Fade to Silence Review

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While the grotesque monsters that roam the lands in Fade to Silence are dangerous, the real killer is the weather.

On appearance, you’d guess that Dead Space and Silent Hill influenced Fade to Silence‘s foes. But as horrifying as they are, they can be quite easily avoided in most circumstances. Trying to seek suitable cover when a blizzard hits, however, is another matter. While claws and fireballs will wound you, you can always put some distance between you and your attacker and heal. The bitter cold, on the other hand, will encompass you, suffocating and chilling you until you have nothing left to give.

Luckily for you, death doesn’t have to be the end of your adventure in Fade to Silence, despite it being a survival game. Possessed by some sort of entity, you can pick yourself up and try again, providing you have some Embers of Flame left. But they’re limited, and with a snowy expanse demanding to be explored, an unprepared adventurer must always be wary of pushing their luck.

It’s thanks to these survival aspects that this part horror, part action-adventure game developed by Black Forest Games feels fresh and unique. After a shaky opening hour or so in which you try to get your head around the game’s myriad of systems, chances are you’ll be hooked. Why am I trapped in a frozen wasteland, you’ll probably wonder. What are those disgusting creatures? Why is there a city seemingly floating upside down in the sky? You may uncover the answers if you keep playing, with cryptic scenes occasionally filling you in on bits of story while your character takes a rest. There are other survivors to encounter and, if you want, bring into your camp. Your daughter will be glad for the company, and they can be put to good use gathering resources, providing services and building new structures, too.

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It’s a relief that much of Fade to Silence‘s required resource gathering can be offloaded to a fellow survivor within a couple of hours of play. You’ll still pick up plenty of items yourself as you explore, and you’ll still need to fell trees, mine ore, and hunt before your followers will venture out to retrieve the spoils. But you never really feel bogged down by having to complete menial tasks just to keep your camp afloat. For the most part, you can concentrate on the fun and important aspects of your predicament: venturing into uncharted territory, and finding out what the hell happened. Only when supplies are dangerously low might you find yourself having to step in to get things back on track.

Aside from making sure your resources are topped up, you won’t get far in Fade to Silence without adequate equipment. Thankfully, the game makes crafting the basics pleasingly simple. Armour plating will reduce the damage you take when enemies manage to land a hit on you, a pouch enables you to carry a couple of extra items, and various tools allow you to gather new resources. If you want to craft more advanced items, which you will, you’ll need to build the appropriate facilities and recruit the right people to your camp. It’s a process that never feels too cryptic or fiddly. Fade to Silence wants you to succeed, and if you don’t manage it on your first attempt, your efforts won’t have totally been in vain.

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Run out of embers of flame by dying too often and you’ll have to begin the game anew. Any shards you’ve collected on previous playthroughs that provide bonuses such as increasing your resistance to cold or hunger will remain with you though, and you also might be able to unlock one or more boons. From starting you off with more embers to giving you a load of firewood, they give you more of a chance to successfully survive the adventure on subsequent playthroughs. Though having to repeat large sections of the game can be a chore.

By taking your time and efficiently managing your camp members, however, conquering Fade to Silence shouldn’t prove to be a task that’s too difficult. Once you have a fellow survivor at your camp, you can even play the game in online co-op. And having another person by your side really does help. There’s also an Exploration difficulty mode, which is for those who want to enjoy the game’s story without the threat of permadeath. But there’s a caveat: you can’t earn achievements or trophies.

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Unfortunately, there are some other aspects of Fade to Silence that might not impress you too much. Some of the voice acting is a bit stiff, and the animation of you and your fellow survivors isn’t that stellar. But the worst thing about Fade to Silence is its clunky combat. You have access to weak and strong attacks, and you can also block and dodge, but everything just feels heavy and clumsy. You’re best avoiding combat altogether until you’ve crafted yourself a sword and some armour plating. After that, it’s something that you’ll endure rather than enjoy.

Fade to Silence‘s strengths definitely outweigh its weaknesses, though. Its unique setting makes you want to go out and discover its secrets. Its camp building elements reward you for seeking out other survivors and building bonds with them. And the survival aspects give the game depth and added challenge. It isn’t just a bog-standard adventure game with a frosty backdrop; in Fade to Silence, the weather is your biggest foe. Whether you’re a fan of action-adventure or survival games, Fade to Silence is well worth checking out.

Fade to Silence is available on PS4, Xbox One and PC. We reviewed the Xbox One version.