Making a good historic war FPS is a dying art. The genre is nearing the end of its run of popularity, with a few outstanding titles that loom near the top of the 'amazing game' ladder. Shellshock: Nam '67 tries to tackle the responsibility of being the latest genre-topper, while dealing with the touchy subject matter of controversial war. It unfortunately doesn't do enough of either to make it stand out as either. The entertainment value of Shellshock sits somewhere between a war B-movie and a historic documentary.
Shellshock makes a noble attempt at addressing the harsh subject matter of the Vietnam War. It doesn't glorify and glamorize the war with heroic situations, honor and patriotism. You start off the game as cannon fodder, sent out on routine cleansing missions through the jungles. Nobody wants to be there, even your superiors. Nobody, that is, except for the obligatory nutjob who counts the seconds until he can wade back into the forest and 'blast some gooks.'
The game does it's best to immerse you; En route to missions, you sit in a low-flying chopper as your superior is barking your mission assignment, while a lieutenant peppers the jungle with a copter-mounted machine gun. Back at base camp, a depressed soldier asks you, should he die, to give word to his girlfriend that he 'gave em hell.' The cut-scenes and voice acting are a strong point in the game and help flesh out the various characters that will live, fight, and die along side you.
Deploying into the first mission, I was intrigued by the jungle setting. I was expecting to slowly creep around a lush jungle, with a cramped and paranoid field of view, calmly scanning for booby traps or potential enemy hiding places like tall grass and shadows. Instead, I got wide open spaces, little to no actual 'jungle,' and enemies off in the distance setting up to shoot at me.
The controls are stiff. The overall control experience would be akin to telling someone else who is controlling the game where to aim and shoot by talking; "Up, no down, ok, stop. Wait, go back." I cut my losses, gave up trying to finesse my way through the game, and took up a new strategy: grab a machine gun and 'spray and prey'. That worked.