Fade to Silence – Review
Follow Genre: RPG
Developer: Black Forest Games
Publisher: THQ Nordic
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Tested on: PlayStation 4

Fade to Silence – Review

Site Score
7.0
Good: Overal good concept and ideas
Bad: Accumulation of small problems
User Score
7.5
(4 votes)
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Rating: 7.5/10 (4 votes cast)

Winter is coming. This sentence is burned into the minds of an entire generation and while Game of Thrones is coming to an end, the phrase will no doubt be used as a meme for eternity. So, when Fade to Silence came along, there was no escaping the Game of Thrones reference.

Story

In the not so distant future the world turns into a post-apocalyptic frozen wasteland and global warming might not even be the culprit. The people that survive need to face off against extremely harsh weather conditions. To make matters worse, nature itself is corrupted by the Eldritch monsters that caused the apocalypse. They look like they could have run away from a horror movie. Mysterious floating structures fill the skies with immanent doom. You are Ash, a strong man, father of a girl named Alice who is trying to build a refuge for other survivors. However much more is going on, you seem to have a special connection to the corruption and the source. Every time you die you are transported back to the point where you began, an old temple room inside a mountain. You’re brought back to live by a black ghostly floating creature who seems to be the cause of everything. He enjoys your failure and seems to feed off it. This is a great yet mysterious start of the story. The story then takes a step back and survival takes over. The evolvement of the story then comes from finding other survivors and integrating them in your refuge. They all have their own backstory. As much is left open for you to explore the story progression is irregular. There is not much driving it forward, which is a side effect of having an open world, but some games handle it better than others.

Graphics

The graphics are decent but not the best, not what we have gotten used to. The snow effects and the portrayal of the weather is overall good which is a mayor part of the experience. Having a fresh pack of snow to run through after a blizzard is great. Alice the daughter of the main character Ash also makes a snow angel which was very well done. Character models and enemies are ok but also not special. The enemies are all designed very well and look distinct and scary.

Sound

As the title already gave away, silence is an important factor in the game. If you are travelling through a devastated wasteland of snow, it’s pretty quiet out there. The music feels like classical music that is being carried by the howling winds. It adds dread and despair to the game but isn’t intrusive. The weather and snow sound effects are good and add to the overall feeling of winter and isolation. The Eldritch monsters also have their distinct sounds, it might be better to avoid an area if you hear them before you can actually see them.

Gameplay

Fade to Silence is a survival adventure RPG in an open world. Let’s talk about the survival part first as this game added in some elements that make it different from other RPGs. While in most RPGs survival means not getting killed by enemies roaming the countryside, in Fade to Silence you also need to deal with the weather. Due to unknown reasons the world has become a corrupted frozen wasteland. This means dealing with the cold by lighting a fire occasionally to recover and not freeze to death is something you’ll have to get used to. Lighting a fire requires a sheltered location and some firewood. Mind you, firewood is not something you can come by easily in this game, many of the trees are corrupted or require tools to be chopped down. Early on in the game you will be making trips back and forth from your basecamp to the surrounding areas to gather basic materials and craft basic tools to survive. As you progress through the game you’ll discover new shelters and are able to recruit other survivors that can take over some of the material gathering for you while you expand your base camp.

As any self-respecting RPG has an inventory system and Fade to Silence is no exception. Ash has his own personal inventory with the items he is carrying at that time as well as a stash in his camp. Resources are scarce so collecting anything you find is only limited by your inventory size. These resources will allow you make fires which are mandatory for survival but also let you craft new items that should help making survival easier. A useful tool early in the game is a simple axe, not only can you use it to defend yourself as well as chop down trees for wood.

As humanity learned early on, it is easier to survive in group. During your exploration you will run into other survivors. These survivors can join your group, and all bring unique personalities, abilities and stories to the table. You can put them to work to gather resources which takes some work out of your hands. Once you have at least one follower you can also enable co-op. The A.I. of the other survivors isn’t always as awesome as you would like. They might get stuck, so sometimes you need to micromanage them. This is a minor nuisance compared to earlier bug where a survivor could fall of the map and be lost forever.

You can’t survive without fighting a monster once in a while. The combat is not very special and contains basically what you’re already used to from other games. You have a stamina bar which limits the amount of actions you can do consecutively. Moves are split into offensive and defensive moves. If you want to attack you have the choice between a quick but light attack or a slow but heavy one. To defend yourself you have the option to either try to dodge or block incoming attacks. These basic functionalities are implemented well but are not very exciting. You can craft more advanced melee weapons or a bow later in the game.

Dying does not result in an immediat game over, when you perish you lose a life so to speak and are returned back to where the game originally started. You are brought back alive by the same black ghostly floating creature that revived you at the start of the game. During the game this creature will also often whisper threatening messages in your ear. If you run out of lives the game starts over and you lose your progress but you gain a skill that carries over to the new game.  This could be an extra life or a nice stack of firewood to begin the new game with. The game world is reset and you start over much like any Groundhog Day inspired movie. This can get rather frustrating if the deaths feel undeserved because of poor combat controls.

While games often take you by the hand and exactly tell you where to go next, Fade to Silence does not. When your active quest becomes ‘Survive, explore and uncover the past’, you are free to go in any direction without any guidance. The intention is good but sometimes you just don’t know what to do and you miss clear focus. Since at first, you’ll be on foot crossing the map several times which makes you feel lost. Later on, when you have a sled pulled by wolves and closing big distances get les annoying.

Conclusion

Fade to Silence is an average game with a lot of potential like winter survival, co-op, story development, survivor management and fighting, but suffers from the imperfection of those same features. The Story could be more engaging, the AI and pathfinding of the other survivors isn’t always great and the co-op isn’t always smooth. It feels like more could have been done with the fighting and diversity of enemies. While it is also clear that the team has fixed and might fix several more issues in the future, you might still run into things that utterly ruin the otherwise fine experience.

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Rating: 7.5/10 (4 votes cast)
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Fade to Silence - Review, 7.5 out of 10 based on 4 ratings
Rex
Rex


I am an Illustrator/Artist who studies Concept Art and Game Design in my free time. Designing things is in my blood and I am always very curious in making games. Motivated and dedicated to become better in every way I can. You only live once and I intend to fully enjoy it! As for gaming itself I do prefer to play the following games: FPS, RPG, Action Adventure Games, Fighting Games, Hack and Slash.

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