Shellshock: Nam ’67 is a game set in Vietnam, a gaming history genre that is slowly growing in numbers of games put out versus the amount of World War II-based games being put out. Shellshock has been marketed by Eidos as a realistic take on the Vietnam War. In many ways it is realistic, but it is so over the top it isn’t even funny.
This game has seen an interesting amount of development. Developer Guerilla Games started off fully behind the program, but then last year Sony came knocking at their door at purchased the developer for work on the “Halo killer” game Killzone for the Playstation 2. Seeing that they were now on “easy street” so to speak, Guerilla prolonged the development of Shellshock: Nam ’67 and ended up sending Eidos a pretty crappy game by my estimation. Let’s get to the scores.
The graphics in Shellshock are good, but they certainly don’t make my jaw drop. Extensive amounts of draw-in are apparent as you are walking and trees start to pop up on the horizon. The bushes and the rest of the environment lay motionless as you move through them, not even a wind sway is seen. The character graphics are also not very good. You will see a constant stream of Vietcong that seem to have just hopped out of the cloning machine and they all have the same 4 phrase vocabulary it seems.
The game does have a large amount of blood and body counts, mostly because the Vietcong seem to be a never-ending stream of people. The rest of the game is just boring. Vietnam doesn’t even feel like a jungle environment most of the time and it doesn’t help get you into the game very much.
The sound and music are good, it’s just that the voiceovers and cutscenes are too over-the-top for this game. You’ll hear swear words coming out of the soldier’s mouths at a steady stream. Both 4-letter words are used at great length. In the game this isn’t so bad and paints a semi-realistic feeling around it. Once you get into the cutscenes though things go straight into the toilet. The voiceovers have no feelings behind the words they are saying. The swear words that pass out of their mouths have no power because they say them so nonchalantly. Even the Vietcong voiceovers are bad. English with an Asian accent is just not the right thing to do. They should have had Vietnamese language with a subtitle, but that’s just me.
The cutscenes are also extremely violent. One of the worst ones I saw was where a soldier tied a prostitute to a bed in the upright position, beat her up and ended up slicing her throat. Yeah, realism at its best I tell you.
Control is horrendous in this game. Remember Halo and how easy it was to get the hang of the controls and how relatively smooth the aiming was even with the Xbox controller and not a mouse and keyboard in front of you? Well, this game eliminates the ease of aiming totally and you find yourself trying to aim to take down the steady stream of Vietcong while also trying to fulfill your objectives that will often put you through the stream of Vietcong. Don’t mind your fellow soldiers, because they are just going to stay behind and eliminate some of the Vietcong that come toward them. They seem to be rather superhuman as it doesn’t seem the friendly fire ever dies unless they bite it in a cutscene.
The control is just way too loose in this game to be any fun. This game tries so hard to be a good 3rd person wartime game that it totally forgot about the ease of control along with it.
This game is 13 missions long and you will find that you will blow through it in no time. Even though the controls suck you can still blow your way through the Vietcong to your objectives at the current moment. There are a myriad of problems with this game though.
First up is the control I talked about above, which ties into a lot of your objectives. You have to get good with the loose aiming mechanism in order to make it through the never-ending Vietcong in order to get to your destination. You are lucky that your health replenishes as you are just standing around, although once again this is not very realistic. However it does help you beat this game because I couldn’t imagine getting through it when you have no cover support by your troops and you basically become a one man army trying to finish the objectives.
The AI on both sides of the conflict are also very bad. The Vietcong basically have 3 things they do. They either run straight for you and your teammates, stop and just stand there waiting for you to shoot them or they will stop and start shooting. They do not take cover in order to stay away from fire. Truth is they don’t have to because there will be a lot more Vietcong right behind them after you get done with this wave.
On your side of the battle the AI also sucks. Your troop will usually just stand around and shoot at the Vietcong while you are left trying to finish the current objectives. Early on in the game you have to go into bunkers and blow some C4 to block the Vietcong from coming out. In order to get into the bunker you have to go through waves of Vietcong, but the problem is that for the most part you are all alone and have to take them out yourself. Yep, the troop pretty much stays back while you do all the dirty work. The least they could do is send one or two men with me to help cover me as I infiltrate the bunkers.
Another major problem are the cutscenes. They are not done very well, with lips not matching the words coming out of their mouths most of the time. The cutscenes presented in this game are very violent and are curse filled to the point that the game treats itself as trying to be too realistic and ending up being much more fiction than fact.
The final problem is that this game just isn’t very fun. You will find out very quickly after you start that this game is not all it could be and can’t stand up to the likes of other war games like the Medal of Honor series even though it is set in a different time and war.
For $50 you should be getting more bang for your buck. If you must try all the Vietnam games that are out there, go and rent this game. With this game not having any Xbox Live play it makes it that much more worthless. Granted, I have no idea how they could implement it or how fun it would be, but the absence is noted. Most of the missions take 15-30 minutes to complete, so it isn’t even worth the money to buy it.