Monolith Productions’ 2005 shooter FEAR might just be the greatest shooter ever made. Featuring lightning-fast movement, excellent ambiance, hyper-intelligent AI, and an outstanding arsenal, it’s a sheer blast from start to end with barely any dull moments. Way ahead of the curve when it came out 14 years ago, not even the sequels to the game were able to accurately recapture the magic Monolith had with the original. There may finally be some hope, though.
From out of the shadows enters Trepang2. Developed by the aptly named Trepang Studios, this new indie shooter bears a striking resemblance to FEAR. It may be lacking in the supernatural horror elements, but the aesthetic, guns, and combat basically scream “INSPIRED BY FEAR!” There’s even the slow-motion ability that FEAR’s point man had.
A demo is currently available on Steam and IndieDB that gives you a prologue to the story and a horde mode. In it, you’ll get a taste of Trepang2’s movement, arsenal, and enemy AI. This is perhaps the only area where Trepang2 falters compared to its inspiration, though it does an absolutely wonderful job at imitation.
The most striking thing about Trepang2 is just how violent the game is. After slow-mo sliding into an enemy, you can whip out a shotgun and turn them into a bloody mist of intestines and body parts. FEAR had a similar fixation on violence (which stemmed from its Hong Kong action film inspirations), but this is taken to an entirely different level.
What I enjoy most is just how versatile the combat feels. Because of how shooting even the smallest bit of the environment will result in debris spraying around, you truly get a sensation of being in an actual environment. Monolith nailed that same aspect with FEAR and I swear that’s the last time I’ll bring up that game.
Still, it’s hard not to get excited about the idea of a possible successor to Monolith’s classic. For some reason, military shooters dominated the market for nearly a decade and still have a strong presence in modern gaming. It’s about time we got back to more zany, crazy, off-the-wall action that plays up the video game aspects of video games.
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