Friday, May 8, 2009

Shellshock 2: Blood Trails

Developer: Rebellion Developments
Publisher: Eidos
Release Date: Feb. 24, 2009
Systems: PS3 (reviewed), Xbox 360, PC
ESRB Rating: M

In a nutshell: War is hell ... to play.

0:00 This kind of Vietnam War shooter usually isn't my cup of tea, but I'm trying real hard to broaden my horizons here, so I figured I'd give it a rental.

0:01 The preview screen on the PlayStation 3 menu is full of ambient war sounds -- gunshots, vague screaming, bombs going off, etc. It's got me on edge already, but not really in a good way.

0:02 The music accompanying the Rebellion logo is so loud I swear it's going to break my speakers. Then a generic title screen with some red blood cells floating around in plasma in the background.

0:03 "Fall of '69, and I'm on a bird into 'Nam, drafted like the rest of these grunts. We've fucked up this war and lost so many kids and now it's my turn. Some dickwad sergeant tells me I'm important; he's given me a special assignment at the border. The border of Hell is still Hell. I ain't even been so scared." And the award for best use of the word "dickwad" in horrible game writing goes to...

0:04 Just like that, I'm thrown roughly into a first-person view of a ratty hospital. A voiceover version of my character reminisces about the war from his position in the future. "Man up, pussy, and listen to Griffin. Maybe today you'll become a man," says a guide in fatigues. Another soldier gives me 20cc of some mystery drug. My future narrator goes on about Whiteknight, which I didn't know a thing about at the time. In the background, explosions and screaming. To my left, someone writhing on a stretcher.

0:07 The one guy who survived seeing Whiteknight (who/whatever he/it is) is tied down to a bed. He's my brother, Cal, screaming, badly bloodied and wearing an eye-patch. "Don'tcha recognize him, f**ko?" says my companion. "Or don't you remember what kin smells like?" Cal breaks one of his bonds and reaches for me. "Get the tranq gun," says my companion as he runs off. Some hazy red visions, then everything goes black. Boy, they're really throwing a lot of stuff out there really quickly.



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