Forgive Me Father is a great run ‘n’ gun shooter, which, despite its highs, can really overstay its welcome. Throwing you into a very unique world inspired by the works of HP Lovecraft, it will charm you quickly. However, as you enter the latter stages, the attempts at variety fall flat, and you’ll find yourself more frustrated than anything.
You can choose to be either a journalist, which I picked, or a priest. This is where the game offers some realism — the journalist has two abilities that involve smoking. They drink a lot and also say one-liners that they think are hilarious but aren’t remotely funny. The game has a gentle introduction and drip-feeds new weapons and abilities as you progress through the stages.
The options are there in combat, you have a wide variety of weapons, and they can all be upgraded alongside the four abilities. The expansion is exciting, but if you’re clever with abilities, you’ll effectively be done with the skill tree by the middle or latter stage of the game.
Easy does it. Forgive Me Father starts off extremely well.
HERE’S TO BRILLIANT AND BLOODY BEGINNINGS
It starts off well, a tutorial stage that ultimately does the job, before leading you into shorter stages, and importantly, you’ll find where you are in terms of the difficulty. Now, this is a port of a PC game and the developers here provided an admirable amount of options to compensate for the lack of a mouse, with five different difficulty modes and four levels of aim assistance. And make no mistake, this game is difficult.
A tidy results screen at the end of each stage encourages replaying, highlighting what secrets you discovered or missed, how many enemies you killed, and oddly but amusingly, whether you destroyed a certain amount of barrels. The middle stages are comfortably where the game is at its best — the early stages are pretty brief, but the 10-minute mark is where the level design shines brightest. You’ll relish the chance to have a huge firefight where the balance of frantic and fairness is accomplished with finesse. It is so much fun.
You’ll be running through stages, enjoying the boss fights when they arrive, and finding the sense of progression by upgrading guns to be really satisfying. At this stage, I loved the game.
The middle stages are comfortably where the game is at its best — the early stages are pretty brief, but the 10-minute mark is where the level design shines brightest. You’ll relish the chance to have a huge firefight where the balance of frantic and fairness is accomplished with finesse. It is so much fun. You’ll be running through stages, enjoying the boss fights when they arrive, and finding the sense of progression by upgrading guns to be really satisfying. At this stage, I loved the game.
Yet it starts to throw just a bit too much at you, and it becomes a slog. It is confusing when a game that has very floaty movement decides it wants to be a platformer when it just isn’t built for it. Stages become a bit too long, and you’ll find yourself wanting a map function on a few levels, which do become poorly designed. A section later on has a particularly cruel area that throws far too many enemies at you, your resources will become stretched, it introduces conveyor belts, which the physics of the game do not handle well at all, and it still has another particularly rough section almost immediately after. The charm wears off.
BOLD CHOICES, MIXED RESULTS
As for graphics, well, they work for the art style. It aims for a dark horror fantasy approach, mixing a lot of 2D within 3D spaces. It works for what it is, but honestly, you’ll know from the pictures you’ve already seen in this review if the art style is for you or not. It worked for me, but I can see why it might not for others.
Musically this really depends on your opinions of the hard rock genre, as when you are getting swarmed with enemies this will kick in with quite some force. I didn’t mind it personally, and it does compliment the game well.
The only consistent time I noticed a performance issue with the title is when, not long after loading, you will get one moment where the game will freeze for a second, but sometimes for closer to five. This, of course, does not help when a save point is close to a precise jump, which thankfully only happens on two occasions.
If you are looking for the plot to drive you through these difficult last stages, then you are out of luck. It is lackluster and tough to put together where you find disparate notes spread around stages that you’ll need an extremely strong memory to confidently put the pieces together. For those of you who played Nintendo’s Metroid Prime series, it is similar to that, and the approach works in that franchise, but in this run ‘n’ gun, it doesn’t help carry the game at all.
I’LL ALWAYS REMEMBER THE GOOD TIMES
That latter section of the game killed my interest in the title, I still completed it, but only for the sake of this review. I really liked this game, until it tried its level best to get me to hate it. It succeeded in both in equal measure.
They have already announced a sequel to this title and it definitely warrants one. With some smarter storytelling, better stage design, and variety, this could be a 10/10 game, but instead, this falls considerably. It punishes you a lot in the second half of the game, but you won’t forget how much fun it had been up to that point.
You can buy Forgive Me Father on PSN here.