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The most dangerous monsters aren’t hostile life forms, anomalous entities, or ravenous creatures, they are the greedy corporates who wish to control them to further their own agenda. If you’ve ever heard of the collaborative-writing wiki called SCP or have seen the movie Cabin in the Woods, you might have some idea of what I’m talking about. Don’t you want to stop that? Don’t you want to put an end to these devious companies who lie to us with a straight face, burn our tax dollars for their unethical projects in the name of science, and treat human life as a casualty data on a spreadsheet? If so, then Trepang2 (Trepang squared) is all you need. And no, there is no Trepang1 unless you want to learn about a type of Sea Cucumbers harvested via a method called ‘trepanging’.

Trepang2 is a gory, action-packed, frantic FPS reminiscent of F.E.A.R. Developed by Trepang Studios and published by Team17, Trepang2 was ‘unleashed’ on June 2023.

From the Rabbit Hole, into a Rabbit Hole

You’re Subject 106, a Bonafide badass whose reputation precedes you. The Horizon-run Alaskan Black Site where you’re kept imprisoned fears you and would throw anything at you to stop you from escaping. But escape you’ll, on a visceral path of uncaged carnage of blood and internal organs. After an insider uncuffs you, you’re free to riddle anything that moves with red-hot lead.

Throughout the facility, you’ll come across various phones, desktops, and files—intel that provide tidbits of lore of the Black Site including hinting at what you are and why you were there. On the surface, it might look like a glorified prison where Horizon Corporation runs unethical tests on human subjects (mostly ex-criminals), but things get uglier down the river.

After you’re extracted by a Task Force sent by a clandestine syndicate, you’re given the only mission that you’ll follow through the end of the campaign—take down Horizon Corporation. And being the supersoldier you are, your campaign will take you to the far reaches of our planet, to various other black sites, labs, and secret cults run by Horizon, researching spooky, anomalous entities, grotesque extradimensional creatures, sentient biocomputers and what not. The mandate of the Task Force—none of these should exist on our planet (so I guess they’re the good guys). But morality is the last thing you’ll pay attention to in Trepang2 when controlling a trigger-happy supersoldier who can turn invisible and slow down time for a while.

The lore items are plenty to create a perfect SCP-style game where special squads are sent into excursion sites to subdue containment breaches (kind of like Rainbow Six: Extraction). Like you’ll find an abandoned Soviet-era excavation site where they were studying an anomalous crystal, but then creepy stuff happened, and it was shut down until it was reponed by Horizon. But the downside is Trepang2  doesn’t lean into its world much. The nightmarish stuff (including a creepy homage to The Backrooms meme) you encounter is limited to their respective levels only and is never talked about later. It’s like each mission is a standalone segment connected by an overarching plot that Horizon Corporation must be taken down at all costs. Many missions in Trepang2  excel good at building an eerie atmosphere, but it soon segues back into the gory-military shooter it is.

At times, the corporation’s Jeff Bezos lookalike CEO will chide you on your radio, even making it seem that they are the victims, and the syndicate is to blame for everything. But Subject 106 is a mute protagonist who talks via pressed trigger and muzzle flashes, so it doesn’t matter whether you’re good or bad. In fact, right after you join the Task Force, you’ll get access to the dossiers of some High-Value Targets which include scientists, cult leaders on Horizon’s payroll, Spec Ops, demolition experts, snipers, paramedics etc. Few of the soldier’s bio will seem like they are sincere and honest people and really believe Horizon is doing good for the world. Some of them will pop up in the main campaign, some in the side missions, and some when you replay certain missions at higher difficulty. Few of those characters are actually memorable judging solely by their voice lines—their cockiness which is soon replaced by anger and frustration as you literally shred through their minions in your bloodthirsty crusade.

Kill, KILL, K I L L!

Trepang2 is the kind of FPS that is inspired by a different style of shooter; it is closer to F.E.A.R than say DOOM or Ultrakill. True there’s no character like F.E.A.R‘s Alma Wade, but Trepang2 has its own gimmicky jump scares that are more comedic than fear-inducing (no pun intended). And before you know it, you’re back to painting corridors in dark blood and flying limbs as you slide and blast through anything and everything. The combat is so kinetic that you’ll instantly see your reaction time improve by manifolds! Hit the slow-mo button and see sparks, debris, and torn limbs, all fly across the rooms in a gory splatter of thick black blood John Woo style!

Besides the slow-mo, you have the grab mechanics that let you use a human enemy as a shield, after which you can either kill or throw, or throw him after pulling out his grenade pin. The last one is a literal game changer especially when the enemies surround you. Simply grab one, pull out his grenade pin, and throw him into the bunch to take down multiple enemies. But the downside is, the enemy’s back has to be facing you for you to grab. For this, you’ve to sneak up behind, and if that isn’t possible when you’re in the middle of a firefight, you can powerslide sending him flying backward, after which you can grab him and start your manslaughter. This tackle-sliding mechanic is crucial for taking down heavy enemies with riot shields..

And the gunplay, oomph! Pure orgasm, or should I say ‘gungasm’! The crunchy physics, and the unbridled brutality of sheer firepower, especially that of the mighty SPAS-12, nails the point home as to why Horizon had you captured in the first place How come were they able to capture is another question, but the story had to start somewhere. The shotgun is a direct throwback to F.E.A.R, and coupled with a drop-kick mechanic that you can use to rebound off enemies into the air, I was transported back to my school days when I was doing the same thing in F.E.A.R. Even though the pistol is quite powerful, and equipped with a silencer, you can make short work of many enemies except for bosses if you’re going for stealth (stealth is optional, if you know what I mean). Each weapon you pick up on the field gets unlocked back the base except for the powerful ones like grenade launchers.

Besides the numerous intel files, you’ll also find weapon parts like silencers, scopes, etc. that let you customize them at specific weapon customization crates. Halfway through the main campaign, you’ll randomly stumble upon a serum that lets you Dual Wield identical weapons. This means now you can brandish two shotguns, pistols, and assault rifles. After that… well, hell breaks loose! The only tradeoffs are accuracy and increased reload times. Similarly, during your weapon customization, the description shows each part’s pros and cons like better damage but increased recoil or reload, etc. So, a slight management routine is there, which is also due to the fact that you can carry only two weapons and only one type of throwable (flashbangs, grenades, knives, etc.). I just wish we had thermite grenades. Equip your SPAS-12 with Dragon’s Breath ammo and you can literally recreate the top-down shootout scene from John Wick 4!

Bosses—just tougher target practice

Apart from the terrifying Moth Man on the first mission assigned by the Task Force, bosses are primarily human HVTs, some of which have superhuman strength. Save for the Moth Man, every boss will call upon their minions at half health. And that’s why it is of utmost importance to stay mobile all the time because as many as 20 or 30 people will be flanking you, coordinating and communicating your position to one another, basically making taking cover absolutely useless. So, sprint, slide, and rebound into health packs, ammo, and armor plates that enemies drop when killed while your slow-mo meter builds up in the background. The more consecutive kills you rack up, the longer you can keep the meter running. And every time to take down an HVT, your Quartermaster will comment on your sheer badassery back at the HQ.

Since Trepang2‘s campaign is short—six main and six side missions—some of the bosses appear when you repeat a level at higher difficulties. This is important if you want to unlock all cheats and gags like Infinite Ammo, Big Head mode, squeaky enemy voice, etc.

Bloodshot Levels

For a frantic FPS focusing on uncaged carnage, it’s no surprise that the levels are linear consisting of pretty basic and similar-looking interiors spread throughout. Trepang2′s main focus is on open spaces that allow you to add the adjectives ‘limbless’ and ‘headless’ to your already faceless enemies; you’ll have enough space to take them down from any direction. Some of the best levels include an airplane crash site, an abandoned cabin that was hiding an extradimensional entity in an underground bunker, a lab with a huge containment breach resulting in the creation of zombies, etc. At certain points, other members of the Task Force will back you up by dropping supplies or deploying for support which really makes you feel like being part of a team, all of them accompanying you on your missions right from the start.

Visuals, Sound and Performance

The visuals are serviceable, but the real deal is the timed slow-mo dilation effect where the world around you slows down in a greyish focus. Brightly lit corridors and hallways turn into crude amalgamations of dust, sparks, and pulpy dark liquid while the enemies’ screams turn into muffled cries. You can even see the bullet trails and shockwaves from detonating grenades like you’re in The Matrix. It’s just like the Bullet Time effect from the Max Payne series.

All this mad action coupled with an absolute banger heavy metal playlist will turn you into a Death Incarnate. And don’t worry about the performance. You’ll experience zero stutters at all.

Real Talk

For an indie studio, it’s hard to stand against popular FPS like Call of Duty or DOOM. Not to mention, we’re living in an era where almost every casual gamer is hoping to competitive shooters more than single players. However, Trepang Studios has surpassed all expectations with their debut game and that’s why currently Trepang2  is sitting at Overwhelmingly Positive reviews on Steam. A high-octane shooter, Trepang2 is a spiritual successor to F.E.A.R while still having its own distinct identity. In an era of obnoxious realism and people’s obsession with hyper-realistic graphics, Trepang2 is the most ‘video gamey’ videogame I’ve played in a while which is what videogames should strive for.


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