Fade to Silence started life in Early Access with a strong focus on survival, crafting, and settlement-building activities, within a hostile, post-apocalyptic world that has succumbed to an eternal winter. Leading up to release, the developers, Black Forest Games, have introduced companions, combat, and a rudimentary story to provide a little narrative context to your actions. Not unexpectedly, this development cycle manifests as several gameplay elements that don’t always come together in a cohesive way.
Fade to Silence places you in the padded boots of Ash, a survivor of some sort of global catastrophe that has left the planet prone to periodic blizzards that’ll kill anyone caught away from shelter. Waking up in an ancient crypt and swiftly reunited with his daughter, Alice, you’re immediately confronted by a mysterious, wraithlike figure that seems hellbent on tormenting you with an endless barrage of disparaging remarks. If the developers were hoping to create an antagonist you’d grow to hate, they’ve succeeded (but for those less amused by the constant taunting, you can disable it in the menu).
The backstory is doled out in extremely short snippets whenever you rest for a sufficiently lengthy period; hell, one was simply a static screen with several seconds of heavy breathing. I get what they’re going for, but these scenes are too sporadic, shifting between Ash and other perspectives, ensuring it feels incoherent. If you’re looking for a narrative-driven game, Fade to Silence is probably not for you.
Ever wondered what happened to the Brethren Moons? Between the enemy designs and this low-flying monstrosity, Fade to Silence could work as a Dead Space 3 epilogue.
If you’re someone who simply wants a hostile sandbox to play in, one with detailed survival mechanics, Fade to Silence may scratch that itch. The core gameplay loop of collecting resources, gathering survivors, claiming back the map from the forces of corruption, expanding your settlement, and upgrading your gear, is all well-developed. Things start off slowly as you push out from your camp on foot, with pitiful gear and low survivability, restricted to collecting only basic resources to generate heat and food. Before too long, you’ll stumble across a survivor, recruit them by way of an underwhelming mini-mission, and start allocating tasks. Once you've amassed two or three survivors (you can decline to recruit them for reasons unknown) you can start building new structures at your camp; send them out to harvest wood, meat, and metals; and give yourself breathing room to push further into the large map.
The core gameplay loop of collecting resources, gathering survivors, claiming back the map from the forces of corruption, expanding your settlement, and upgrading your gear, is all well-developed.
Travelling on foot or by wolf-drawn sled (some nests vomit up wolves, literally, when defeated) you’ll spend your time purging corruption, claiming resource areas, searching through innumerable chests and satchels, and avoiding blizzards.
Enjoys games with awesome stories and characters, along with new and interesting hardware. Dislikes day-one patches and driver updates.
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Black Forest Games
PC, PS4, Xbox One
29 April 2019
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