Forgive Me Father is a classic “Boomer Shooter” with a splattering of Lovecraftian Nightmare and a side of Mafia. Sounds like a good meal right? Let’s tuck in!
Note: The first half of this review is based on Early Access. Find our Version 1.0 update below.
Devil in a Midnight Mass
Forgive Me Father slaps you behind the eyeballs of a priest who is currently the only sane and human entity in the city that seems to be under siege from Cthulhu and other cosmic abominations. With a story mostly told through stuff you can pick up through the games’ stages such as newspaper clippings and the like, it’s not the best storytelling. These items have giant STORY marks slapped on them to ensure you don’t miss them. Your character occasionally weighs in on what is going on but as there currently isn’t any voice acting. It’s just a text box at the bottom of the screen.
So far the story is presented in a dull as dishwater way, which is a shame when the premise sounds SO good. Lovecraft and the Mafia should be a home run and unfortunately, the presentation really dulls it in the worst way.
The gameplay in Forgive Me Father has taken on the form of everyone’s favorite 90s throwback genre, the Boomer Shooter.
What is a Boomer Shooter? Well back in my day, we called it a Doom Clone! A first-person shooter in maze-like environments focusing on hunting different colored keys while gunning down demonic foes.
Forgive me Father doesn’t stray from the above formula, rather it clings to it. It offers minor deviations such as a skill tree and “side items” which work like rechargeable assists.
Madness plays a big part here and is expected being that it’s Lovecraftian. The more abominations you kill in succession or alcohol you find raises your madness mete. As this rises, you get stronger, take less damage and your side items refill. I couldn’t tell you why and feel it seems counterintuitive to “Madness”.
Forgive Me Father currently has 12 levels on offer which is a decent amount for Early Access. Each level lasts anywhere from 10 minutes upwards. There is plenty more content planned for the title too; this includes both further levels and another playable character: a female journalist.
The level design wildly flips between quite good to low quality and disappointing. Early on there is a rooftop level which is quite good and decent to look at. Unfortunately, to get to that you have a garden maze level where the doors look very out of place!
The enemies are great and actually have different attacks depending on the damage done to them. Some squid guards fire at you until you destroy their ammo tank, at which point they’ll bum rush you. That’s just one enemy type.
The game has predetermined save points and this is a bizarre sticking point for a boomer shooter. Usually, you have quick saves and regular saves. Here you’ll get mobbed by zombies and end up redoing the same bits over and over again due to a really uneven difficulty.
One hugely fatal flaw for the game was that sometimes it just would not register your mouse clicks for shooting. I’ve tried several different mice and cannot fathom what causes the issue. This has gotten me killed so many times in the game that it became tedious, which is a real shame.
The Man in Black
Visually Forgive Me Father absolutely nails it with a comic book visual style that feels ripped out of some obscure comic from the 90s.
While there are few frames of animation on the enemies, they are brilliant with what they do and give off a real “Doom” vibe. One animation I loved was when you would headshot some zombies who are carrying heads in their hands, they would replace the head and continue their assault.
The level visuals paint a brilliantly Lovecraftian town plunged into ruin by this curse and the oppressive rule of the mafia. The environmental storytelling here is top-notch.
At the moment it’s too early in development for me to cast a full judgment of Forgive Me Father. As it stands at the moment, its got some glaring bugs, iffy level design, and lacks polish to make it truly shine.
What the game does have though is some decent foundations, a great idea, and a fairly detailed road map on where it wants to be and when. At the moment sadly, the title needs to beg for a little more forgiveness for its sins.
Initial Score: 5/10
Full Release Update!
So here we are at the final release for Forgive Me Father. Despite the iffy first impression this game left me with, when I found out it was reaching completion I grabbed my Bible and decided to see just how different the game is now.
Get Me Pictures of Cthulhu
First off, we now have a journalist character to play as. She’s faster and more aggressive which suits how I play these boomer shooter titles. I had a great first impression of her. Her skill tree and abilities are unique to her too, which makes her stand out.
Secondly, the visuals just feel a lot tighter. The performance is much smoother in the more enemy-heavy sections. It can chug a little, especially with weather effects but the performance does feel like it has had a little improvement.
Sadly the doors still have some funky animations and I can only assume it’s something engine-level that causes the effect. It’s not a game-breaker, just a silly little nitpick from an old hat.
Playing Mind Games
The latter levels that have been added for the final release show how far the game has come on since early access. They are brilliantly creative and still hold the atmosphere of the early game’s levels.
You see less “Jank” as it’s better hidden or worked around and just continues to nail the vibe the developer had set out for players in the beginning.
The bugs are gone and the game feels like it has seen a little more balancing. It’s still a tough cookie but just a little fairer now. Thankfully the bug I’d mentioned prior has completely gone and let me tell you, game-changer.
The Sound of Silence
Even the sound has had some alterations for the release. No longer is it a silent affair in terms of vocals.
While not an issue I picked up on originally, the protagonists now have plenty of witty one-liners and observations as you mow down the legions of Lovecraftian monsters.
The story is now narrated too. This means that you can rest your eyes during the story sections after a hard night knocking whisky back and taking on Octopod people!
The Final Word
The duality of Early Access is that you get to play the game much earlier at the expense of it not being a full and finished product.
I wasn’t a huge fan of this in Early Access. It was a great idea but more of an unpolished diamond than something I would have raved about.
I’m glad I went back to this title in its final release as all the issues I had with the game have been addressed. It’s more of a complete package and meets the expectations I had when it dropped into my inbox many moons ago.
It’s with great and disturbed pleasure that I take back most of my grievances with Forgive Me Father, open my arms in my mentally weak state and offer my soul to Dagon.
The game drove me mad for all the wrong reasons in Early Access but that’s all been addressed. This along with the extras and tweaks has managed to drag this corpse from the depths of the ocean to the land of my favorite throwback shooters.
You need not ask for forgiveness anymore.
FORGIVE ME FATHER IS RECOMMENDED
Many thanks go to 1C Entertainment for a PC review code for this title.
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