Betrayer's gorgeous presentation can't save it from being a first-person shooter with an identity crisis.
It starts promising and gets better in the final act, but the bulk of Betrayer's journey is let down by inconsistent quality, repeat enemies, and investigative drudgery.
Such ambiguity is only possible in an indie game, and anyone who played the early access alpha will have seen that Blackpowder has already evolved its ideas drastically to get to this proper release. I doubt the improvements will end there, and with more refinement Betrayer can only become more interesting. It's a sinister journey, but one well worth taking.
The colorless world of Betrayer is home to an intriguing mystery, tense atmosphere, and inconsistent enemies.
Betrayer is a game that suckered me in with its alluring visuals, but once it had me within its grasp it outright refused to let me enjoy myself. This is a game that is far below the standard of quality one would expect from the creators of F.E.A.R., and further proof, if we ever needed it, that presentation shouldn't take precedence over gameplay.
Instead, there's a merchant shop in every major location so you can get a charm that confers 4% faster running and you can't dig certain items out of the ground until you find a shovel way late in the game. I'd much rather see my character, in first-person, manically clawing at rocks, fingernails tearing off, punctuating lines of blood like the dot on an exclamation point. It would at least fit with the tone the rest of Betrayer is trying to set.
The odds are almost always stacked against you, and the repetitive conflicts they never seem like a fair challenge. The story's breadcrumbs are more often than not eaten by the birds, or perhaps the game's figurative bugs. There's not enough material for the spark of creativity to ignite, and Betrayer never finds its focus. This mix of ideas just never properly congeals. Uncovering mysteries and vanquishing foes while building up your repertoire and knowledge should be fun, but wandering this world is often little better than performing listless chores.
Still, there are some decent features in Betrayer. It's gorgeous to look at and your experience may be different from mine, depending on your luck. If nothing else, it has made me very excited to see what Blackpowder have learned from creating Betrayer, and I hope they can improve on the problems I encountered in the future.
Singular of vision but faltering in execution and in need of some fleshing out – something's missing here, in terms of exploration and progression, but what is there is really quite special.
It could have done with being ten dollars cheaper and two hours shorter, but Betrayer is a beautiful looking title with a compelling atmosphere and enjoyably tense combat.
All told, there's a lot of great stuff piled in to Betrayer. The graphics, story tone, setting, and quite a few elements of the FPS mechanics – reload time on the musket, for one – are pretty fantastic, and definitely can pull you in, but the game's lack of focus is an ultimate downfall that ends up turning what could be a really intriguing exploration and survival experience into a meandering , confused journey that loses appeal somewhere along the way.
Betrayer is an FPS where the shooting is lackluster and the enemies annoying. An adventure game where investigations are restricted to looking for objects on the ground. It is carried by artistic flair and - when it works - impressive audio design. As the violent encounters started to drain me of my energy and the plodding search for clues started to drain me of my sanity, I weathered it all because of my burning need to finish the story and my mission. I needed to put these souls to rest. But mostly I just wanted it to be over.
It's worth sticking with Betrayer to see through the devilish tales told by the NPCs and watch the conclusion come to a puzzling end, but most might find the trip a sour sweet hidden by a sugar coating.
Betrayer faces interesting dilemmas. It has an intriguing story built from a great mystery and good gameplay to back it up, but feels unnecessarily punishing.
The same design elements that give the experience [of playing Betrayer] such a wonderfully palpable sense of dread are misused to the point of tedium.
A cautious recommendation then, certainly worth a try in a Steam sale at the very least, but I can't see myself playing it ever again. I'm on my fifth playthrough of F.E.A.R. incidentally.
Betrayer is one of the best indie RPG game of the year, which places you in a scary atmospheric world filled with morbidity and paradoxes. The stealth and combat mechanics are refined to the point where you have to think twice if you want to engage or avoid bloody encounters.
This is not the case in Betrayer, as its mechanics and narrative grew routine. I appreciated those aesthetics only from a distance it wouldn't give me. It's hard to criticize a game for being good-looking, but it's hard not to when its ambitions so clearly lay beyond that.
Though it presents a strikingly unique aesthetic and a daringly open invitation to the player to piece together a mysterious narrative for themselves, Betrayer is ultimately a bit of a disappointment thanks to uneven pacing, inconsistent mechanics, and a world and story that just aren't particularly interesting. In the end, Betrayer assumes a little too much and works too little for the player's interest, which is a shame because it ultimately makes a rather striking game all too easy to walk away from early on.
Although Betrayer brings many good ideas to the table, the mix fails to homogenize in a meaningful manner, and the game's shortcomings begin pestering you while you repeat the same patterns over and over.