Forgive Me Father (Xbox Series) Review

Auto-aim fhtagn! Auto-aim fhtagn!

Forgive Me Father is a Lovecraftian cosmic-horror shooting gallery that feels satisfyingly traditional compared to many recent retro-inspired FPS. There’s some light platforming and you’ll need to hop over some boss attacks, but the bulk of the game plays out closer to the 2.5D style of the original Doom games.

You’re mostly battling gruesome hordes on the same plane, maybe with a few elevated ranged attackers or grenadiers complicating things. Keeping mobile, kiting enemies, and weaving between deadly projectiles are all essential skills. Once you’ve got movement down, you can get on with the task of picking out priority targets, exploiting conveniently placed explosive barrels, and juggling optimal weapons and abilities to stay alive.

Knowing where you are in space is vital to survival and challenging given Forgive Me Father’s mid-90s approach to level design. You alternate between tight corridor ambushes and chaotic arena battles that lock you in until the last enemy falls; you hunt for red, blue, and gold keys that inevitably trigger an ambush the moment you pick them up; you hoover up health, armour, and ammunition in preparation for the next battle; and you explore dark corners or side paths for secret weapons and the odd Easter Egg.

Running with the “classic” theme, the story is barebones to the point it can be ignored outside of the cutscenes and many levels are barely connected. There are scattered notes and environmental details literally labelled “story”, though most are simple flavour text. What the narrative really provides is an excuse to traverse creepy locations – think ruined towns, decrepit hospitals, sprawling catacombs, sinister laboratories, cult hideouts, and Cyclopean ruins – while blasting apart a growing roster of hideous creatures like zombified townsfolk, tentacle-sprouting soldiers, a myriad of crustacean/human hybrids, deranged cultists, demons, and massive bosses – many of them inspired by the Cthulhu Mythos.

Unlike its classic inspirations, manual save-points mean you can’t just save-scum your way through difficult encounters. Thankfully, there are two modern features to offset the escalating challenge. The first is a “Madness” mechanic – essentially a constantly draining combo meter that rewards aggression with increased damage output and resistance.

The second is an experience and skill-tree system that offers mutually exclusive upgrade paths for both your traditional arsenal – think pistols, shotguns, and rifles – and powerful abilities that improve the Priest’s survivability and the Reporter’s crowd-control. Typically, you’re choosing between an enhanced conventional weapon or ability; a more powerful weapon variant with less frequent ammo drops; or passive buffs to total ammo capacity, health, and armour.

Forgive Me Father reporter skills

As for how Forgive Me Father plays on console? It’s decent though also telling that auto-aim on the weakest setting often feels like the highest setting in similar games. The reason, I think, is a combination of the restrictive level design that pushes you to dispatch priority enemies quickly, and the comic-book-inspired retro presentation. In the chaos of battle, it’s often hard to gauge hitboxes when sprites constantly swivel to face you and cycle jerkily through limited animation frames.

On the upside, Forgive Me Father looks crisp and runs great on current-gen consoles. Stylised effects ensure your arsenal feels impactful and it’s immensely satisfying to watch gore splatter the environment as enemies crumble into gruesome remains – all while the great soundtrack ramps up and down between moody exploration tracks and metal battle tracks.

Forgive Me Father ca'tharsis boss

Overall, Forgive Me Father is easy enough to recommend to console fans who enjoy retro-FPS – especially if your preference is for the classic DOOM or Build Engine remasters, rather than fully-3D FPS like the Quake or Turok remasters. Just know that the limitations of a gamepad always make it tough to find a balance between assisting the player and making them feel skilful. Unless you’re insane enough to disable auto-aim entirely, Forgive Me Father can feel a little too keen to help you land headshots.

Forgive Me Father was reviewed on Xbox Series S|X using a code provided to gameblur by the publisher. It is also available on PC, Xbox One, PS4/5, and Nintendo Switch.

Forgive Me Father (Xbox Series) Review

Forgive Me Father (Xbox Series) Review
8 10 0 1
Total Score

The Good

  • Satisfyingly traditional shooting
  • A hideous roster of Lovecraftian monsters to slay
  • Powerful abilities and skill-tree upgrades
  • Distinctive visual style, plenty of gore, and a metal soundtrack

The Bad

  • Minimal storytelling with barely connected levels
  • Playing without auto-aim is a nightmare...
  • ...but playing with auto-aim feels a little too assisted
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