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Betrayer: Review

Does anyone remember manuals? The little booklets that came with a game box that described most of the things you could do in the game inside that box?

Betrayer, developed by Blackpowder Games, would’ve have benefited from one of those. This first-person stylized shooter drops you onto a beach with not an idea but that the Spanish are being jerks. While the short tutorial phase does explain how to use the weapons to attack the peoples, in usual first-person shooter fashion, nothing else is explained to you.

The biggest problem, then, is that Betrayer has no sense of intent. They don’t really give you what you need to be able to engage in the story. Survival seems to be your only goal, and the atmosphere is such that every place seems hostile. Even when you finally brave an unknown area, you’re left with the blanketing feeling of just messing around. Eventually I was left wondering why the character didn’t just use some wood to make a boat and get the hell out of wherever it is you are.betrayer_1056614_650xThis feeling is not helped any by the initial scarcity of equipment. I will admit, this is a cool concept; you have to ration your ranged weapon ammo lest you run out and have to rely on melee, which will get you killed 85% of the time. Betrayer could easily be classified as a period FPS. Headshots are good for low ammo use and stealth headshots are better. I would actually recommend using a mouse and keyboard for this game. However, there is too heavy a reliance on stealth and certain sections force you into pitch battles with no chance for hiding.

At first it seems like there’s an interesting story hidden behind the gameplay. This game is no afraid to throw out some tragedy. The stories are interesting; there’s intrigue and mystery and all those other things I like. Every ghost you help turns out to be a ghost for a reason. However, it gets a bit repetitive. Eventually you find out that it’s all one big depressionathon . There are no good stories… or even neutral stories. This game really adheres to the idea that “sad is happy for intellectuals”.Betrayer_2Now, I’m going to go ahead and tell you why you’re dealing with these people at all: You’re trying to cure the lands around you of corruption. There’s nothing in the game to let you know, but that’s your goal. I’m not going to be spoiling too much to let you know that the first fort you reach is a safe place and you should go there. I think that they wanted to keep things mysterious to let the player discover the story, which is respectable, but all there is to keep you going is the meta idea that you’re playing a game. You’ll eventually find a way into a dark version of the world where you’ll meet ghosts and fight skeletons. You should do that too, because clearing the land of corruption happens in the dark world.

Which leads me to my next topic: The sounds of the game. I usually don’t bring this up, but sounds actually play a very key role in this game. Most of the sounds in the light world are decently pleasant, the wind is relaxing, the gunshots are poignant and add weight to the combat, the footsteps aren’t obnoxious. But then you enter the dark world and the sounds become jarring. You have to keep pressing a button to hear where to go and that noise scratches at your eardrums. The wind becomes a low-frequency wave that drowns everything else out. The sound that lets you know that hidden loot is nearby whines. The sounds become unpleasant and you will likely get a headache.

The best thing I can say about this game, besides that it’s functional, is that the style is fairly personal. Everything starts out in a sharp contrast grayscale with important features being colored in stark red. The bite of not having a manual strikes again though, so I will just point out that you can adjust the colors to avoid high contrast as that also causes frequent headaches. I recommend a 20% saturation and a slight lowering of the darkness contrast. Other than that, I really like what they were going for there.Betrayer-BlackandWhite-Color-Comparison I’m all for good intentions, but Betrayer missteps on almost every front. The horror elements are just jump scares, the sound is vital but hazardous to your health and the story has no meaning. It really would’ve done much better in a different genre.

Final Score: 3 out of 10

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