Hardcore FPS and not much else
My favorite thing about indie games is just how different they’re allowed to be. Considering the sheer number of games that are released these days, it takes a lot to stand out, so I get excited when something genuinely catches my eye. That was the case with Forgive Me Father, a Lovecraftian FPS that was just released by Byte Barrel.
The art style has a comic book-inspired 2.5D look, and both the art and content of the game draw on the works of H.P. Lovecraft, which is always a lot of fun if you’re into the nihilist gothic horror kind of thing. The game does a fun job of pulling from the source material, and definitely nails the tone it was going for with its environments and sound design — I had to take regular Pokémon breaks in the middle because it was kind of creeping me out.
Forgive Me Father (PC)
Developer: Byte Barrel
Publisher: 1C Entertainment
Released: April 7, 2022
Inspired by the classics
Let’s talk gameplay, because that’s the star of the show here: the guns feel really good and punchy. For an FPS, this is the most important factor in my opinion, so it’s good that they got that squared away. You get a total of eight different weapons in Forgive Me Father, including your melee weapon, each of which you can upgrade over the course of the game. I found the upgrades really gratifying every time I purchased them, and I could feel a difference in how each weapon behaved afterward.
The base gameplay of running through different environments and, well, just shooting up different enemies felt very reminiscent of the early classics that defined the FPS genre like Doom and Wolfenstein 3D. The way the weapons worked, where you have a whole big batch of weapons to choose from, each of which has its own specific feel, reminded me a lot of how the guns work in series like Resistance. You also have secondary abilities that are on cooldowns that do things like healing you, stunning enemies, and so on.
While most of the game, you’re running through narrow, dimly lit corridors trying to find keys to get through doors (like I said, it feels very much like earlier entries in the FPS genre), every once in a while it would kick you out into a room full of enemies that you could just mow down. That was by far the most fun I had while playing Forgive Me Father.
Adding a new twist
There’s a skill tree where you can upgrade all of your guns, obviously, but you can upgrade your other passive and active abilities as well. Each upgradeable mechanic had some good options that really made me pause and think about what I wanted to choose, but it never felt like there were so many options that I was overwhelmed by them. One tip that I will share with you in case you pick up the game: make sure to purchase the upgrades that give you more XP per kill early on. Even with XP upgraded all the way, leveling can still feel a bit slow at times.
There is a semblance of story as well, but it’s only presented in little fragments that are more for flavor than any real narrative content. After a while, I just skipped engaging with the notes and artifacts altogether, because the game is so focused on its hardcore FPS-ness that the story really falls to the wayside.
Forgive Me Father has twelve levels in total, and after each one, you get a screen that shows you how many enemies you killed, what your time was, how many secrets you found, and so on. It’s perfect for anyone who loves arcade-style play and wants to perfect their run.
There’s also this “madness” mechanic that kicks in when you’re getting a lot of kills that makes it so you’ll be dealing more damage and taking less from enemies. Maybe it’s because I tend to be a more slow, strategic player who tries to line up headshots, but I personally didn’t notice the “madness” thing all that much. If you’re a speedy run-and-gun type of player, though, I have a feeling you’ll get much more out of it.
It’s a very specifically designed game for a very specific kind of player, so if you’re into classic FPS games with a little bit of a modern RPG twist, you will probably love this game. If you don’t particularly like playing shooters at a break-neck speed, it might be more of a diminishing returns situation the further you get into Forgive Me Father.
If you also like difficulty, this game is definitely for you. Now take this with a grain of salt because I am notoriously bad at any form of real-time combat, but I had to play through this game on the easiest difficulty. I know, I know, break out the torches and pitchforks.
Don’t get me wrong, though, Forgive Me Father still presented a formidable challenge for me on easy mode, particularly when it came to mini-boss rooms and boss fights. I probably added a good hour and a half to my playtime from dying repeatedly at these choke points, but overall the difficulty didn’t prevent me from enjoying the experience. Also keep in mind that if you play shooters even semi-regularly, you probably won’t have nearly as much trouble as I did.
A few sticking points
A few of the downsides — the game got to be a bit repetitive for my taste after a while. Some of the level designs were pretty creative, but after a while, even the better environments felt a bit tedious, and I was just ready to get to the end of the level.
This is also a small gripe, but an important one for me: there’s no quick melee. If you want to get in a quick melee jab to finish off an enemy who’s on the brink of death, you have to use the scroll wheel on the mouse or the numbered keys to select the knife, then you can melee, and then you have to do it all over again to go back to your gun of choice. When the name of the game is speed and ammo is precious, I was baffled that there was no quick-tap move.
You can’t change the sensitivity on either the movement or the aiming either, which was another issue for me. As someone who’s at a lower-than-average skill level, I prefer my mouse sensitivity to be a bit slower, but without that option, I kind of just had to suffer through it. Your movement speed is super fast, which can be helpful while running away from enemies, but I kept getting stuck on environmental obstacles because I was moving so fast I couldn’t keep track of where I was. Again, this is mostly a me problem, but in a game that relies so heavily on precise movements, I really would have liked the option to customize my settings.
Forgive Me Father is one of those games that I like more in theory than in practice, unfortunately. It’s got a solid premise, a really cool, unique art style, and a compelling RPG system, but it lacks a certain level of polish that would help make it a more memorable experience. I’d say if you’re a diehard FPS fan, you should totally give it a try, but if not, this might be one to skip.
[This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]