Fade to Silence (Xbox One)
Fade to Silence is a single-player and co-op survival adventure set in a post-apocalyptic world that is frozen in an eternal winter. Snow and ice have shaped a merciless landscape. Nature is corrupted. Monstrous creatures out of an Eldritch horror dream roam the frozen wasteland.
- Tense atmosphere and unforgiving gameplay. This is a strategist’s game.
- An exploration mode lets you roam the world and experience the story at your own pace.
- Explore a vast winter landscape: The launch version lets you explore a river delta, a dense forest region and cultivated farmland of an 8km² area.
- Wolf Sled Expeditions: Pack your sled, take a follower with you and engage in long-term expeditions into the farthest regions.
- Recruit followers to get access to better gear, enabling you to survive the cold environment and increasingly dangerous creatures.
- Lead your followers and keep them alive. You will face harsh moral choices.
- Battle increasingly dangerous Eldritch creatures that roam an apocalyptic world.
- 2 player co-op gameplay (once the host player has recruited the first follower)
- Trust your inner voice. It is your friend.
Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
OS: Windows 7/8/10 64bit
Processor: Intel Core i5-2400/AMD FX-8320 or better
Memory: 12 GB RAM
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760 or AMD Radeon R9 270 (2gb or more)
Storage: 30 GB available space
Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system
OS: Windows 10 64bit
Processor: Intel Core i7-3770/AMD FX-8350 or better
Memory: 16 GB RAM
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 or AMD Radeon RX 480
Storage: 30 GB available space
April 30, 2019
PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4
Developer: Black Forest Games
Publisher: THQ Nordic
Rating: M (Mature)
Fade to Silence sees the unnamed protagonist waking up to a frozen, post-apocalyptic world that is ravaged by blizzards and nightmarish creatures with a penchant for stabbing humans. You’ll gather resources, build structures, recruit survivors, protect your camp, fight, and try to survive. Death isn’t always permanent, but the unrelenting cold and your enemies will always be there to welcome you back. Are you ready?
Language: I thought there was little to no language, until I ran into a different survivor who, according to her bio, “curses like a sailor.” Many F’s and S’s followed.
Violence: Monsters attack with stabbing, slashing, and impaling attacks. Blood spurts in small amounts, but no gore. Players can also die from starvation or freezing to death.
Magic: The main character is resurrected upon death by what appears to be an evil spirit. Said spirit taunts you often in the game, especially when you try to do certain things. Players can “cleanse” areas with a QTE on a particular enemy.
In the first few minutes of Fade to Silence, you don’t learn the main protagonist’s name, or the name of the deep-throated spirit that resurrects him, or why he wants to resurrect the protagonist only to taunt him at every turn, even so far as to encourage him to lie down and die. All you really know is that the protagonist was dead, had a camp that is now in flames and shambles, has a daughter named Allie, and monsters that look halfway between the Demogorgon and the Thing are everywhere, along with evil-looking red tentacles.
This is a good example of how much of the game goes: you’re dropped in and left to explore the frozen wasteland with little direction after a couple introductory missions (Grab this shard; Gather 8 piles of firewood), and huge gaps in the plot or story are up to you to fill in as you go. Once in a while, I would get cutscenes in the form of dreams when the protagonist rested at camp, but not much was cleared up or explained beyond what I could have guessed already. Between the protagonist’s slow pace and limited inventory, the game started to feel like a slog, running back and forth on foot to the base camp where I could build and store items. As you clear out enemy camps and abandoned outposts, you can gain access to your stash from new locales, but so far I hadn’t unlocked the sled dogs, and with no fast travel that I could see I was actually happy once that I died so I wouldn’t need to walk back to camp.
Death is more of a minor inconvenience than anything else in Fade, as you resurrect back at your home base as many times as you’d like in Exploration mode. Survival mode is harsher, and only gives you four lives. Survival also has harsher environment and combat, and is the only way you can get achievements or access the skill trees. This feels unfair as the game itself encourages players wanting to enjoy the game at their own pace to go into Exploration mode, but then it takes part of the game and achievements away. Not every game needs to cater to all gamers and include easy or hard modes, but if you ship a game with a mode included, people shouldn’t be getting less of the game or looked down on for playing it, outside of something like DOOM‘s menus that tease players for choosing easy. You also only get one save slot, so if you want to check out both game modes on a whim, you’ll lose any progress from the former.
When you’re not avoiding death from monsters, the weather, or starvation, you’ll be hunting, gathering, building, crafting, recruiting, and exploring. There’s quite a lot to do in Fade, I just wish it wasn’t either so boring or so overwhelmingly oppressive. The first time you wander out into the snow, it feels like death could be around each corner. Many containers or chests trigger enemy spawns, and on survival mode, one enemy can be the death of you. Combat consists of light or heavy attacks, and that’s it, but on the plus side, there are slightly different animations based on what weapon you use.
The audio for Fade is a bright point in the blizzard; many times I didn’t need to look at the UI to know what was happening. When he’s hungry the protagonist’s stomach will growl, when he’s cold he’ll audibly shiver, and when enemies are nearby you’ll hear their guttural noises to keep you on edge. I did find one time the game wouldn’t let me make camp because it thought an enemy was nearby, but I couldn’t find any enemies close to the protagonist. Other bugs I found included jagged edges and artifacts appearing along the far edges of the screen during cutscenes, NPCs (especially Allie) appearing near me randomly when they had been far away, not being able to interact or chop down trees when I was next to them, and one full crash to the console home. Luckily I had just hit a save point and didn’t lose any progress.
Speaking of Allie, right from the start the interactions with her feel odd and forced, and the digital actors’ mouths and movements don’t seem to sync with what they were saying. Each interaction sounds more like a sitcom father and daughter moment instead of a bleak survival game where monsters are trying to kill you. In a cheerful voice, the protagonist would greet her with a, “Hey kiddo! How was your day?” And she’d reply, “Hi Dad! Did you find any survivors today?” Cue laugh track.
The most confusing part for me, however, was the evil-sounding spirit. If he wanted me to die so much, why does he keep resurrecting me? And since he gets so mad when I make the protagonist “cleanse” an area, why even let me set foot near it? I feel like there was some potential for a strong RPG element where you could use the spirit’s powers to fight or cleanse areas at the expense of becoming corrupted, but instead it’s just a button-mashing QTE.
If you make a game with harvesting and building, you might run into a Minecraft comparison. If you make a game with a life/death cycle you might get compared to Dark Souls, and if you make a game with horrific spiny monsters you might get compared to Dead Space. But playing any of those games instead of Fade to Silence would be better time spent; this game is not better than those it imitates, unfortunately.
Review code generously provided by Evolve PR.
+ Gameworld feels oppressive and bleak
+ Audio cues are spot-on and helpful
+ Progression isn't too hard
- No early fast-travel
- Story is missing or parsed out too slow
- Exploration mode is treated as less-than
- Combat is boring and deadly
- Cutscenes have artifacts or flashing lights on the sides of the screen
- Voice acting is mediocre at best