Trepang2 review – an ultra-violently good time

Trepang2 review – an ultra-violently good time
Finlay Cattanach Updated on by

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Trepang2 is a huge breath of fresh air in a stale genre. Ultra-violent action FPS shooters have seen something of a lull in recent years – entries such as Ultrakill and Amid Evil have kept it alive, but the more the merrier, right? Into this mess comes Trepang Studios’ new release, an ultra-violent FPS action shooter inspired by its forerunners like Doom and Wolfenstein, yet set apart from them entirely.

When you first drop into Trepang2, one thing will become quickly apparent: this isn’t just a mindless shooter, this is a game that embraces all the best extremes of its genre, and balances it against narrative, character, and intrigue.

Trepang2 review: Subject 106 sneaks up behind an enemy to grab them.

You play as Subject 106, an amnesiac supersoldier who escapes a secure prison facility owned by the Horizon Corporation. 106 far outclasses any standard fighter, and through a mixture of stealth and high-octane combat, you’ll burn a path of fire across Horizon’s many facilities in your war to take down the maniacal organisation.

Stealth is the first core mechanic introduced, as you’re handcuffed for the first section of the game. It’s quick to learn and hard to master, especially on higher difficulties. Crouching, turning off your flashlight, and hiding in shadow are all straightforward ways to hide your presence here. However, what’s more interesting is the ability to create new shadows by shooting out lights with suppressed weapons, incorporating level design into your approach. Then there’s the personal cloaking device, which is immensely helpful. It only lasts for a moment, but as a way to break enemy line-of-sight or move through sections otherwise impassable without a firefight, its versatility makes it fit seamlessly within the rest of the gameplay.

Trepang2 review: Subject 106 blows up a group of enemies attacking from a field using a grenade launcher.

The counterpart to stealth is where the ultra-violence shines. Combat in Trepang2 isn’t so original that there’s no other game like it, but it’s by far the best execution of the style in recent memory. There are various weapons to unlock, each uniquely brutal. Pistols are perfect for emulating John Wick style headshots, the DMR is ideal for taking down enemies from distance, and the shotgun is wildly effective for eviscerating opponents who are getting a little too intimate. Meanwhile, the grenade launcher is the epitome of explosive. What’s most important though is that all of these weapons handle excellently. They’re easy to use, they’re effective, and the result of this is that they’re very, very fun.

Trepang2 does an excellent job at making you feel truly powerful. The smooth sliding and rapid movement combine to send you hurtling through levels as a proficient soldier, capable of anything. The cherry on top is the final combat mechanic: Focus. Focus is a time-limited ability like cloaking that’ll regenerate over time when not in use. While you’re focused, time slows down, with you maintaining an edge in speed over your opponents. With focus active, you can score dozens of lethal hits in moments, revelling in the slow-motion spectacle of viscera as you churn through enemies before they can even react. It is phenomenally satisfying, and taken in concert with the rest of stealth and combat, extremely fun.

Trepang2 review: Subject 106 finds a mysterious body with a golden token on it.

The flawless execution of its core mechanics would be enough to make Trepang2 a satisfactory experience, but it’s elevated far further by the story, which enforces tone and atmosphere from the very start. A secure corporate compound, a supersoldier, shadow, and blood. The opening mission alone succeeds in creating a relatively grounded, gritty game. But then you find a mysterious corpse in a room mid-way through the level, impaled by their own katana. Then you pick up a strange golden token from their corpse, coincidentally similar in design to the John Wick franchises’ Blood Marks. What follows is a strange little drone that acts like a save point, but reveals scatterings of cryptic messages from an unknown sender. It’s the first of many, many moments that expand a sense of intrigue, with the largest questions not unravelling into answers until the very end.

Alongside that story is a beautifully designed world. The second mission, The Pandora Institute shows off a lavish and stylistic modern complex, before descending into a grim, egregore-filled nightmare in the lower levels. After that, Jorvik Castle introduces a stately setting in which to shed blood, juxtaposing nicely with the gun-wielding cultists that patrol its halls. Every mission throughout the game sustains this high calibre of quality. They feel uniquely characterised by their varied aesthetics, but unified by the practicality of their layout. While balancing a sense of open space and exploration, each area maintains a coherent linearity that makes them easy to navigate and stops the missions from dragging on.

Trepang2 review: Subject 106 moves through a quiet, cozily lit lounge in the Pandora Institute.

Pacing is maintained through more than just level design though. Every mission is well-considered, and none overstay their welcome. Yet each mission inches the intrigue forward, those mysterious drones appearing over and over with warnings, telling you to “Break The Cycle”. Every big antagonist gets the space they need to breathe, too.

You’ll fight many Trepang2 bosses too, another area where the game excels. Each boss you’ll encounter feels unique, and cleverly designed. The first encounter, Mothman, pushes you to utilise arena design to your advantage to win. The Patriarch deepens the mystery of the narrative once he reveals he’s a fellow super soldier, also carrying one of those gold tokens. Subject 83 embodies the horror atmosphere of their associated mission with its eerie visual and sound design. All these bosses have something special to offer, and fit into place perfectly, even as the game escalates along unexpected vectors.

Trepang2 review: The Patriarch monologues from his burning throne.

Minor spoilers come in this next section, so skip below to the following paragraph if you want to go in as blind as possible.

Throughout the side and main missions in Trepang2, the game slowly spirals from relatively grounded territory into the unexplainable. As the scope of the game evolves, you’ll fight digital ghosts, blow up an alien spacecraft, and even visit The Backrooms (yes, really). Yet none of this ever feels jarring, instead synchronising with the immersive atmosphere of the game, and shocking the player in the best ways possible.

Even when missions are more grounded than this, they still provide worthwhile engagement. The Gunnarson Complex and Iron Dragon Data Centre side missions are good examples. Both of these utilise the game’s approach to characterisation through dialogue expertly, enhancing it with intel – written notes, emails, etc – that you’ll find scattered around. Horizon’s high-value targets melting down over the tannoy as you plough through their men is pretty funny, but each of them still feels distinct.

Trepang2 review: Subject 106 finds a group of dead researchers in the server room basement of a hidden Horizon facility.

Your Syndicate comrades might be physically closer, but they too interact through dialogue. Your pilot, Raven, and The Quartermaster, always have some thoughts to share before and after missions. All that said though, the less interactive approach still leaves something to be desire. It makes sense in light of the total narrative and fits the game’s tone just as it needs to, but deeper, richer character interactions like those seen in the cast of Wolfenstein: New World Order could have still worked, and would have elevated the game yet further.

We won’t spoil the game’s ending here, but with pacing, story, level and boss design, visuals and gameplay firing on all cylinders right until the credits roll, we can certainly say that it’s worth it. The plot twists and turns, moral grey flares, and you’re left with a sense of satisfaction, as well as sadness that the game is over. There is more though, with the game’s host of modifiers, cheats, and difficulty settings creating enough customisation to promote replayability.

Trepang2 review Subject 106 storms the main bridge as the assault on Horizon HQ begins.

Trepang2 isn’t a long game, nor is it particularly philosophical. This is a game that took inspiration from the ultra-violent, action-fuelled, stealth-packed forebearers of the genre, and told its own story. A tight narrative that snakes and twists in the best ways possible, perfect pacing, and immensely satisfying gunplay that gives you a true sense of super soldier status all work synergistically to create a deeply fulfilling and fun experience. It could be far longer and still not outstay its welcome. More missions, deeper character interactions and dynamics, and more time spent in this fascinating world would elevate this game to a masterpiece. As it stands though, it is more than worth the money, and should there be a Trepang3 (Trepang2 2?) one day, we’ll be on it from day one.

Trepang2 review: Subject 106 overlooks the Jorvik Castle courtyard while holding a DMR.


Trepang2 is an excellent ultra-violent shooter that balances intensely satisfying combat and stealth gameplay with a tight, engaging narrative full of mystery. With perfect pacing, immersive boss fights and a thought-provoking ending, it achieves everything it aims for with the precision and technique of a super soldier.
9 Fluid, intuitive, highly immersive combat gameplay Excellent level design both visually and mechanically A tight, interesting narrative with strong pacing and excellent intrigue Character interactions lack depth and interactivity, and are just scripted dialogue