#Assessment: Dread Templar – Destructoid

Assessment: Dread Templar – Destructoid

They later turn into the Doom Illuminati

The retro-inspired shooter style is absolutely in excessive gear. Following within the wake of the big-budget revival of Doom in 2016 and the indie scorching flash of Nightfall in 2018, there at the moment are a tonne of indie video games vying for recognition within the style. It’s a bit overwhelming, to be sincere. It’s a favourite style of mine, nevertheless it appears exhausting to separate the wheat from the chaff. My present strategy is to simply dump milk over all of them and dig in.

Dread Templar is within the bowl. Having entered Early Entry again in August 2021, it’s lastly time for it to get its 1.0 and get kicked out the door. I wasn’t fairly positive what would make it stand out again in its preliminary take a look at interval, and now I’m even much less positive.

Dread Templar - Shotgun Reload
Screenshot by Destructoid

Dread Templar (PC)
Developer: T19 Video games
Writer: Fulqrum Publishing
Launched: January 26, 2023
MSRP: $19.99

Dread Templar is the story of the eponymous protagonist, who positive aspects unholy powers to combat the armies of the unholy. Or one thing. In typical retro-inspired style, there isn’t a really prevalent narrative. That’s in all probability an excellent factor, for the reason that narrated cutscenes between episodes are type of higher off ignored.

The gameplay is fairly just like Quake, although the motion and physics remind me extra of Turok: Dinosaur Hunter. It’s quick and punchy, that includes a bigger arsenal of weapons than your typical pre-3D accelerated shooter. It additionally doesn’t throw hordes of enemies at you in a method that Doom 2 does, however moderately offers you more durable baddies to chew on. That’s type of disappointing, and actually jogs my memory of the drawbacks that got here with shifting to polygons.

One place that Dread Templar distinguishes itself from its inspiration is in its improve system. You may unlock slots for the upgrades you discover in every of your weapon classes, which let you broaden harm, firing price, and ammo, in addition to another tweaks. You receive these upgrades via discovering secrets and techniques and clearing aspect areas. The improve system is gravy, as is the variability provided by the aspect areas. The secrets and techniques, nevertheless, are considerably maddening.

Rewarded for wall-humping

To be truthful, I’m undecided that secret areas have been very effectively dealt with by most FPS video games of the period. A variety of them got here right down to humping the partitions and attempting to jam your self into small areas. Dread Templar isn’t any totally different. Positive, a few of the partitions look suspicious, nevertheless it’s straightforward to persuade your self that all the partitions look suspicious. So that you wind up grinding your self in opposition to the wallpaper, hoping that a few of it would peel off.

On the very least, Dread Templar rewards you for all of your wall-humping. The upgrades you accumulate are somewhat extra fascinating than the ammo and well being you’d sometimes come throughout in Doom or Duke Nukem 3D. Nevertheless, that additionally makes it extra vexing, since with a press of a button, you get to see what number of are nonetheless left in a degree. That’s maddening as a result of it makes you’re feeling like you possibly can’t go away a degree till you’ve licked all of the paint off the partitions and picked up each little factor. It turns into onerous, and ultimately, you’ll simply must compromise and be taught to reside with out them. It’ll eat at you, although.

Dread Templar Infernal Revolver
Screenshot by Destructoid

Double-barrel: Verify

There are 5 episodes and 25 ranges to Dread Templar, and the degrees are moderately prolonged. All through the episodes, there’s a good quantity of selection, each by way of visuals and challenges. Most introduce new threats, however sadly, a few of them appear to be principally palette swaps.

Whereas a few of your foes are fully braindead, charging immediately at you in a method that was widespread for the period, there are others which are way more curiously designed. My favourite was a monster who shoots up a cloud of smoke if you have interaction it. It then hides in that cloud, shifting about considerably unpredictably, leaving you to focus on it based mostly on transient glimpses. Or simply fireplace wildly into the cloud; that may work too.

There are perhaps too few enemies for Dread Templar’s prolonged runtime, however the best way extra will get added all through helps to alleviate this. There’s additionally a smattering of bosses unfold round for good measure. These are largely only a matter of circle-strafing whereas dodging as many assaults as you possibly can, however there’s an considerable grandeur to them.

Dread Templar - Infernal Gauntlet
Screenshot by Destructoid

Foreboding clouds

The degrees themselves are barely uneven, however they no less than have a range to them that makes some extra memorable than others. All of them are inclined to happen in twisted fantasy locations, which I personally really feel was a weak point of early-3D shooters. Demons are dangerous, yeah, however they’re simply hanging out in gloomy corridors. They’re a lot cooler after they’re hanging round an arcade in a film theatre. However then, isn’t all people?

There’s additionally the soundtrack, which begins off as some respectable heavy steel, after which simply turns into… background music. I’m not the largest fan of heavy steel, nevertheless it works from an aesthetic standpoint in video video games. Nevertheless, whereas it stood out at first, the later tracks don’t scratch the identical itch. They’re far-off from being disagreeable, however they don’t really feel as integral to the expertise.

Blocky Necromancer Templar
Screenshot by Destructoid

Distant from being disagreeable

Dread Templar may typically be described fully as “far-off from being disagreeable.” From starting to finish, it’s a fairly well-designed expertise, and it by no means will get to be an excessive amount of of a slog. It simply by no means actually finds a novel id. There’s no actual hook that makes it stand out or will preserve you coming again.

Competent is unquestionably not the worst descriptor a recreation can attain, however I’d be happier if Dread Templar had discovered a option to really distinguish itself. After I discover myself with that retro-shooter itch, I can’t see myself coming again to this one. It takes greater than good gunplay to make an expertise memorable, however there isn’t way more to Dread Templar than that.

[This review is based on a retail build of the game purchased by the reviewer.]


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