I don’t know if you all have noticed this but it looks like there has been a shift in the gaming industry. From the overwhelming amount of World War II games are now all becoming Vietnam games. An interesting trend that really hasn’t brought any games that have really caught the markets eye. Now Eidos has teamed up with Guerrilla Games to bring us their own Vietnam War game in Shellshock: Nam ’67 for the Xbox. Is this the game that brings life to Vietnam War games?
If you haven’t noticed every game has their own niche, their own feature that is supposed to separate it from all other games on the market. In Shellshock: Nam ’67, its niche is being ultra realistic, which is supposed to bring you back in the days of Nam, showing you all of the violence that took place during the war.
You start the game right away as a rookie with no tutorial whatsoever but instead just thrown right into the action of the game. This isn’t something we see very often in other third person shooters, but I guess they figured most people would figure it out along the way. The whole point behind the storyline is for your soldier to level up and to move up the ranks. Well this is all fine and dandy, "if", and that is a big if, it had an impact on the game. But unfortunately this has little to no impact on the game, and therefore the storyline seems more like it was just thrown in there for marketing purposes rather then to improve the gameplay experience.
When you think about the Vietnam War in a 100% video game standpoint you get the idea that, yea this would make for a great video game. In Shellshock: Nam ’67 you go through thirteen different levels, which have pretty loose objectives. This which mainly mean you have to kill everyone in sight. You will run through the environments with a group of soldiers, who act as cover when you need it. One of the immediate problems I found with the game was that the game really lacked any sort of challenge. I say this for one of two reasons. One similar to Halo, where you give your character a few seconds of rest and the health bar goes back up, but not so similar to Halo is the computer AI.
Yes, here is another example of a game where the computer AI seems to have skipped boot camp. All of the enemies in the game seem to rather just be there to look pretty rather then to fight for their lives. Rarely does the enemy take cover after hearing gunfire and I don’t think I ever saw the computer working as a team. This was a game that rather then creating smart enemies instead just created an overwhelming number of them to attempt to cover up the poor AI.
The controls in Shellshock: Nam ’67 also doesn’t help the games cause either. Instead of going with the standard controls for third person shooters, the developers decided that they would switch it up. My guess is they were thinking that the different control setup would help make the game more realistic but instead it just made the game more frustrating then before.
It’s not all bad in Shellshock: Nam ’67 as there are some nice ideas presented in the game. In Vietnam there was a heavy use of booby traps, something that is also apparent in the game. While going through the vast environments you will find that the enemies set up plenty of traps along the way. Some have to be taken care of others can be walked by. This addition is something I think we will see more of in future Vietnam games and was one of the more positive additions to the game.
When I look at Shellshock: Nam ’67 I see a game that had a list of ideas that on paper seem like they would have made into a great game, but instead the developers didn’t make do with their own ideas. Instead we are left with a game that has a lot more negatives then it does positives.
Creating a game set in Vietnam in my eyes would seem to be one of the hardest environments to create a game in. With all of the different types of jungle settings you would think it would be difficult to create a game that really grasped the feeling of being in Vietnam.
The biggest positive I found in Shellshock: Nam ’67 was in the graphics of the game, although they are not great they do a great job of making you feel like you in ’Nam. The environments in the game are much to be admired as they really encompass a lot of color, and plenty of detail. I think the best part of the game was where you go on top of a hill and view the rest of the environment, which is one of the most impressive points of the game.
Everything else in the game suffers from lack of detail and pretty bland design. The enemies don’t really have any sort of way to distinguish between the different types, and the good guys don’t look much better either. Overall Shellshock: Nam ’67 is a decent looking game that does show was environments in Vietnam should look like.
You know you would think to make a shooter fun you would have to get the basics right and it would be fun. Well I have been coming to notice that us gamers are becoming less and less grateful as we just keep wanting more and more out of our game developers. With all of the problems that you will encounter in the gameplay I found that it was just too much to overlook. Although the game does have some really interesting ideas, it fails to create a fun game.
Shellshock: Nam ’67 has some ideas that could have been made into a good shooter, but the execution wasn’t all there for the game, and therefore we are left with a game that has the potential to be great but ends up not. The game can make a decent rental, but the bottom line is there are better shooters our on the market.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.