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Dread Templar Review – The most fun you can have in Hell

Dread Templars is a fast-paced homage to DOOM that sees you battling your way through hell with speed and style.
Dread Templar Review Image
Image: T19 Games

I love Doomer Shooters. I don’t know if that’s exactly what you would call them, but the genre of games inspired by (and including) the classic DOOM is a very unique and engaging one. I still recall fondly the time I played through all of DOOM 2016 on hard in one sitting. I was literally seeing red afterward.

You would think a genre defined by difficulty and fast-paced gameplay might be hard to get into, and it probably is, but I personally do not know a single person who isn’t a fan of or appreciates the “Doomer Shooter” genre.

This is thanks in no small part to a great deal of stylistic variety available in the (mostly indie) games inspired by classic DOOM. It doesn’t matter if you want to be a preacher in Lovecraftian horror, or a robot cleaning up hell, or a fabled angry marine out to avenge his pet rabbit, chances are there is a game in this genre with a style that appeals to you.

This is no different for Dread Templar. It’s not as stylistically interesting as Forgive Me Father, which is a retro shooter with a very unique Lovecraftian setting and ink drawing style. Stylistically, Dread Templar plays it pretty safe, going for an art style that looks like it could be a DOOM mod with a heavy emphasis on blacks and reds.

While not the most visually unique game in the genre, it works. The retro pixelated-3d style is by no means hard to look at, but I personally would have liked to see some risks taken stylistically considering this company’s past work. I still want to emphasize that the game looks really, really good, though.

In Dread Templar, you play, you guessed it, a Dread Templar — A specially trained agent of the church(?) blasting your way through hell on an adrenaline-fueled quest for revenge. Most, if not all of the enemies you face are demons, and they’re pretty uniquely designed too. I definitely haven’t similar demon designs in other hell-invasion shooters.

Dread Templar Witch Image
Image: T19 Games

Gameplay-wise, Dread Templar feels like playing classic DOOM with cheats enabled. You have hordes of demons to fight, with both you and them having a variety of melee and ranged weapons at your disposal, but you move really, really fast.

I was really shocked at how quickly you moved in Dread Templar when I loaded into the tutorial, and it really seems like your insane move speed is the main mechanic determining how you engage each fight and level. Not only do you move quickly in a straight line, but you can gain further momentum by strafing while moving forward, you have a dash, and bullet time, which slows enemies but not yourself.

By the end of the first level, you’ll be feeling like Sonic The Hedgehog, but with a gun.. So, I guess like Shadow?

The speed in Dread Templar allows you to outmaneuver and outgun your enemies, which is important because they are all pretty tough and will kill you in just a few hits. Ranged enemies have projectiles, which you can dodge if you’re quick enough to catch them coming.

Interestingly enough, I found that ranged enemies made a firing sound slightly before any actual bullet left their rifles. This might be an intentional feature to get you looking at them before the bullets start flying.

At times, the speed in Dread Templar works both for and against it. In ULTRAKILL, you are expected to die often, and so respawning is quick and doesn’t set you back far. You’re expected to die a lot in Dread Templar too, but respawning is a somewhat lengthy load time compared to the fast-paced gameplay, and it kind of takes you out of it.

That, and there are lots of times when flipping a switch will trigger a ‘cutscene’ of a door opening. There is a pretty noticeable pause where the game seems to just freeze before taking you to these slow cutscenes, and it really kills the fast-paced flow the game was building up in combat.

Weapons have a pretty good variety. There are multiple weapons for each ammo type, with each one functioning pretty differently from others, though most really just feel like a direct upgrade to whatever you had before.

Dreadtemplar Super Shotty Image
Image: T19 Games

You start the game with twin pistols and katanas. Your pistols are pretty basic and low damage, but your katanas have a really fun throw mechanic that will one-shot most enemies. Pretty early on in the game, you will pick up the iconic Super Shotgun ala the DOOM series, and it became pretty hard to convince me to use anything else until I ran out of ammo — Especially with how quickly I could get up in the faces of my enemies.

And yes, you will run out of ammo frequently, especially with the shotguns. Remember to break crates, as they contain not only ammo but health pickups too. I missed a pile of crates just outside the first boss’s room when I was playing, and ended up having to defeat him with just my katana throw.

The Final Word

Dread Templar is a fun, retro shooter for those who want a modern take on a 90s gameplay formula. Simple, sweet, and bloody, this game is sure to entertain despite a few under tuned features.


Try Hard Guides was provided with a PC review copy of this game. Find more detailed looks at popular and upcoming titles in the Game Reviews section of our website! Dread Templar is available via Steam, GOG, and the Epic Games Store.

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  1. KordusCZ

    Dude, you are mixing developers and publishers… T19 made Dread Templar, Forgive Me Father is Byte Barrel

    1. Shaun Savage (Admin)

      Whoops, should be fixed now. Thanks!