Continuing the build up to “spooky season” this time out we have a fright fest with a bit of a twist, as it’s a bit of a love letter to Monolith’s F.E.A.R. series as it blends FPS thrills with things that go bump in the night. Trepang² by Canadian studio Trepang Studios, isn’t a sequel even though it has a 2 in its name, but it’s a re-imagining of the core ideas behind a number of blasters from the mid-2000s… namely F.E.A.R. Where you wake up in a cell at the beginning (even though you have a stealth suit) and from here you have to battle your way through an endless supply of spec-ops goons and more super natural foes. You are Subject 106 working for the mysterious Taskforce 27, as you are sent around the world to take a number of black sites and the like offline for good. As well as trying to get to the core of the evil Horizon Corporation, who serve as the big bad here across its 10-or-so hour run time. It’s all a bit cliché filled as tales go, but it holds your interest just enough between the epic gunfights that unfold along the way.
Gameplay is classic FPS fare with a few fun added extras; like a stealth suit to help you sneak around enemies and you can also slow time down, which is brilliant fun as you unload everything you have at a 10th of normal speed of time, only to resume and the bodies hit the floor. You get a healthy arsenal of firepower to use; from assaults rifles and shotguns, to snipers and DMR’s – each have pros and cons, though you will find attachment cases in the levels, that add bits to them to spice things up a little bit, as you can customise them to what each fight needs. Plus half way through the game you get injected with some magic juice that lets you dual wield and that’s when the real fun starts, as running around with two shotguns and reloading them with one hand never gets old or not funny. Though oddly Subject 106 can only dual wield two of the same weapons, which is a shame as being able to make different combos from the firepower available could have led to some fun experimentation.
The spooky side of things shows its face now and again, mainly through jump scares or the interesting boss fights; with each needing a certain tactic to take down… like only being open to attack as they spew acid at you. Although it never hits the heights of its inspiration, as there is not an overall spooky big bad in the vein of Alma for example. Visually the game looks great in the heat of a battle as you slow time down and effects burst all over the screen, though moment to moment can be a bit so-so. As you leg it through yet another secret facility, though there is a bit of variety to the overall locations to be fair. Sound-wise there is a rock fuelled soundtrack that does its job well, but more often than not is drowned out by the endless and constant screams and cries of your gas mask wearing enemies getting blown limb from limb.
Trepang² aims to capture a vibe and tone of the mid-2000s and it does that perfectly, as well as bringing it all up to date. The gunplay is top tier and its tale is OK, though could have used a little something more to hook you in. If you’re an FPS fan looking for a blast from the past or a jump scare or two, this is well worth giving a shoot.
An Xbox review copy of Trepang² was provided by Trepang Studios PR team, and the game is out now on PC, Xbox and PlayStation for around £30.