Shellshock 2 is an impressive sequel by all accounts. 6 years later, it's still an addictive and active romp. A diverse community with a friends system in-game that reaches globally to other players who are logged in from many different websites, like ArmorGames and the like. Though it's frustrating that there is a "Friends Cap" of 12 player profiles. It makes no sense that the game forces you to delete older friends to make room for new ones.
Something I had discovered a few months ago when I picked this game up for the first time in several years. I was a level-capped veteran in Shellshock 1, and right off the bat, it allows you to cash in on that experience when you start anew in this version. I had left off my progress on this game at level 37, and it remembered all of the progress I had made- the weapons I had leveled up with experience, the custom tank I had unlocked with accumulated Tank Coins, and the stats I had divvied into Fuel, Traction, Armor, and Luck. I was at a great position to level up into the levelcap at 50.
But there are new tricks! Emblems next to certain names showed a number within a diamond. Prestige rank! Once at level 50, you're given the option to start over at level 1, and climb through the ranks to gain access to powerful Prestige weapons. There are 10 weapons, and if you prestige further than that, you're showing off. All of the XP progress you've made is kept, even the upgrade points put into your tank, but you're unlocking your arsenal all over again, which is challenging starting off as a rookie flanked by high level, high weapon-toting tanks all around you.
The community is still the worst part about it. Lots of racists, homophobes, and toxic idiots permeate the chat. You can mute them, but you can't mute their ability to ping the map with markers, arrows, and visual clutter. You can't report people, and you can't block them from entering rooms if you're trying to kick them out and keep them out. They can rejoin over and over and over again and you'll have to kick them manually every time. You also can't kick players out in mid-game if you're the host, which would've saved some headaches with particularly abusive or griefing players before they could screw over their team past a point of no-return.
You can either play in Deathmatches where each tank has HP represented in a red health bar, and Armor represented just above it with a blue armor bar. Or you can play for Points- every tank is invincible, armor is an unseen factor that reduces the damage a shot will make on you, and the game's length is determined by turns. From 5 turn quick games to 30 turn long games.
There's an option for Wind which can effect how certain shots behave, but not all. The wind can be set to low, medium, or high, and each have their respective XP bonus at the end of the match. There are some that argue that having High Wind in a game means "More XP" but you're actually losing more XP than you're gaining from the bonus because of the shots you're missing or incomplete shots that would benefit from standing still over a target now moved askew by wind. Wind isn't worth it in my opinion, unless you're just trying to switch it up and do something a little different or more challenging.
Games can be played Free For All or with Teams. If you play it in Free For All, there's a common unspoken rule in the community about "No Neighborshooting" in Deathmatches, because that's just seen as rude and cheap to them. Don't be surprised if some bloviating nutsack takes it personally if you neighborshoot in a Free For All.
In Team settings, a lobby can dictate if tanks are going to shoot one at a time, or if teams shoot together at once, or if everyone shoots at the same time. Individual Shot rooms take longer at a more relaxed, controlled pace. Sometimes it's beneficial to communicate to your team if you're trying to line up a shot on someone, because in a Team-Shot or All-Shot environment, sometimes damage from one weapon can cause another weapon to miss...communicating is beneficial in these circumstances, and you can do that publicly to the room or you can whisper to your teammates. I'll warn you though, if you have a maximum room of 6 tanks going for the longest setting at 30 turns on Individual Shot? I guarantee you that half of the room will quit before the game finishes, because those games take ages to complete. They seriously take a very long time, and it can be quite boring. If you died in a Deathmatch, you have the option to play Pong in-game while you wait for the game to wrap up...but that quickly gets stale and dull. Frustrating, because you'll lose whatever XP you've gained in the match if you leave early.
Also frustrating is if a teammate quits early, the game decides randomly which teammate gets to control the tank when it's supposed to be their turn. Say it's a 3 tank team, you're dead and the middle one quits, they could still give the controls to the other guy while you're sitting on your ass with nothing to do. The tank retains however the original player had leveled its stats (Fuel, Traction, Armor), and the game randomly selects one shot for you to use, and this will earn the shooter no XP benefits. These substitute tanks also cannot interact with boxes that are dropped in-game, nor damage multipliers. It already sucks and is a huge disadvantage when a teammate quits, but these added handicaps to the dead tank make it into a kind of slap in the face.
The game is standard "Free to Play, Pay to Win" format, incentivizing you at every turn to spend precious and rare tank coins on things in-game.
From the mundane and exorbitantly expensive chrome/gold rims, to items like "The Reinforced Barrel" which adds a percentage chance of critical damage to any shot. Or the dick-move Grappling Hook, which can yank a Box dropped on the field to you immediately, regardless of if you were close to it or not. Often-times stealing said box from a teammate or enemy right under their noses.
Boxes are sought after, they'll very rarely drop Tank Coins, which are hard to come by. They'll also drop weapons, sometimes premium weapons from weapon packs, deluxe arsenals, or even one's that exceed what your level has access to (this outcome is largely based on how you've leveled up your Luck stat, which I'll get to later). Uncommonly they can contain items you can use on the battlefield.
Arguably the most useful item is the Jetpack, which is great for leaping short distances to spread out from teammates, or to get yourself out of a compromising situation in the bottom of a pit or crater. The next most sought after item is the Tracer, which, when used once, plots the trajectory of your shot based on the angle and power you have set up at the time of activation...it's single-use, and can mean the difference in adjusting how you shoot a Sniper shot. There are also supply drops, which randomly equips you instantaneously with 5 new shots that you have access to (in case your current loadout is shit) and lastly, there's a shield bubble, which lasts a single turn rotation. Everyone hates it when you use the shield, it's never a cool or respectable move to protect yourself with the bubble, you will be chastized, boo'd, and hated for it. Never use the shield. Only bitch cowards use the shield.
Every 10 tank coins you earn can be spent on a Tank Upgrade point. I found out you only naturally achieve a Tank Upgrade token once a level for the first 50 levels. There isn't a single bar that should be below 1/4th's full.
-Traction should be maxed out. This is the stat that enables you to climb out of steep hills and terrain so you aren't stuck by some crater that's formed around you.
-Armor should be at 75% or full. That blue bar will help you last longer in Deathmatches, and lessen the damage you'll take in Points matches.
-Fuel definitely needs more than 50% of it upgraded- This is your movement range, and I shouldn't have to go into detail about how moving further is helpful, especially when coupled with good Traction stats.
-Luck may increase your chances of getting more Tank Coins and advanced weaponry on box drops in-game. It may be the least useful stat, because box drops are random and undependable in-game, but at the very least it could enable you to get an unexpected edge in combat, or at least a reward to dampen the blow of an inevitable loss.
But how you level up your tank is completely up to you, and will help with your survivability.
Or at least, as much as you can. There are extremely unfair weapons in the game; it's not balanced very well. Many deluxe/premium weapons take no effort to aim and wreak absolute high damage havoc. I got burned out many years ago trying to level up as a proud vanilla tank using no Deluxe weaponry, and you cannot compete against bought advantages. There are some that claim that not everyone buys these things with money, it just takes a lot of time to grind to the point where you can redeem tank coins for these things...and there are others that brag about their salary and gloat about how any and everything that can be maxed out in the game HAS been maxed out...and I encountered this shameless creature a few days ago in 2018. So I imagine it speaks well for KChamp games that they're still getting business from the cashcow that is Shellshock 2.
But for all the frustration I've experienced with people that were made better by bought advantages, and for all the times I'm annoyed by a stoner or kid slacking off in school messing up in a team environment, there have been some fun moments when it all goes according to plan. A clutch trick-shot with a Sniper bouncing off the border at the edge of the map... the wind guiding a luckily arranged volley of asteroids... Nuking 2/3rds of a team, or rarely, all 3 tanks of an enemy team. Watching some high-level asshole's weapon backfiring on him in the worst possible way... Even something as simple as the addiction of monitoring the candy-blue experience gauge on a weapon that you're trying to maximize it's potential by leveling up. There's a reason there's still an active community here. It just works! And that's really special and rare in a flash game.
Be warned, it'll suck you in. There'll be bad games that'll see you staring a "gg" in the face because you got killed by Firestorm and a Galaxy that caught a Double Damage modifier in the first round and you didn't have the opportunity to even shoot yet. There'll be idiots on your team that may be hellbent on ensuring that you lose, intentionally or unintentionally. You may need to communicate to a teammate who doesn't speak a language that you know, and sometimes, in more relaxed environments, that can be kinda cool. I had Google Translate up in another window and I was copy-pasting back-and-forth chatting with someone from Germany who didn't know very much english. Moments like that stick with me. Moments when I was nearing level 50 and I felt like the big-dick hero in the room protecting lower-leveled players in a Free For All felt good too. Finding yourself in a team that just "clicks" and works...and the best moments are when it's a really nice room filled with nice people, chatting it up and joking around, having fun. No pressure, no animosity, just a couple of strangers from different time zones shooting each other with little tanks.
I could recommend this game to someone that wants a simple turn-based accuracy game. Sometimes I can recommend it as an online chatroom thats ALSO a game. I'm still blown away its community is as active as it is. It slows down a bit at certain times, and other times there'll be pages of rooms looking for tanks to join. If you got a modest amount of disposable income, I suppose you could add to the likelihood that you'll have a good time. But I don't recommend doing that until you know that you'll be spending enough time in this game to make back your money's worth in enjoyment. Trust that they definitely want you to spend money on this.
It's an extremely competent game, free to play, pay to win, learning how shots behave and practicing your aim are the keys to success...and grind, baby, grind.
This gem from 2012 still holds up through the test of time.