It’s hard for first person shooters to not be overshadowed by large franchises like Call of Duty or Battlefield nowadays, especially if they’re not doing anything different to stand out. Well indie developer Trepang Studios has chosen to take on such a daunting task with their debut project Trepang2, a high octane first person shooter that effortlessly blends in supernatural horror elements and satisfying combat. No this isn’t the sequel to Trepang, because there isn’t even a game called Trepang, but instead you can see this as Trepang Squared, whatever that means.
Don’t go into this game thinking it’s like any other generic first person shooter, because it isn’t. Trepang2 clearly takes heavy inspiration from F.E.A.R., a first-person shooter psychological horror game from back in 2005, as it also combines heavy horror elements with chaotic gunplay. Here you play as Subject 106, a prisoner given the chance of freedom after being held captive by a group of elite operatives. What follows is a narrative that doesn’t quite break any new grounds, but does provide an interesting enough plot to keep you engaged until the end. An evil company known as the Horizon Corporation has been conducting super soldier experiments to the point where humans begin to mutate into supernatural zombies. Sounds a little like Resident Evil right?
Missions are accepted at your base of operations after you escape your prison, which acts as a central hub area where you can also go into a practice firing range and even customize your clothing. I always found it kind of odd that first person games even offer this considering you can’t see your own body 99% of the time. There are a total of 6 main story missions and 6 side quests, which doesn’t sound like too much, but each level takes you through a variety of fleshed out environments and maps. I appreciate how the game even gives you backup at certain points, such as pilots dropping you supplies and soldiers deploying in for support, making you feel like you are part of a team.
Get ready for tons of blood and guts, because Trepang2 doesn’t shy away from driving home the horror aspect of its experience, but what really hits the home run is the game’s excellent atmosphere building and world design. Pitch dark corridors and even an instance of the infamous Backrooms combine to make an incredibly immersive presentation. Scripted horror sequences also provide a nice change of pace from the constant chaos of shooting, but I wouldn’t say the game introduces anything groundbreakingly scary that its inspirations haven’t already done before.
Gunplay in Trepang2 is where the game truly shines, as it’s smooth, responsive, and incredibly satisfying. A wide arsenal of deadly tools are at your disposal, ranging from pistols and submachine guns to assault rifles and shotguns. Shots are weighty and impactful, making each bullet feel deliberate and meaningful. My personal favorite, the SPAS-12 shotgun, never fails to make close quarters combat feel visceral and badass. In each level you can find various attachments that provide an impressive amount of customization. Don’t worry, there are grenades and trip mines too, for those who are wondering.
The game provides plenty of opportunities for tactical gameplay, allowing you to approach combat in different ways. As a super soldier, you’re equipped with more than just plain old guns, because you have the ability to slow down time and turn yourself invisible too! The Focus and Cloak abilities are mapped conveniently to the Q and E key, whereas movement is mapped to the traditional WASD keys. You are also capable of sliding on the floor to trip through riot shield enemies as well as sneak up on them and hold them in a chokehold hostage position. Melee combat includes punching and kicking, along with some other cool abilities that I won’t spoil. Whether you want to take it stealthily or go in guns ablaze, Trepang2 has got you covered on all fronts.
While it might seem like a high budget triple A first person shooter project, Trepang2 is actually an indie game created by a small team of clearly talented developers. I was pleasantly surprised to see how polished and technically sound the game is, especially when running it on my ancient PC with a 1070 GPU. The game runs at a solid 60 frames per second with fast load times and no stuttering. Graphics don’t look too shabby either! This is not to say there are no bugs or technical shortcomings, because the game hard-crashed on me a handful of times and had plenty of clipping and ragdolling issues.
At a humble $29.99, Trepang2 offers around 5-8 hours of campaign gameplay depending on the chosen difficulty and your skill level. The game offers plenty of difficulty options, ranging from easy and normal to “Extreme” and “Rage Mode”, and even has a menu for unlockable cheats for replayability. These include infinite ammo, invisibility, or focus time that can be unlocked by clearing different objectives first. Those looking for some extra game time will be delighted to hear that there’s an infinite horde mode and combat simulator as well. Note that this is a single player only game, although it would’ve been cool if there was cooperative play.
Trepang Studios knew exactly what type of game they were trying to make from the start, and they more than succeeded in doing so. Despite a few technical hiccups, Trepang2 is an absolute banger from start to finish, providing exquisite gunplay and an intricate narrative. If you're looking for an adrenaline-fueled and horror-inducing shooter that keeps you on the edge of your seat, look no further because Trepang2 has got it all.