With the existence of first person games done right like the mighty Elder Scrolls games, Halo, Call of Duty and the likes, new IP’s which attempt to adopt the same mechanics are daring and need to place a special twist to even come close to being a great seller.
Developers Blackpowder Games have created a game that is no doubt unique in some ways but it’s also ultimately plagiarism in others in their PC title Betrayer. What I mean is, from the very moment I found my character washed up on a random black and white beach and began to move around looking for the next thing to do, all I could think about is Skyrim. The way I moved, the way I was searching for loot, the feel of the aesthetics and soon after, the combat, it all felt like it was ripped from Skyrim. This is by no means a compliment but also lets Betrayer down in quite a large way.
After waking up on the beach, you soon find yourself ashore on a mysterious island with not a single indication what you are doing here, it’s never explained. Venturing inland, you soon find yourself toe to toe with Spanish Conquistadors and the entire world is set in the 17th century. Signs on posts and printed dialogue pick-ups set the scene as you progress which leaves a lot of the discovery and story pacing up to you.
The most striking unique feature of Betrayer however is the black and white colour scheme with bold splashes of red which are visual indicators of baddies and important items such as chests and weapons. This is the only thing that sets Betrayer apart from other first person games but it’s not easy on the eye. You can change it to colour luckily though and you will certainly want too once your eyes start stinging.
The movements and exploration is very Skyrim-esque however the world is uninteresting and barren. It’s nice though with forests, plains, settlements and forts to explore, problem is though, they are all empty and abandoned so you will just want to plod on with the bleak storyline. The combat is as lifeless as the world too with the ridiculous AI riddled enemies just standing there while you outsmart them with quick sword slashes or a barrage of arrows with ease.
The alternate dimension which opens up later on, accessible from ringing bells scattered across the environment, does nothing to the gameplay as is just changes the look of the enemies changing them to skeletal dummies and emits a fog across the land. It’s a bore unfortunately failing to keep my interest throughout Betrayers entirety as will it do to you and if you do manage to stay till the end, things get easier as you will have levelled up enabling enemies to be dispatched without any effort.
The look of the game is certainly the main selling point of Betrayer. The negative black and white colour scheme gives the world some degree of interest and spotting items, loot and weapons is simple with the bold red colour they have which sticks out a mile which can also be said for the enemies. There’s no variety of enemies to keep things interesting either, they all act and fight the same way and require little to no strategy to take them out. They do look menacing though and even more so in the alternate dimension but they lose that menacing characteristic once you realise they aren’t so tough.
Betrayer is a dull first person exploration game set in a bland and lifeless world which does itself no favours from copying the gameplay from other first person games. The only real reason to play this game is to witness the unique colour palette as everything else may be intriguing at first but soon loses face.
• Developer: Blackpowder games
• Publisher: Blackpowder Games
• Genre: Stealth
• Release Date: 24th March 2014
• Story – 2/5
• Graphics – 3/5
• Gameplay – 2/5
• Overall – 2/5