click the fire button several times in order to restore its correct functioning. This is the only major issue, although there are others of lesser impact that we hope will be fixed with the first patches closer to launch. One final note should be made regarding the controller support, which in our opinion still needs heavy finishing. At least for the moment, it is inadvisable to launch into the fight with a device other than a mouse and keyboard.