Betrayer is an exploration-focussed FPS from Blackpowder Games – a team composed of former Monolith developers, responsible for No One Lives Forever and the original F.E.A.R.. Sean ventured into the eerie wilderness where, to his surprise, he rang a bell.
I never thought I’d be playing a FPS by the makers of F.E.A.R. that is set in the Colonial era with Spanish monster-like soldiers, vicious ghosts, investigative features, limited ammo and a color palette of only red, white and black. But here we are.
Betrayer is such an odd game, yet it has quite a few promising ideas even at this very early stage. Only one area of the game is currently available, taking a little over an hour to explore, but it does give a decent look as to what the future holds for this PC game by Blackpowder Games.
It all starts with a Shipwreck that has you watching a Colonial Spanish warship sailing off into the distant, and you rummaging for supplies among the debris that has washed up on the shore. From the outset, Betrayer’s color palette is a bit shocking. For me, this artistic choice was as simultaneously off putting as it was attractive due to its unusual quality, but it became fitting once it was tied to specific values. For instance, the use of red is tied to a few things, like death, enemies, and mystery.
One thing which is immediately evident in this exploration-focused FPS adventure game, is that it won’t hold your hand. Once you get off that beach you are lead through a linear pathway flanked by dense forest in order to give a brief and light tutorial. As soon as you exit, you enter a fairly open environment that is filled with corrupted, deadly and monster-like Spanish Conquistadors. Enemies fill the forests, hill and camps of this untamed wilderness, and the player must seek out the wealth of clues which point to why the one and only English fort in the area is abandoned.
Let the bell ring
When I came upon that one said English fort – after muddling my way past several encounters with my musket-wielding Spanish adversaries, many of which ended my life – I was relieved to find some ammo, but unnerved to find no living soul around. This is where the investigation aspect of the game kicked in, which had me checking for clues that might explain all or any of this. As I did so, I found a bell. I wasn’t told what to do with it, it was just a bell, but I did have the option to ring it. And ring that damn bell I did.
The world suddenly turned dark, and I immediately thought of Silent Hill’s nightmare realm and readied my weapon. But nothing came. Instead, I found the ghost of someone who once lived at the fort, who then gave me just enough information to get me exploring places outwith the safety of the fort. I wasn’t expecting anything to pop out of the darkness besides more Spanish soldiers and that expectation made it a bit more unnerving when malicious ghosts spawned all around me, closing in with gigantic claws that would indeed make light work of me.
Betrayer is a game filled with frantic combat that relies on headshots, good aim and conserving ammo, but that isn’t what makes the game promising. The exploration, investigative and otherworldly aspects of the game make it seem like it will offer a unique experience when all is said and done.
Betrayer, by Blackpowder Games, is currently available on PC via Steam’s Early Access service