Preview: Blending Modern and Retro Dread Templar Is a Killer First Person Shooter

Screenshot: Dread Templar

There has been an ongoing resurgence of retro style first person shooters—and as someone who has played first person shooters since Wolfenstein 3D and the original Doom I know a good retro style first person shooter when I see one. While it might look like Quake, Dread Templar blends the retro and the modern to create a fast and satisfying shooter—and it’s still in Early Access.

Dread Templar is a first person shooter where you play as a Dread Templar who traveled to the forsaken land to become “the demon’s worst nightmare.” And really, for an old school first person shooter, that’s the only impetus one needs to go slaying demons. If a game doesn’t have a story or an original premise, its forced to stand on gameplay alone—and Dread Templar is of the best retro styled first person shooters I’ve played in a while. You can obviously run at super-fast speeds, and shoot a multitude of guns, but there are some more modern touches added like dashing, and bullet time—even though the latter is almost as old as the games Dread Templar is trying to emulate.

Screenshot: Dread Templar

Each of Dread Templar’s levels are full of enemies to shoot, and secrets to find, as you collect keys and rampage down the halls of gothic temples while gibbing low poly enemies. The enemies themselves are a little run of the mill, but there’s a selection of weaponry that makes fighting them very fun. Dread Templar has the perfect mix of speed and shooting to feel like a great retro first person shooter. Most of the weaponry is pretty conventional for a retro shooter, like shotguns, pistols, and SMGs. But there are also some surprises, like a dual katana that can be combined to be a deadly spear, as well as a wrist mounted gun that shocks enemies, stunning them so you can dispatch them easier—there’s even a bow that has regenerating arrows. If you run out of ammo in Dread Templar, you’re don’t have to resort to using your fists.

There are a few other modern twists in Dread Templar, some that work for me, and others that don’t. I always appreciate a good progression system, and Dread Templar’s is pretty good. You find shards which unlock slots that you can set powerful runes into. These runes can change everything from how a weapon behaves to how your character does. Another modern addition is the lack of quick or manual saves—something I absolutely loathe. I hate relying on checkpoints in first person shooters—especially those that have any amount of platforming, which Dread Templar does.

Screenshot: Dread Templar

Dread Templar is available in Early Access, so that means it’s still in development. Currently, it feels great to play, but it’s not complete. According to its Early Access information on the Steam store page, the current version only has about 2/5 of the developer’s planned content. If you’re willing to wait for the full release of Dread Templar, you’ll have to wait over a year—its planned full release is fall of 2022.

If the recent rerelease of Quake makes you want more retro style first person shooting, Dread Templar might be the fit for you. It’s a great blend of modern and retro, with the only misstep being the lack of a quick save. But that’s a small complaint against a game with brilliant gunplay. I’m excited to see what the final product looks like once its complete.


Dread Templar is available now in Steam Early Access.




A Steam key was provided to us for this review.

If you like the video game, tabletop, or other technology content that Third Coast Review has to offer, consider donating to our Patreon. We are the only publication in Chicago that regularly reviews video games, and we cover lots of local Chicago-based events and more. If you want to contribute to our coverage of Chicago’s video game scene (and more) please consider becoming a patron. Your support enables us to continue to provide this type of content.

You can also catch us streaming games we’re reviewing and staff favorites on our Twitch channel.


Antal Bokor
Antal Bokor

Antal is video game advocate, retro game collector, and video game historian.
He is also a small streamer, occasional podcast guest, and writer.

Plan Your Life with 3CR Highlights

Join Our Newsletter today!