Shellshock’s graphical presentation can either be interpreted as a big step in the direction of artistic merit in video games, or a poor attempt at hiding graphical flaws. The entire game is presented through a grainy filter that is intended to make it look like one of those roughly-shot Vietnam videos you usually see in history class. I really liked this presentation, especially during some of the opening cut-scenes since it really sold the idea of the conflict. However, it’s really hard to overlook the fact that the style is also covering up bland, colorless textures and simple, poorly animated character models. In an attempt to push the limits of shock value, body parts fly off in battle with alarming frequency. Having heads explode after taking a powerful shot or having the odd arm or leg removed is okay, but it happens so frequently and with such over dramatization in Shellshock that it becomes silly.
Outdoor environments look great and feature a nice haze-feel that really makes you feel like you’re crawling through the steaming jungles of Vietnam. Indoor environments are a completely different story. They seem to want to get your attention by placing B-rate haunted house elements like dead bodies in various stages of decay and torture situations, in boring, boxy rooms rather than pumping up the graphical quality and making them look good. Sadly, this is a theme with most of the game.
Audio is just a tad better than graphics, but not by much. The game’s soundtrack features a mix of 60's rock and the sounds of war. The overall impact is weak, but it still sounds good. The real problem comes in the voice-acting department. The frequent use of four-letter words is a bit disturbing. In some cases, I can understand and accept the use of certain words if it adds something to the game. This really isn’t the case in Shellshock as every other word is some sort of curse, swear, or other bleep quality word.