For a small period of time, game developers left the World War II period for their games riding the wave that was created by Call of Duty and Medal of Honor, and naturally went to the next major war: the Vietnam War. Unlike the WWII games, the Vietnam War games did not start a new trend. Instead, it reminded us the horrors of that war, as well as the horrors of some bad gameplay. Shellshock 2 is the sequel to the PC game Shellshock Nam '67.
Trying to be a mix of Apocalypse Now and Jacob's Ladder, Shellshock 2 is about a Special Ops soldier that goes into the Vietnam War and given an assignment to find the whereabouts of Whiteknight. There was a special ops group that was bringing back Whiteknight but mysteriously disappeared except for one soldier, our hero's brother Cal. Devoid of any humanity, Cal was restrained, but escaped and began killing whoever came in his way with the exception of Walker. Cal escapes from the US military and goes deep into the jungle and Walker sets out to both find this Whiteknight and his brother which seem to one in the same.
When you look up info on Shellshock 2, you'll see the term "FPS survival horror". As a fan of survival horror, this game has little on the horror and nothing special on the FPS side. Controls are pretty standard with using a trigger to fire, and you can use the other trigger to aim with the iron sights. Our hero rejuvenates health on his own, and can take quite a bit of damage before needing to get cover to heal. And that's about it. Your weaponry is limited to what you find on enemies and in some spots where ammo was left. The majority of the time, you'll be using the enemy's AK-47 or the American M-16. There will be plenty of weapons available but you're stuck carrying only one melee, one pistol, and one rifle/shotgun/machine gun. To throw in a bit of survival horror in there, you can only carry so much ammo with you. It's the equivalent of a fully loaded rifle and three magazines causing you to leave behind enough ammo to arm a whole army.
The only unique aspect of the gameplay is Quick Time Events. I find it funny that QTE is so well known now but it was first given a name in Shenmue, a game barely played. Anyways, these QTE events come in different forms. First off, some of the enemies will come right up to you and grab your weapon. This begins an on screen struggle and buttons on the screen will appear. There are three buttons to press and it will be in random order. At this point, you only have so much time to click the right buttons and you will have to do three different combinations. Take to long or keep pressing the wrong buttons, you'll fail and die. Do it just right and you'll kill the enemy in various ways. With a gun in hand, you have a choice, after you enter the combinations, of how to kill the enemy. Click on the left or right trigger will let you kill the enemy with the butt of your gun or by a headshot. The other QTE events happen throughout a level at different time and in different ways. In these cases, you will only need to press one button instead of a combination. These events include getting rid of an enemy grenade, evading traps set by the enemy, and so on. Unlike the QTE where you struggle with an enemy, these QTE emphasize the "quick" and have a much smaller window of time to be successful. These quicker one button sequences usually happen when there are traps in the area.
Unfortunately, the graphics are pretty bland. From the character models to the environments, there is nothing exceptional or even noteworthy. It reminds me of a game from last gen that was given a quick upgrade rather than a whole overhaul of the graphics. That goes double for the audio. The music is standard with some "haunting" music when facing off against the Infected. Voice acting is pretty bland without much emotion given, and there was also a futile attempt to recreate the drill instructor of Full Metal Jacket.
At about 8-10 hours, at most, to finish the game, there is simply no reason to even play through the game again. Unfortunately this game joins the piles of other failed Vietnam games. Even the addition of horror didn't help the game because it's not that scary. You'll jump here and there, but the developers simply didn't delve deep enough to try and freak you out. There are these wannabe zombies that all look alike so they're no help. With forgettable graphics, average gameplay, and horror that's not that horrifying, Shellshock 2: Blood Trails should be avoided unless you're really desperate for a little scare here and there or you're intent to play a Vietnam game no matter what.