|System: PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Artematica||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Lighthouse Interactive||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: June 20, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Belief & Betrayal features fairly standard point-and-click gameplay. The ability to switch between several different characters to accomplish goals in different locations simultaneously is an interesting touch, but it's not implemented as thoroughly as it could have been. Unfortunately, the rest of the mechanics have been tweaked to make the experience more excruciating than necessary. This was probably unintentional, of course, but it is the end result. Looking at an item requires a single left-click, which often results in a brief stream of non-witty banter. To interact with an item you must then right-click to bring up the proper cursor then click on the item again - delivering more painful yammering in the process. This is mildly irritating to say the least.
The worst part is you often won't be able to pick up or otherwise interact with a particular item until you've inspected it (at least) twice. There's no real way to tell exactly when this is required. Players are forced to re-investigate almost every hotspot in the game, if they want to trigger the appropriate circumstances to receive crucial equipment necessary to proceed. In some instances, Danter himself will even attempt to deter you from further examining a crucial hotspot by whining or claiming it's a waste of time. When he does this, it's best to disregard him completely. Naughty, sadistic developers! It's very frustrating to get stuck only to have to revisit every interactive element in the current area you're in, in order to figure out what's needed to progress. This requirement is equally draconian and unnecessary.
Puzzles in the game rest somewhere at the opposite end of the spectrum. In all but a handful of cases, the item combinations and manipulations required to arrive at a solution are violently obvious. However, some are rather troublesome and require vast leaps of logic to overcome. It seems the main challenge the game poses to players is requiring them to summon the perseverance to continue forth, despite a multitude of signs that loudly suggest their time is far better spent elsewhere.
The game looks decent on a medium or low-end PC. Some cutscenes are grainier than others, though the backgrounds and environments are quite good. Aside from poor voice acting and technical issues with mouth movements during speech, the character models and movements are solid and believable. The visuals may be mildly disappointing to anyone who's accustomed to the visual marvels of current generation PC gaming, but they aren't bad overall. Occasional graphic blips and strange visual bugs pop up early-on. They don't really negatively affect the gameplay, and they disappear eventually.
Belief & Betrayal is more apt to irritate than titillate. Chances are it will run on your PC, but its humdrum story and unnecessarily tedious gameplay will leave you wondering why you bothered in the first place.
CCC Staff Contributor