Forgive Me Father Review: Make the Old Gods Pay

Forgive Me Father mixes the tried and true mechanics of classic FPS's with an atmosphere so thick it couldn't be cut through with a hail of bullets.

You've likely already played a few games like Forgive Me Father. That's not a bad thing (spoiler alert: it kicks ass), but understanding if you're going to like the game greatly depends on if you like the original DoomWolfenstein, or Quake.

Saying that Forgive Me Father wears its classical first-person shooter inspirations on its sleeves is a bit of an understatement based on just how much it borrows from them — again, not a bad thing.

Forgive Me Father makes excellent use of its inspiration by taking the classic arena shooter formula and adding just enough to have its own identity. It strongly stands out amongst the sea of "Doom clones" that gaming has seen over the years through its H.P. Lovecraft-inspired aesthetics and finely tuned run and gun mechanics.

Forgive Me Father Review: Make the Old Gods Pay

When Forgive Me Father starts, it asks you to choose which character you want to play as: a priest or a journalist. It says that the characters' abilities differentiate the playstyles associated with each, making the priest better for guarded, defensive play and the journalist best for aggressive combat.

I chose the journalist because I didn't spend four years getting a journalism degree not to be recognized for it, but it seems to have been the proper choice. Given the fast-paced run and gun gameplay loop of Forgive Me Father, I can't imagine that abilities that slow you down and put you on the defensive would fit with the rest of the mechanics.

Simply put: Forgive Me Father is fast. Your movement speed is extremely high, enemies track your position quickly, and the soundtrack mainly consists of blast beats and deathcore which adds to the overall blistering nature of the game. In general, the speed at which Forgive Me Father takes things feels quite good. It's like developer Byte Barrel not only took inspiration from classic Doom, but also from its most recent iterations.

The pacing in general is pretty solid as well. Each arena you're dropped into takes roughly 10-minutes to complete, changing up the scenery several times in an hour. However, it's something of a double-edged sword because Forgive Me Father's level design is a mixed bag.

Some levels end with you saying to yourself, "Wow, I would play that on repeat for five hours," while others can feel painfully slow, such as the late-game water and factory levels. Many of the poorly designed levels feel almost intentional and deliberate throwbacks to Forgive Me Father's old-school inspirations. Unfortunately, intentional or not, a poorly designed level just isn't fun to play and takes a lot of the wind out of the sails of the game's otherwise solid pacing. 

Forgive Me Father's steep difficulty curve is also an issue as you'll hit a difficulty wall around the second boss. It's something that made me turn the difficulty down so that I could even parse what was going on without dying.

That said, lowering the difficulty didn't hinder my enjoyment; the challenge wasn't part of the appeal. Exploring the eerie environments and discovering the best tactics to adopt when facing new, expertly-designed H.P. Lovecraft-inspired enemies is where Forgive Me Father shines the brightest.

In terms of a story, Forgive Me Father is extremely light. The intro cinematic tells you that your cousin seems to have been kidnapped by a Cthulu death cult, and you've headed into town to try and track them down. That's just about all you'll get.

Each level has a small peppering of hidden story elements to track down, but this isn't a game about story — it's about blowing the heads off of Lovecraftian horrors. Luckily, that's something that Forgive Me Father is extremely good at.

Along the way, your character provides a running narration of many of the events in each level. Unfortunately, they're probably the worst part of the game. The voice performance simply isn't very good and feels extremely out of place with its constant quips and jokes against the grim backdrop of shooting your way through the possessed inhabitants of a harbor town.

This voice acting almost feels like a temporary element that got thrown down the list of priorities until Byte Barrel gave up and decided to leave it in the game, only to be fixed later. Seeing as Forgive Me Father has had a long life in Early Access on Steam, that doesn't seem entirely out of the question, considering the voice-over lacks polish elsewhere. 

Specifically, when getting hit, jumping, or dying, the voice actor is completely different and, notably, always a man despite being able to choose a woman character. The VO isn't a dealbreaker by any means since the rest of Forgive Me Father stands confidently on its own. Still, it's emblematic of some of the polish that rubs off when examining some aspects of the game a little too closely. 

Forgive Me Father Review — The Bottom Line

Pros

  • Finely tuned, fast-paced shooting.
  • Excellent art design and soundtrack.
  • Generally good level design.
  • Good pacing.

Cons

  • Bad voice performances.
  • Lack of polish in areas.
  • Major difficulty spike.
  • Poor level design stands out in some areas.

While Forgive Me Father is a throwback to shooters' past, it brings a fresh take to a tired genre that many have moved on from. Although it falls into certain pitfalls that games have moved away from in terms of level design, there are enough fantastic areas to keep you glued to your seat in hopes of seeing its brilliance again.

There's a reason why Doom was so popular when it first debuted, and Forgive Me Father understands that and more to create an all-around ass-kicking experience where you turn out to be the final boss for the enemies, not the other way around.

[Note: Byte Barrel provided the copy of Forgive Me Father used for this review.]

Our Rating
7
Forgive Me Father mixes the tried and true mechanics of classic FPS's with an atmosphere so thick it couldn't be cut through with a hail of bullets.
Reviewed On: Steam

Contributor

If you're looking for him, Peter can usually be found dropping hot in Apex Legends with his friends. A fan of games of all types including JRPGs, third-person shooters and survival horror, Peter is a journalism graduate of North Central College and can be found writing for IGN, Digital Trends, and Gameranx, in addition to his work here at GameSkinny. Contact: peter.szpytek@gmail.com. Twitter: @PeterSpittech

Published Apr. 15th 2022

Cached - article_comments_article_71644
Related
More Forgive Me Father Content