Developed by Byte Barrel and published with 1C Entertainment, Forgive Me Father is best described as a classic feeling, or otherwise referred to: “Boomer Shooter”. Recent years have seen the booming return of the ‘movement’ shooter, and this title is a sure result of that…and plenty of passion. Let’s waste no time, and review Forgive Me Father.
This game is stylized Lovecraftian old-school FPS set in a comic book style world with a lot of 2D opponents in a 3D environment.
This game may contain content not appropriate for all ages: Frequent Violence or Gore. Violence against stylized human-like characters.They say it better than I ever could
How one derives fun from a product tends to be highly subjective. Therefore ALL forms of review are opinionated and should be taken with a grain of salt (this included). So let’s analyze Forgive Me Father through the lens of more objective metrics such as; graphical fidelity, characters/story, content/length, controls & gameplay, then finally, sound design & cinematics. This product was played on a 3080 10GB, 32GB Ram, with an i9-11900KF 3.5GHz. For full transparency: this content was tested using a copy of the game graciously provided by the developer.
First off, and what may be for some the most alluring draw: the gorgeously hand drawn visuals must be noted. Comic styling lends itself to Forgive Me Father giving it a unique flavour, that I initially thought was just going to be cell shading Borderlandsyness… Wow was I wrong. Delightfully so, I might add. Every Enemy I encountered was comprised of a 2D flat sprite inhabiting an otherwise 3D environment. At first It was jarring but once you stop fighting it, it grows on you. Hilariously, due to this game using the Unreal 4 Engine and it likely being difficult to hand draw/animate convincing flames – the fire effects are incredibly high quality (so much so that it feels out of place).
Weapon and blood effects look decent enough and pop out dramatically. You can almost visualize “Pows” and “cracks” splayed across the screen like a ’66 Batman film. Maybe that would have been a nice touch, maybe it’d have overwhelmed the already chaotic digital realestate. Who knows?
Performance wise, Forgive Me Father was perfectly passable. Until It completely shit the bed during a nameless enemy boss. While I’d ordinarily pass off a single instance as no big deal… a game with 2D enemies (even multiple moving fast) was tanking the performance of a 3080. Something here is badly optimized and probably should have been addressed in early access. That aside, however, and the game was smooth as can be at 144 Frames 3440×1440 with only occasional yet non-obstructive screen tearing.
Characters & Story
Forgive Me Father contains 2 primary protagonists in the form of the male Priest, and the female Journalist. Most of the story is told through either cutscenes (which we’ll address more later) and obtainable slips of information labelled “story” found throughout levels. Most are hard to miss, but some are hidden. Unfortunately, I didn’t find the writing very impressive. It ranged wildly from quite basic to well researched and effectively articulated. what’s too bad was the simplicity seemed more often than not. In all honesty, I wish there was more to get into here. A vague conspiracy and some Cthulhu hooligan-ism, but nothing that really gripped me.
The characterizations don’t really feel unique, with the Priest and Journalist acting as direct fill-ins for eachother within the context of the story. The catalyst for the events will always be ‘your’ cousin. And that’s fine in all honesty, this isn’t a character driven game. With each acting more like a “class” than individual with their own goals and motivations. Kill the baddies, what else is there?
But the true star here is really just the setting. It’s Lovecraftian cosmic horror that’s heavy on the nautical themes. Except you’re here to rip and tear instead of being afraid. It’s not so much what’s happening, but where it’s happening that’s exciting.
Content & Length
With more than a few references to other franchises & properties, Forgive Me Father feels like a home grown passion-project. From The Shining, The Evil Dead, to most noticeably H.P. Lovecraft, there’s more than a few details and easter eggs to find and enjoy. Don’t worry, I won’t spoil any.
Included in the game aside from the main campaign is also an endless mode. Where the campaign can take players 5-10 hours depending on difficulty and skill, the second character offers extra replayability as well. That aside, the game also includes a level system and an associated skill tree that can spice things up further. From possessed shotguns to straight up lasers, the choices – while limited, are pretty freakin’ cool. The game includes 5 difficulties, Very Easy, Easy, Normal, Hard and Expert. Can Confirm, past normal gets saucy. That being said, I think this game has some balance issues on some of the bosses that might need addressing. But maybe I just need to git gudder.
Levels end with a classic end match scorecard that includes kills, time, story bits found, etc. Perfect for refining a run, or just contributing to the oldschool experience.
Controls & Gameplay
For those of you that are familiar with the ‘DOOM clone’, you know what to expect. Frantic combat reliant on fast reflexes and sharp movement. Traversing levels to murder pretty much everything you see and finding keys to access new areas. Nothing groundbreaking here. Forgive Me Father wears its heart & inspirations on its sleeves with titles such as Wolfenstein and DOOM being at the forefront. I mean, the health photo even does the hurty-face health deteriorating thing. Cool! As is always the case with this type of shooter, reloading is for chumps and all ammo reservoirs reside in the singular big-boy clips. Though that’s not to disregard delays between shots – especially for single fires.
Controls are really standard, with WASD being movement, mouse to point and click to shoot. Spicy, indeed. Number keys and scroll for weapons, and you’re already bored… What matters is that they are hyper-reactive and sharp AF. If even on the little bit of the crisp side. Strafing is life because this game doesn’t do I-frames or hand holding. This game stacks damage like a DOT obsessed WoW twink.
The skill system also drastically effects gameplay and playstyles, as they vary for either character. Whereas the Priest has a lantern and the crucifix ability, the Journalist has a flashlight and a holy-flaming fuckoff sword. I won’t detail them all here, but there are 4 abilities each – enough to vary/tailor their individual experiences. But it still comes down to murder everything all the time super hard.
There’s also a save system at these homeless dude/relic things, but I found it was occasionally broken. In that, when I would die and try to proceed from the latest checkpoint it would start me from the beginning of the level. I could still manually load the save and all was well, but it was a minor annoyance. Moving on.
Forgive Me Father is at its best when players are mowing down hordes of enemies and balancing the chaos with the games “madness”. Madness builds during combat and can be used as a resource for skills and abilities. Additionally, the more players chain kills they deal increased damage building a sort of combat ‘momentum’, but their visual colours fade and things go monochrome. As the madness diminishes (rather quickly I might add) things will return to normal. I was hoping this mechanic would add a bit more zest to the overall experience, maybe adding whispers or other details to really sell the psychosis. Alas, I was yet to experience anything that would make me feel as If I had truly crossed the threshold of sanity.
Sound Design & Cinematics
The two aspects of the audio design that primarily stood out to me were both the voice acting, and the soundtrack. Firstly, while the voice acting for the Journalist is…passable, it’s not impressive. Generally pretty – meh. The Priest on the other hand I found much less grating. It just sounded to me as if the Journalist was punctuating every statement with a question mark. That being said, I consistently found myself too caught up in the frantic combat and shreddy music to be concerned with a weak line delivery.
Oh, yeah – the appropriately brutal and notice me DOOM Senpai soundtrack. If you’ve heard a Mick Gordon track you’ve got the gist. Hardcore guitar to audibly accentuate the onslaught at your fingertips.
Lastly, as previously mentioned; a large portion of the story is conveyed through incredibly comically (not haha comic) presented scenes. These use the same beautifully hand drawn style as the rest of the game to establish setting, plot and basic motivations. They do well enough to keep the story moving forward but as previously mentioned, could benefit from some keener writing chops.
Now look, the Steam Page has infinitely better screenshots than I was able to take that do far more justice to this title, and that is not a sponsored shout. Honestly, I just recommend Forgive Me Father. Not necessarily for everyone, but a certain gamer will find this to be a hidden gem at a bargain price. Looking for something fast paced, reminiscent of the 90’s shooters (with some modern oomph)? This just might be your jam. Solid 8/10. Where in some places it needs polish, it makes up for in others with a passionately focused experience.
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- Score - 8/108/10
+ Beautiful Hand Drawn Visuals
+ Crisp Gameplay
+ Surprising Replayability For Price
– Occasionally Weak Voice Acting
– Lagging Story/Delivery