Blasting Your Way Through Hell
If you’ve been a fan of my reviews then you know all too well what a sucker I am for old-school inspired shooters. I grew up playing classics like Doom II and Duke Nukem 3D back in the day. So when a game comes along that attempts to recreate that experience, it will definitely get my attention. So it should not come as a surprise that Dread Templar would get my attention.
Since its launch in Early Access, I’ve been following its development. Even back then it looked promising and it would truly improve with each new update. Now that it has properly launched, Dread Templar is everything I was expecting and more.
Dread Templar is a fast paced retro inspired shooter that pits players against demonic forces. Basically, you go around blasting demons (what is there not to like). It truly hits all the right marks when it comes to bringing that old-school experience while embracing the lessons of modern game design.
A Path of Vengeance
Players take on the role of the titular hero as they embark on a quest for vengeance through the depths of hell. That is all to the story, everything else is just blasting demons and zombies. It may seem lazy but one should not expect much regarding a narrative direction. You don’t play a game like this for the story, you enjoy it for the fast pace action and dumb fun. Thus; such a story works perfectly for a game like this.
Redemption Through Judgment
Dread Templar wants to capture the hallmarks of shooters from the late 90’s. It has done this successfully on so many levels. Basically, if you enjoyed those games (Doom and Quake especially) then you will feel at home here.
From a visual perspective, it has succeeded at this with its retro-inspired visuals. It strikes the ideal balance of being detailed while also capturing the feel of a game from that era. Plus it will not be so demanding of your GPU. It doesn’t hold back on the details and the carnage while understanding the limitations of 90’s hardware.
There is nothing fancy or innovative about the gameplay mechanics. This is a first-person shooter and all you do is shoot the waves of cultists and demons you encounter. At the same time, the combat is also satisfyingly gory. The arsenal at your disposal is the genre traditions. Players could also upgrade their weapons throughout the game (based on their preferred weapon and combat style). I should also add that while it embraces the classic gameplay, it also understands a lot has changed regarding quality.
While simple in every aspect of its world and gameplay, it’s also rich in replay value. You don’t want to play it and forget it. There are hidden rooms and secrets that must be unlocked. If not for that then go back and test your skills on a higher difficulty. My point is that there is great joy in a simple experience.
Complementing all of this is the amazing soundtrack. That metal inspired score perfectly sets up the mode. It starts from when the game begins all the way to when you are traversing through the circles of hell and blasting every demon you encounter. One could not ask for a better soundtrack.
Moment of Agony
Like so many games that attempt to capture that 90’s nostalgia, they often make the mistake of incorporating outdated level designs. Dread Templar is no different as it too has fallen into this trap. There are stages or sections of a level that lacks a sense of direction or feels cluttered with unnecessary natural objects. They were already annoying back in the day but became completely dated by the 2000’s.
Not to worry as this problem is more limited to a few sections and not an entire level of the game. Plus it’s the only issue I had with the game and it feels trivial compared to everything it does right.
Kill the Evil
If you enjoyed playing Doom and Quake, be it back in the day or now, then you will enjoy Dread Templar. It has all the defining hallmarks of a game from that era along with the lessons learned in the last 30 years. It’s an old school inspired shooter that will take you back to the mid-90’s.
Disclaimer: 1C Publishing provided the game used for this review.
This review is the critique and thoughts of one writer. If you want to see how other critics felt then check it out on OpenCritic.
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