Forgive Me Father Review: A Descent into Madness

Getting to review Forgive me Father was a blast. A great mix of 2D and 3D elements along with shooting mechanics similar to Doom and Serious Sam make this game a charming and fast paced adventure through a Lovecraftian horror story. This nonstop blood bath is made by Byte Barrel and really shows off what a dedicated team of passionate individuals can make.

Forgive Me Father Review: A Descent into MadnessDeveloped by Byte Barrel and published by 1C Entertainment, doing a review for Forgive Me Father was a blast, it’s oozing charm and fun. With a great sense of style and nicely designed gameplay it’s a must for retro shooter fans, and worth a go for new gamers who might want a change of pace to modern FPS games. It could use some optimization, but that seems likely to come with post release patches. However, you can tell the developers had great time making it, and have a whole lot of love and knowledge of horror and old school shooters.

Navigate 3D environments filled with 2D monsters, all with a nice flair to the design. Its a blood soaked extravaganza of screenshot worthy moments, assuming you can find a moment to press the key. You’ll also see perhaps the most unrestrained amount of references and easter eggs I’ve ever seen in a game. But you can’t be mad at people for having a good time, I’m just glad they got an Evil Dead reference in there.

You can get Forgive Me Father on Steam for $19.99

Forgive Me Father - Exclusive Launch Trailer

 

Story – Two Characters and an Eldritch Mystery

Going into Forgive Me Father for the review, I found the story was a pleasant surprise. Testing out the early access it seemed like it would take a back seat to the gameplay. However, there is a lot more to the story in the full version. Scattered throughout the levels are clues that will shed light on what is happening. There are also some wonderfully animated cutscenes that give the game a sense of direction that was missing from the early access.

The plot is a classic eldritch horror. You play as a Priest or a Journalist who has received a call for help from your cousin to investigate disappearances in the town of Pestisville. The game has you uncover the mysteries of the town, coming up against cults, corrupt politicians, and waves of abominations. Don’t worry, your detective work happens down the barrel of a gun.

Notes and cutscenes deliver plot information

Notes and cutscenes deliver plot information

There’s also some good environmental story telling through enemy types and placement, along with a sufficiently creepy atmosphere (It’s hard to get too scared when you have so many guns). You’ll see liquidators disguised as nurses and police officers, showing the cults infiltration of the town.

Forgive Me Father manages to deliver a compact and engaging Lovecraftian story line without hampering the pacing. It could use a notes system so you can remind yourself of previous clues. It’s all the more important now with more subtle story elements being placed in.

All in all the story is more than enough for such a gameplay heavy product. It’s not going to blow your mind, with the focus being more on the action. But there’s some good twists and turns tucked into the story, and its tightly written so that things that should be anachronistic still makes sense.

Gameplay – Pew Pew Pew

The gameplay for Forgive Me Father remains the highlight for this game. Rapid pace action that’s reminiscent of older titles like Doom or Serious Sam. The developers have excelled in executing this kind of combat, with some great touches that make it stand out. The gunplay is smooth, with no reloading and no cover mechanics meaning you’ll be strafing through the environments unleashing a hail of lead.

Shooting and Skills

Forgive Me Father keeps the simple shooter style fresh with it’s additions to the basic formula. You have an extensive skill tree that provides essential buffs for the characters. The Priest favours a defensive playstyle, while the journalist encourages more aggressive play. Each character has its own set of abilities that you will need to make use of. The journalist can recover health with a melee ability, or slow time with cigarettes. The priest has a stun ability and a short invincibility power. These are well balanced, giving you the edge you need in certain scenarios, especially in the later stages when the game gets difficult. The abilities are never overpowered fortunately but provide that extra tactical element.

The Voodoo Doll deals damage to all around you

The Voodoo Doll deals damage to all around you

There’s a great variety of monsters which attack in different ways and from different angles. All of which are lovingly designed. It stop the game becoming too easy and repetitive. The monster AI keeps you on your toes. Theres a solid mix of ranged, melee and grenadier enemy types, that will engage you in different ways.

Your guns can also be upgraded, either enhancing their current abilities, or changing the weapon type. The Tommy Gun, can become a laser gun, or the submachine gun can turn into a grenade launcher. Each new weapon offers new approaches to situations, with some being more effective against certain enemies . For example Fatfish enemies can briefly split in two to avoid slower projectiles.

Madness and Map Design

There is also the madness mechanic which was a smart addition. For the story it makes sense that your character would lose touch with reality given what is happening, but it also works well for the gameplay. The more damage you deal, the higher your madness meter goes, which in turn makes you deal more damage and take less yourself. This resets after a short time if you don’t hit anyone. It’s reminiscent of Bloodborne in the way it encourages aggression over passivity.

It could use more ammo, but the laser Tommy Gun slaps

It could use more ammo, but the laser Tommy Gun slaps

The map design is also worth mentioning. With a retro shooter like this the levels themselves need to not only look good but function as effective shooting ranges. This aspect has been well tuned, with a strong use of verticality, cover and open spaces to let you fight effectively. They are also connected well, with doors looping you back creating a sense of progress and discovery, with relevant landmarks often being visible from early in the level to help guide you.

A Couple Issues

There is currently a problem with the gameplay however. Forgive Me Father needs some optimization. Ammo too regularly goes from modest to scarce. Depending on your weapon upgrades, you’ll use different types of ammunition, the problem being some guns share ammo, and others only rarely get more ammo. Especially later in the game there were long stretches where there was pretty much no ammo, making certain sections borderline unplayable. At times it made the review of Forgive Me Father a slog, as all I had were throwing knives.The leveling up system as well could use some tweaks. There’s great progress early on but towards the end you are levelling up very rarely, and you need the upgrades to survive the harsh final levels. These are minor but essential tweaks.

The gameplay is in general a retro blast, with buckets of passion thrown in. If you miss old school gameplay, you’ll get a blast out of this game.

Graphics and Audio – A Horror Comic come to Life

One of the best parts of doing a review for Forgive Me Father was the wonderful comic book style. The world is 3D with 2D models for the monsters and objects. It maintains this dark horror comic style with simple, but bold designs. The levels have also been fleshed out visually since the early access. The environments have a lot more going on in them which really helps bring the world to life.

Dark sections are tense, with monsters around every corner

Dark sections are tense, with monsters around every corner

The monsters all look phenomenal. The hand drawn designs are stunning. Each monster design is well thought out and creative, especially with them changing as they get damaged. For example, the Liquidators will melt if you damage their backpacks, zombies will replace their heads with a back up head if you shoot it off. It’s charming and goofy. It reminds me of Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead (These developers should take a shot and adapting that).

The visuals are dripping with style, and sometimes other gross things. The game is an absolute pleasure to look at, and really showcases the passion behind the project.

The audio is great as well. The weapons and monsters have great sound effects, even being unsettling for enemies like the mutants. They haven’t missed a bit in having great sound direction. There are some great soundtracks for different levels, but this can be buried under the pounding metal and techno that comes in for combat. It fits the game perfectly, but I wouldn’t blame you if you find it to be a bit much.

The review for Forgive Me Father was played on Steam with a Key provided by 1C publishing.

Summary
Forgive me Father delivers well on its premise. There’s a real sense of passion and identity to this game. From the story to the visuals to the level design, you can tell the developers have a lot of love for the genres they are working with. There creativity pays off with a great game that pays homage to retro games and films alike. Other than some minor issues that can be ironed out in an update, the game is a fantastic shooter horror that old and new gamers will get a kick out of.
Good
  • Great Gameplay
  • Beautiful Art Style
  • Good Story and Environmental storytelling
Bad
  • Needs Optimisation of ammo and levelling up
  • Could use a notes or journal system
8
Great
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