A letter containing a chaotically worded call for help and a quick train ride. It opens like this Forgive Me Father, sui generis shooter, of the Byte Barrel, through an introduction that recalls the splash page of a comic.
For those who still remember the hours spent running around the arenas of Doom, Quake and especially B, Forgive Me Father it will be a pleasant surprise: this retro lovecraftian fps perfectly complements that kind of heart-pounding gameplay with elements borrowed from modern shooters. Does this mix work?
Forgive Me Father, or fear and delirium in Pestisville
In a shooter, history is certainly not the first aspect to keep an eye on. Nevertheless Forgive me Father does a great job in this department. The plot opens with a mysterious disappearance and is reconstructed, by the player, through numerous clues scattered around the maps and marked, precisely, as "story".
These elements are not simple pop-up texts but photographs, letters, telegrams. For anyone who has played the Call of Cthulhu, are very reminiscent of the "cut-out" clues of the adventures for the paper RPG. While such clues aren't critical to completing the game, they are a pleasant diversion while you catch your breath.
The story will accompany us for less than five hours, incredibly dense and full of different environments and enemies. The protagonists will be a country shepherd and a journalist, differentiated above all by the skills they can acquire. There will be twists and turns.
But what would a shooter be without enemies ready to throw themselves on our bullets? Also here Forgive me Father does not disappoint: they range from zombies to cultists, passing from patients of a creepy hospital to bizarre flying creatures. Here too, we will find the videogame version of the Dwellers of the Deep and a vast plethora of other creations from Myths. Alongside the normal enemies there will be, albeit a few, memorable bosses.
"What can live forever is not dead, but with a shower of lead even death can die"
The game manages to be a perfect alchemy of detective story and "old school" shooter. On the one hand, there are clues to read and link together to make sense of the events. On the other hand, there are beautiful three-dimensional maps with “cardboard” enemies like in the old shooters of Id Software o Monolith.
A mysterious atmosphere that invites caution will alternate with large arenas in which we will fight at an incredibly frenetic pace. It is precisely in the arenas, cleverly placed near the save points that the game unleashes its splatter soul. It is easy to recall the glories of Doom.
In our arsenal there will be the classics, such as pistols and machine guns, but also much more futuristic weapons and even a “possessed” version of the shotgun, to be unlocked through a skill.
Some objects in the maps also enrich our options. For example, it will be possible to decimate the hordes of enemies by blowing up petrol cans placed almost everywhere. The funniest parts of the shooter experience are the answer from Forgive me Father ai gore nest di Doom: in some maps, almost always closed rooms, portals will be activated that will materialize a high number of enemies in the room. What will remain in the end will be us out of breath and a nice slaughter scattered around the map.
What are the RPG components in Forgive Me Father?
As anticipated, the game enriches the classic formula of a retro fps with a welcome possibility of customization: the two protagonists, in fact, will acquire levels to spend in the two intricate skill trees.
This "RPG" component of the game allows you to customize your experience as much as necessary, without however favoring one "build" over another: for example, you can "learn" to wield two guns instead of one, transform a submachine gun into a futuristic energy weapon or simply upgrade one of your special abilities.
During the adventure, both the reporter and the pastor will have access to useful skills to defeat the hordes of enemies. We mention without too many spoilers the shepherd's crucifix, which will allow him to regenerate a part of the life points. Unfortunately, it must be said that the balance between the two characters is not exactly perfect and after two playthroughs, our priest proves to be much more useful thanks to his skills.
Next to the inevitable bars of life points and armor, we will have a counter of the "madness". This resource will increase by facing the hordes of monstrosities that the game will throw at us but also by reading some books and will allow you to increase the damage inflicted and the resistance to it, or to use the skills that characterize the two characters. However, the system never seems to be implemented "against the player", granting no penalties.
Also worth mentioning is our trusty lamp: in the darkest environments, you will have to choose whether to illuminate the corridor in which you are walking or whether to continue holding a weapon but seeing absolutely nothing. Luckily, the change between lamp and weapons is very quick, but it helps to increase the tension.
Difficulty saving in Forgive Me Father
As for the difficulty, if the first few levels are affordable enough, the final arenas are unforgiving. At all times, however, the best tactic remains a kiting continuous, aimed at absolutely avoiding ending up surrounded. In spite of the frenetic pace of the clashes, moreover, it will always be necessary to keep an eye on the ammunition, to avoid wasting the most effective weapons on the most fragile monsters.
You will not be able to save your progress freely in the game. However, once you understand the structure of the maps, it will be possible to return quite easily to the save points, represented by stems that resemble our favorite Ancient. Unfortunately, the choice not to allow free bailouts inevitably leads to a more cautious and thoughtful approach, not a little breaking the pace of the game. It is therefore advisable, for those who want to enjoy a faster and more frenetic experience, to choose the standard one from the five difficulty levels, or even go a notch below.
Strolling through the swamps, hospitals, labyrinths of Forgive Me Father
All the locations will be typically Lovecraftian and we will find ourselves wandering through a swamp, cautiously advancing into a hospital, or getting lost in the inevitable cemetery. There will also be parentheses on the roofs, in which we will move hopping from one building to another. To all this we add even more original environments, which we avoid revealing. The structure of the maps offers some variety and some of them will be familiar to those who have played the former Quake or the ancient ones Doom: low roofs, labyrinthine layout, a continuous running through corridors already traveled in search of the door to the next location.
The level design of the first half of the game undergoes a quite drastic change at some point. If on the one hand the maps suddenly seem less inspired, on the other the fights become decidedly difficult and the hordes more aggressive. However, it must be said that this variation is in line with the typically Lovecraftian epilogue of history.
A feast for the eyes (and ears)
The graphic choice of the developers immediately catches the eye: those who liked it years ago XIII, a shooter made using the cel-shading technique, cannot fail to love the work of the Byte BarsThe graphics from the comic book of the game. The "comic" component is in fact even more present in Forgive Me Father, with two-dimensional enemies and a decidedly more "manual" trait. If the originality of the graphic style weren't enough, a skilful use of filters and colors makes the visual experience even more unique. The image in some more disturbing situations will become blurry, while when we are forced to escape from an avalanche of bodies that threatens to swallow us, here is the screen tinged with an increasingly intense red. The external maps are further enriched with excellent atmospheric effects: finding yourself in a cemetery in the pouring rain and seeing ghouls illuminated by the glow of lightning is a certain effect.
Not even the sound sector is joking. The feedback of the weapons is great, the creepy monster sounds and the sound effects always spot on.
Speaking of audio, it is still the music that reigns supreme, becoming pressing in the most excited scenes with excellent metal riffs or becoming a suggestive dark ambient when exploring new locations or moving in complete darkness.
Is Pestisville worth a visit, then?
Definitely yes, at least for the writer. In just under five hours we find ourselves in a world of captivating design, the protagonists of an intriguing story that extends over numerous environments. All armed to the teeth.
In Cthulhu, as in the heart, it is not commanded!