Betrayer: The Beauty of Black and White

Sometimes, making things simple is exactly what matters. I, personally, really enjoy taking pictures in black and white. And not because I am terrible with colors and camera settings but because black and white tones have a lot more expression and character than colors themselves. Ye, it might sound crazy, but when you look at the colors, you get distracted from the main point. Sure, sometimes colors mean a lot, but sometimes – it works just the other way round and Betrayer is here to prove that point.

Before I get to the point, there one thing I would like to mention: Betrayer comes preset with black and white tones only, so when you start the game – it will be monochromic and stuff. Though, there are things that will come in colors. Usually, they are either mission related checkpoint or enemies that you have to defeat. Red, yellow or blue – it’s all about to happen. But, you can change all the monochromic atmosphere in the setting and make the whole world around become colorful. Though, I need to warn you that this will kill the fun. Literary. The game has to be played without colors cause this makes it special. Using the whole palette of colors will turn you in a total betrayer.

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The Plot of the Betrayer

The story of Betrayer will take us to the times that do not appear that often in the game plots, mostly because they are pretty hard to describe. If you haven’t guessed already – this will be a travel to the great times of explorations and desperate vayages, the times of of pre-colonial America, North America, to be exact.  There are a lot of stories that kind of share the atmosphere of those times and give us suppositions on what could and might have happened back in those days. But, the real story and the real outcome will always be a mystery. It is a pity for people who want to know what happened in the past but at the same time it is a real treasure for game creators and dreamers who can use the historical uncertainty for their projects.

There is a very strange part in the Northern American colonisation history which is connected with the attempts of British travelers to settle on the island of Roanoke. The very first colony came to the island in 1585, though – locals were not pleased with the visit as much as the settlers expected. At first, the newcomers lost the biggest ship with the greatest amount of provision, secondly – local indian tribe was pretty suspicious about the visitors. This kind of attitude started a conflict between two groups and at a certain moment Brits burned the tribe chief in his own village. A year after the colonists got back to England on Francis Drake’s ship.

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In 1587 a second expedition was sent to explore the island. They expected to see a prospering colony and 15 men who were left to make the prosperity happen. Though, instead of warm welcome they managed to find a burned village and a single skeleton. People of the second expedition did their best to establish contact with the locals but again – their attempts haven’t been successful. Instead, they even had to sent Mr. John White back to England, though, this time a bigger group of settlers was left on the island – 116 men and women.

It was not easy to come to the island because of the devastating war with the Spaniards but when Mr. John White managed to reach the island, he found nor the village neither the people. He tried to do his best to locate them and get to know what had happened but all of his attempts were useless. The only clue that he was able to find was the word “Croaton” cut on the fence and the other word “Cro.” The mystery of disappearance hasn’t been solved until now and it became an amazing starting point for the Betrayer game.

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How the Betrayer Starts

Betrayer starts pretty much like any other historical and mystical movie of those times – with a ship crash near the island. By all means, this is THE island called Roanoke. The year is 1604. Of course, you are the only survivor and you are the only one who can uncover and investigate the mysterious and so unpredicted disappearance of the former groups. As the story goes, you will start progressing deeper into the island while discovering some new things. Technically, Betrayer is not a survivor, though – it does come with the surviving elements. You will have to collect resources and scavenge for water. But, that won’t be as vital as hiding from the possesses conquistador and looking for a girl in red. Oh, that beautiful girl… Who is she and why is she?

Betrayer is also an adventure, an action, an FPS and even in that exact order. The more adventure you want to have, the better the game will be and the more you will be able to find out about the world around. Only the passion for discovery and fearless heart will help you out to make it to the end. The action part of the Betrayer isn’t less exciting, but it also differs from what you’ve had in your life beforehand. The weapon arsenal here is pretty poor (after all – it’s a not a fantastic world but the good-old beginning of the XVII century) and you will be asked to choose between almost useless at long distances fire weapon or pretty good and deadly archery arsenal. I’d prefer the second one, if I were you.

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The FPS part of Betrayer is OK. If being compared, I would say that it’s something like Bioshock: the shooting and fighting is great but there is something missing, what exactly – no one can tell for sure. But that is not vital and if you won’t be playing a bad gamer – you are definitely going to like what the Betrayer gives you. In general, Betrayer creates a feeling of Dark Souls. No, the game has nothing to do with the Dark Souls precisely but it kind of brings the very same atmosphere: you appear in a world, alone and the only way to survive is to keep going. Every time you die – you will have to get back to your body and loot the lost belongings. In case you get killed for the second time before reaching the dead body of yours – all of your stuff will disappear forever.

If you plan to unlock all Betrayer achievements on Steam, you won’t be forced to read the dialogues and pick up all the letters. It may sounds strange, but playing the game the regular way won’t bring any charm. If you omit a couple of things, Betrayer has pretty certain and pretty straightforward task: move from point A to point B and do not get killed. But, that’s if you play it the regular way. However, changing the attitude and following your heart should make it a lot better. All you have to do is to forget about the direction and follow the whisper. It will lead you to the right places and will definitely open the most sacred secrets of the Betrayer.

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As I mentioned before – the more effort you invest in investigation, the more the game will open to you and as it appears – exploring is really the best part of Betrayer. With every step further the history of local restless souls gets weirder and weirder, especially when you realise that there is almost no mystery in their death or the mystery is very and very explanatory. Though, instead of mysterious line your will be treated with a decent portion of facts about European colonists in the Northern America. Scary, bloody and cruel stories, full of pain and despair… This will be so real that you would definitely try to prove it wrong.

Two Worlds of Betrayer

In Betrayer you will have to face two different worlds: the regular one with the crazy conquistadors running here and there, and the other one – with the things that are not easy to understand and creatures that are not easy to kill. In order to enter this world you will have to make your hero ring the mighty bell. All that combined and even more forces the head to explode at certain moments but the atmospheric surrounding kind of puts it all back together.

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Betrayer is not a scary game but it definitely can scare you to the death, especially – when played with all precise attention drawn to the screen. Betrayer has no music and its graphical appearance has been lowered to the possible acceptable minimum. But in this case the minimalistic approach is rather a major plus than a minus. Instead of seeing enemies, you start hearing them first and in the moments when one of your senses is not working properly, others start being sharper. In other words – in Betrayer you rely more on your feelings than on your senses. This is really cool.

You Can’t Control the Betrayer

It is kind of easy to play the game when you have a feeling of control. Keeping it in your fists and controlling it with your mind kind of kills the moment of surprise. Well, in Betrayer you can forget about being a person of control because the game will take it from you without asking. Technically, you won’t be able to tell or predict the next event. Enemies here appear from nowhere and for no reason as well as they disappear in unknown directions and when you almost kill them. Most of the modern games accompany threats with scary music and special locations that always have a certain number of obvious features that not only say but yell “this is where you will be rewarded with punches and bullets.” Betrayer is not like that at all. It has logic in its illogical attitude to the player, it is uncommon and unpredictable, but at the same time – it charms with every single secret hiding behind that tree. Or that one. Or, maybe, that one…

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Betrayer kind of reminds the good old and already forgotten Amber: Journeys Beyond. That beloved quest had pretty much the same manner of speaking with pretty much the same going on around. But what those two really share together is the atmosphere and the strange feeling of danger even during those moment where the whole world tells you to calm down. While playing Betrayer it is really possible to receive a heart attack. Not a big one, of course, and, probably, not even a real one, but still – the very same moment you forget about danger – it will let you know that the world you are in is not safe at all. I has that kind of experience when in the middle of the night from out of nowhere appeared a scary something and started chasing me. I was low on ammo and had no arrows  which kind of forced me to run fast in the deepest and scariest parts of the forrest. Darn, I am never going to forget that run.

Conclusions of Betrayer

It is impossible to be certain about this game. Some will tell that Betrayer is a total (well, you know), other will claim that it’s a masterpiece. Well, all that depends on a person and the way it sees this world. Betrayer is not a walk in the park and those who like to press buttons without getting familiar with the plot and the story standing behind – sorry, but look for your own Betrayer. However, if you are ready to spend hours walking around the forest and searching for things that might or might not be here – this is your type of game because no matter what you do – there will always be something special to reward you with. But whether you are going to like it or not – that, my friend, is a totally different question.

 

Developer’s Site

Author: Oleg Repetskiy

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