Top Critic Average
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.