So, it’s been a while since I did a preview of an upcoming game, but with what we’re expecting in 2022, I had to look at a few games which seemed incredibly interesting.

The first game I’ll be looking at is Dread Templar, an old-school-inspired FPS that infuses intense and gruesome combat, with challenging risks and epic rewards to reap all with 90’s shooter aesthetics. Looking like a mash-up of Quake and Rise of the Triads, Dread Templar looks to be a promising boomer shooter for the modern era.

But have we had enough of these modern retro-retake shooters, or could we do with one more?

The answer is, we can do with one more!

What is Dread Templar?

Dread Templar is a 90’s inspired, action-filled, fast-paced first-person shooter that puts you into the boots of the Dread Templar, who is seeking revenge deep in the evil realm. Players will explore numerous levels, spanning across the evil realm, where they will shoot gruesome creatures of darkness, solve puzzles to find hidden weapons and upgrades, and basically cause an immense amount of mayhem

There is a variety of weapons that pack a punch, and the Dread Powers which you can customise, allowing you to adapt your playstyle over the course of the game. Whether you want a faster rate of fire for your shotgun or a quicker to reload time for your submachine pistols. The variation of swords from guns to swords allows players to mix and match their attacks and brutality.

Dread Templar combines classic and modern gameplay elements, incorporating visuals inspired by the great shooters of the ’90s, with some of the perks and gameplay features of the modern era. Players can dash to avoid environmental dangers and enemy attacks, while bullet-time slows things down, allowing for extra damage or avoiding an overwhelming number of foes. There’s some nice customisation, where you may upgrade certain aspects of your skills and weapons, making you the ideal hunter in the evil realm.


In Dread Templar you play as … a Dread Templar whose on a mission for revenge and will stop at nothing to get it.

And that’s pretty much it.

Yeah, the developers have decided to really go old school with the plot and have it paper-thin for now. Which is fine. I’m a big fan of creative writing and do feel rich lore, and well-written plots can really enhance a game. But if a game is fun and doesn’t need to rely on a story to strengthen its gameplay, then I say don’t worry about it.

Maybe more details will come out and honestly it would be cool if there were some bits of lore to give context to the world. But it’s not really needed if the visuals are strong and the gameplay fun.


As you have seen already (and gathered from the few times I mentioned the 90’s), Dread Templar is presented lovingly with 90’s aesthetics. This means the graphics and art style are a masterful throwback to the likes of Quake and Unreal. This means low ploy and blocky enemies, simple textures and not to mention all that sweet 90’s inspired gore, where body parts blow off easily and the blood is neon red.

I know we value very smooth, shiny, and detailed visuals nowadays, but the era of boomer shooters really did showcase some visually staggering games. Due to the limitations of the time, developers and artists really had to push the boat out on crafting worlds that were immersive and visually interesting. The developers of Dread Templar have done the same here, pushing all out on creating a beautifully horrifying Lovecraftian world, that’s filled with visual representations of misery, suffering, and Hellish surrealism.

There’s an odd charm to these low-res style visuals. Many gamers, myself included, find the low-res textures more disturbing as your mind usually fills in the gaps of what you see. I will always stand by my argument that 90’s Resident Evil zombies are scarier than what we usually get now. And the developers have done an incredible job for the most part, at making a disturbing world along with its goulash denizens.

While the visuals are blocky, it only adds to the creepiness of the environments, providing extra layers to the atmosphere and above all, it fits perfectly well with the ultra-violent and chaotic tone of the gameplay. I grew up with these types of visuals and I’ll always love them. Even younger gamers will surely apricate the variation of environmental designs, enemies, simple yet creative lighting and use of colour, and above all, how well everything is pulled together to make a beautifully horrifying game world.

Plus, the sound design and music are really top stuff.


Dread Templar is a 90’s boomer shooter through and through, in both visuals and gameplay. The developers have kept to the rule of KISS and kept things simples, yet really engaging. A homage to the era of Boomer Shooters, but more refined and focused due to some modern inclusions, such as the dash mechanic and quick swapping (made very popular by the likes of DOOM Eternal).

The Dread Templar will venture through the Realm of Evil, level by level, dismembering and shooting anything that comes in their path. So, for players, this means a vast amount of exploring as they look for keys, weapons, upgrades, and of course enemies to shoot in the face while avoiding other certain forms of certain death and solving the odd puzzle here and there (which may or may not involve the use of bullet time).

There is a fair share of platforming, which the bullet time and dash mechanic come in handy for, bringing out a multitude of uses for such simple gameplay mechanics. Dash is reliable and can get you out of a tricky situation, but also good for making large jumps to places of interest. Bullet Time can also be utilised for avoiding parts of the environment that will crush your death, or if you fancy ramming a billion shotgun blasts to a bigger, badder enemy type.

Weapons feel weighty and impactful, and the overall roaster of guns is very cool. With your trusty dual pistols (which Dread Templar makes the best starting weapons ever in video game history) to start off with, then the inclusion of submachine guns, the classic pump-action Shotgun which was fine, but this game’s version of the Super Shotgun really packed a hell of a punch!

There are also some neat exotic weapons, including a wristband that shoots electric darts, a Hellish heavy pistol and a Rocket launcher to blast the larger enemies to bits, and rounding this epic roster up are the Demonic Fist, Katanas, and the Black Bow. These last three can do some devastating attacks if used correctly and are great as a last resort type of defence, when the s*** hits the fan.

Thankfully, these weapons will be put to good use on the insanely varied and brutal enemy line-up that will test your reflexes, quick thinking, and trigger fingers. Dread Templar developers have managed to create plenty of interesting encounters, ambushes and mix up the enemy line-up to keep fights feeling fresh and various throughout the preview build.

What Dread Templar does well

Dread Templar manages to create intense and visceral combat encounters, and only enhance the experience with a very fun set of tools for the job. Weapons all feel great and have a purpose, the abilities such as Dash and Bullet Time lend well into offense and defence tactics while being useful for other aspects of the level design such as platforming.

The level design is also incredibly strong, with a nice flow and a good sense of navigation throughout. I never felt lost in any of the levels, and the designers have made sure to add in small hints, pointers, and beacons to ensure you never get lost. There are plenty of hidden hotspots to find, including the side missions which will see players tackle incredibly difficult challenges for some epic rewards. All of these were really fun to carry out and really made my efforts feel rewarded.

What really blew my mind were the secrets, and Dread Templar has so many of them. Ranging from small to seriously complex. My favourite was an encounter where I had to arrange prison cell doors in a certain order to open a locked area containing a powerful weapon early on. The combinations, hidden away, and only when I saw the cell doors near the end of the level, did it all clicked. There are secrets, and then there are super secrets, and the developers have nailed it for their secrets.

Overall I really apricated the small details and effort the designers went to, to make engaging levels, filled with secrets, optional tasks, and plenty of rewards to reap.

I love the enemy designs overall, with even the basic zombies looking mighty impressive, with a nice amount of detail showing off their rotting skin and decaying nature. Enemies feel varied and interesting, and each one provides a different dynamic in battle, upping the challenge and pushing my skills to the max.

One of the most interesting additions is manual saves … I know, no quick saving? Madness. But I really digged this inclusion. Manual saving can indeed heighten the tension and add an element of horror to the whole experience. Much like a classic survival horror game, you will be pushed to think carefully about certain decisions and embrace the uncertainly that lies ahead.

There are plenty of save points and above all, Dread Templar offers a lot of ammo and health, so it’s never unfair. Also, there is an autosave feature in key moments as well.

Lastly, the upgrade system is extraordinarily varied, allowing players to assign various abilities that will have some extreme effects. You collect tokens that can be used to apply different perks such as more health and damage, but there is also the “Super-Duper” awesome perks that really change things up. Some of this will completely change your build and present new tactical advantages in combat.

Such as no reloading for certain weapons, a sniper-style Shotgun, dual heavy pistols, and a few more. There was plenty to find and choose from even in the early build, so I hope more will be on the way, only to expand the scale of how death and destruction are dealt by the Dread Templar.

What Dread Templar could do better at

I found chapter 2 to be the weaker of the preview build, mainly due to its visual design. I love the aesthetics and art style overall, but I found chapter two and its endless grey hallways tedious and mind-numbing. There is an interesting idea at mixing up different types of horror, mainly cosmic and gothic, but adding purple lights over a sea of grey gravel halls and walls, won’t cut it for me.

Compared to the first chapter, which is varied, beautifully lit, colourful, and has some awesomely weird and gruesome sights, chapter two is boring to look at. Except for one segment at the end which features this weird pink goo (kinda like from Ghostbusters 2) oozing from the walls and ceiling. More of this type of stuff would have been great!

There were also some kinks with the autosave feature, where it would either not load a quick save or save in a frantic moment, only to load and be utterly damming for myself to progress.


Dread Templar is simply staggering even in its early access stage. This could be the revival boomer shooter that sets the bar for the rest. The gunplay and combat are highly satisfying, the world and level design compelling and engaging, and the nature of upgrades, secrets, and the visual presentation will draw people in and keep them hooked until the end. Dread Templar is one of the games to keep your eyes on for 2022 and we can’t wait to see the full game.

A Steam review key of Dread Templar was provided by the pubsliher for the purpose of this preview.