Review – Trepang2

The past few years have been kind to us with the amount of retro-inspired releases that have just blown us away. Signalis successfully recaptured the old-school survival horror, New Blood Interactive has been killing it, with games like Dusk and Amid Evil taking us back to the boomer shooters with a slightly more modern feel. I could go on with titles like Prodeus, and of course, DOOM and DOOM Eternal.

However, there is one area that has been somewhat unexplored so far, and that’s the Half-Life era of small, sandbox-like environments. Shooters that allowed you to explore its levels with a higher degree of interactivity. In comes a passionate team creating what I’ve been looking forward to for a while now. A true successor to one of my favourite shooters: the criminally overlooked F.E.A.R.

Trepang2 Enemies

Finally. A new spiritual successor to F.E.A.R.

In Trepang2, you play as a soldier called “Operator 106”, whose task force is dedicated to stopping supernatural threats and other experiments haunting the planet. The Operator himself was part of said experimentations, which gifted him with enhanced abilities. At least, that’s what I could get from it, that was the gist of it. The story itself isn’t worth bothering, to be fair, and there’s nothing really here of substance to pay attention to. It’s just an excuse to send you to a variety of locations and shoot things.

Trepang2 takes that core combat of F.E.A.R. and dials it up to eleven. It’s an ultra-fast-paced shooter, just how I like it, yet it retains a tactical edge when playing on higher difficulties, which I would highly recommend doing so. As a soldier that has been enhanced through some experiments, you are much stronger and faster than your regular enemies, with enhanced reflexes and the ability to go invisible for a few seconds. Whilst there is a very light stealth aspect added to the gameplay, you will rarely be using it to take down enemies from the shadows. Instead, cloaking becomes a critical part of the gameplay loop as you swiftly move around the environment, going in and out of combat to reposition.

Weapons feel absolutely awesome to use as well. You’ve got a pretty standard variety of pistols, shotguns, assault rifles and the like, but they all feel pretty great to use. My favourite of which being the Shotgun, with its dragon’s breath rounds absolutely annihilating enemy hordes like that one incredible scene from John Wick 4. In fact, this is what Trepang2 really does best: taking first-person combat and amping things up to put you inside of an action move. This is in part due to the second ability you have at your disposal. As part of the enhanced reflexes, you are able to slow down time. This allows you to move through the environments quickly and pick off enemies at high speed with ease, reacting to threats almost instantaneously.

Trepang2 dual weapons

Oh yeah. There’s dual wielding as well!

On top of this, you will be able to slide in any direction around the environment, dodging bullets, and closing in distances in the process. Performing melee attacks is what builds up your reflex gauge allowing you to use more slow-motion attacks. It actively encourages you to play aggressively. You’ve got your standard melee attacks but, by sprinting at guards and jumping, you will be able to kick them back and launch yourself into the air for some truly badass combos. By stunning an enemy, you will also be able to grab them as a human shield, pull a pin on their grenades and send them back to their teammates. Trepang2‘s core gameplay loop is about combining your enhanced mobility, cloaking, and melee effectively.

When Trepang2 isn’t trying to be the most badass shooter on the market, it does begin to stumble a little bit. As I said earlier, the story isn’t really great, but it does feature some supernatural elements at the very least. Unfortunately, the horror falls flat as I found these moments to be some of the weakest, with hilariously bad jump scares that just never landed and slowed the game to a crawl. The horror worked in the original F.E.A.R. because it built up to it with a great central mystery and antagonist. Finally, boss fights just fell short as well, often coming down to dull bullet sponges with the occasional additional phase.

Thankfully, whilst there are elements that just don’t work, Trepang2 quickly builds itself back up with some great sandbox-like arenas, letting you go just absolutely wild and experiment. The development team’s dedication to making fun games is pretty evident with the fact there’s a cheat menu right on the main menu.

Trepang2 shotgun

I love me a good shotgun.

Unfortunately, Trepang2 doesn’t look that great and is in fact rather boring. It’s not that it looks bad, but rather just bland. Environments whilst plenty detailed just lack much originality and visibility for that matter, whilst there can be some cooler designs I found the supernatural aspects to be quite dull. Often times looks more like stock assets than anything interesting. Where the visuals do start to shine is during combat as the arenas start being pelted with blood, explosions and a lot of gunfire.

Similarly, the sound design is also a bit of a mixed bag. Whilst the gun sounds and soundtrack do a great job of immersing you in the moment-to-moment gameplay, the voice acting is pretty bad, and on a huge amount of occasions, sound effects are just a bit buggy, with weapons, enemy heads or whatever getting stuck in walls they will make an awful lot of racket. It’s enough to become an annoyance.

Trepang2 does exactly what it needs to do. It takes the ultra fast-paced and epic combat last seen in F.E.A.R., and dials that up even further. The game does features some of the best first-person combat I have seen since the original F.E.A.R. in terms grounded environments and glorious amounts of destruction. Whilst it does have some issues, Trepang2 dedicates itself to just being a huge amount of fun with as little baggage as possible, and I can gladly say it succeeded at that.


Graphics: 6.0

Trepang2 features dull environments. Thankfully, flashy effects and particles during combat sections improve the otherwise unimpressive visuals.

Gameplay: 9.0

Strong core combat that is fast, fluid, and makes you feel like an absolute badass. Though weak boss fights do hold it back.

Sound: 6.0

The buggy sound effects bring down what is an otherwise decent sound department, with a good soundtrack and gun sounds. Voice acting isn’t very good, either.

Fun Factor: 9.0

The F.E.A.R. successor we’ve been waiting for. Nothing more than just an absolutely epic shooting experience.

Final Verdict: 8.5

Trepang2 is available now on PC.

Reviewed on PC with an RTX 4070, Ryzen 5 3600X and 16GB RAM. Installed on SSD.

A copy of Trepang2 was provided by the publisher.