Have faith hijo

Sometimes you stumble upon independent releases that have cool artwork, you browse a few images on their Steam page reel and proceed to add them to your wishlist. You come back a year or so later during sales, check them out more thoroughly and can't understand why they made it into your list. On the flip side, there are games that at first don't seem to resonate with you. First impressions are very important, they say. However, knowing better than anyone, my fellow reader, that a book should not be judged by its cover, you look at it again. You wonder what the fuss is all about. You search for gameplay footage to uncover its qualities. One such case is FAITH (or FAITH: The Unholy Trinity, as its final release was titled).

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FAITH: The Unholy Trinity, is not a game you'll show to your friends to brag about the capabilities of your new PC. Chances are that most people will see a few pictures and pass it by with a smirk, thinking "what a pixelated mess is this", "I'm too old for this sh*t", etc. Personally I didn't have high expectations. I got the vibe FAITH was trying to convey to some extent, but I thought the graphics would ultimately be a hindrance to being immersed in its world. About 10 hours later, I'm really trying to put my thoughts in order. What the hell happened here??

I find your lack of FAITH disturbing

September 1987, USA. The common people fall asleep in front of their TVs watching baseball games, advertisements for workout equipment and tele-evangelists slapping their flocks of believers to cure them of "evil". A series of ritual crimes and suicides ignite the Satanic scare. With it comes the demonization of metal music and bands, books, board games like Dungeons & Dragons, and television programs. It is on this theme that FAITH: The Unholy Trinity treads with confidence. But while leaving an open window to the possibility of demons and malevolent entities existing, which makes things more interesting, wouldn't you agree?

Gary is our friend. Gary wants what's best for us.

The protagonist in FAITH is Father John Ward. He witnessed the exorcism of young Amy Martin, an exorcism that did not go well. Unable to overcome his guilt and tormented by nightmares, he decides to return to the Martin home. He senses that something is waiting for him there. He feels he has unfinished business. His investigation will lead him to dilapidated cemeteries, decadent apartment buildings and the inner sanctum of a satanic cult that has something big in the works. The title is divided into 3 chapters. The first is the shortest of these and involves his attempt to confront his demons from the past. The second takes us to an old graveyard where reports speak of disappearances of people who have passed through there. As a bonus there is a prologue to this chapter, introducing the protagonist's mentor, Father Garcia, perhaps the most based priest in the history of the medium. The third chapter, which is by far the longest, begins at the clinic where Amy was working and the first signs of change in her behavior had been observed.

Mortis comes in many forms.

The devil is in the details

Regardless of where the road takes us, the settings exude desolation, darkness and loneliness. The game never pretends to be a big production or to give us a vivid representation of the horrific scenes we will encounter. The moments that are accompanied by complete silence or there is some hint of ambient music audio glitches, repeating in an almost hypnotic loop, are usually the ones that make our blood run cold. Even the speeches that are present, though they sound like they come from within a semi-functional Speak & Spell, contribute to the immersion. In fact, it is said that some distorted speeches and screams come from actual exorcisms, which gives FAITH extra cult status points.

In the similar vein are the graphics, which make the game look like something that would run on an Atari 2600 or an Apple II. But anyone who thinks they're going to experience an 8-bit era horror wannbe like Friday The 13th, Halloween, etc. is woefully mistaken. The visuals leave room for the mind to fill in the gaps. In contrast to the less is more approach come the game's cutscenes, which use the rotoscoping technique and are a work of art in themselves. The horror is there. It's real, with no gimmicks, about dangers that may or may not exist. It doesn't pretend, nor does it promise cheap delights. I found myself worrying about what lies around the next corner. You don't have to have five boogeymen screaming in your face to achieve terror. It should be mentioned, however, that there are some very effective jump scares in FAITH, but the emphasis is no doubt on pure fear of the unknown.

Visual art stimulates the imagination. It doesn't take much here to discern the tree decorated with Rudolf's remains.

As far as gameplay is concerned, the simplicity of the title is present here as well. And it makes sense since it tries to be faithful to the spirit of similar titles of the era, from which it has been influenced. Our character moves through various areas and either avoids the various threats or uses his cross to fight them. You should keep in mind that the cross doesn't (usually) stop instantly the nefarious beings that want to wear your skin, so keep your distance until you've exorcised them. Beyond that, it can be used to purify various items (an action that leaves behind notes that unravel FAITH's story) and in environmental puzzles. Exploration is often rewarded with secrets and optional encounters that lead to different endings (multiple for each chapter). It's remarkable considering that similar old games had more simplistic structures.

Double Crucifix flashing: YOU HAVE NO HOPE DEMON.

Better the Devil you know

Let's be honest. FAITH: The Unholy Trinity is not a game for everyone. And that's not something we're holding against it. The faithful (you saw what I did here) who choose to follow its, admittedly, arduous path will be rewarded with a genuinely, devilishly creepy experience. And remember... Gary loves you.

I would like to thank the Holy See for their permission to use prohibited content in this presentation.

Go to discussion...




Faith: The Unholy Trinity is able to immerse you in its suffocating, creepy atmosphere with meager means and no cheap tricks. And that can be considered a small miracle!

Παναγιώτης Μητράκης

As a kid of the 80's, he began his journey into gaming with coin-ops and the classic Game Boy. He found some respite with his beloved SNES and got into PC gaming in 1998, with landmark games like Half-Life and Baldur's Gate. He doesn't steer clear of (almost) any genre but has a predilection for RPGs and survival horror and tries to introduce others to Silent Hill, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. and the creations of Looking Glass and Obsidian.

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