The survival game genre has seen a lot of great titles and a lot of mediocre titles fall into it and now we get to see where Fade To Silence falls into it all. This would be the latest title to come out of Black Forest Games with the help of THQ Nordic and is looking to do just that. Fade To Silence will look to us to survive in a harsh and frozen world while trying to keep other horrors at bay. All with the looming threat of permadeath and needing to start over at the forefront of our minds. Does it hold up or does it fall flat? Here is our review of the game as it all currently stands.
It is hard to say where and when Fade To Silence takes place, but it is safe to say it takes place in a world that has been ravaged by all kinds of eldritch horrors and bitter cold. An insanely bitter cold and dark horrors. It is good that Ash has come to be to help guide his daughter and other people he recruits along the way to try to survive with him. That is the name of the game and things can go extremely south at the drop of a dime. How well it all goes is up to Ash and the morale of the other people in his group.
For a game that is coming out in a modern world, I will have to start this off by saying that Fade To Silence could have used a bit more time to make sure things were running more efficiently in the backend than they did here. That is, the game felt plagued by all kinds of graphical issues as well as slowdowns in general while playing. Not in the way that it was part of the mechanics, but in the way that it was just not using the power of the system properly. I played Fade To Silence on a PS4 Pro and still, it would run at times where the visuals were no better than anything on older systems. Normally not something I would harsh on, but given that visual cues in the game lead to your survival, one kind of needs to be able to see the game's world.
To build into that, while the world felt like something truly new to explore, the fact that there is little to go on from the start or even direction in Fade To Silence makes exploration a bit of a drag. I get that survival games are generally not supposed to give you these kinds of things, but given that there is a story and elements in the game that force direction, it would be nice to have it a bit more clear cut. Right out the gate, I spent more time trying to figure out what I needed to collect in the "tutorial" phase of Fade To Silence than I really should have. Maybe this was because I was not able to see things in the world, but it really brought the experience down a peg or two right out of the gate.
Furthermore, while I get the reason behind needing to find recruits in the game, something both difficult to do and understand their task required to join, it would have been nice if Ash could have done things on his own in Fade To Silence. He is supposed to be a great leader but he is not able to build a basic shelter until he finds any random person out in the wilds. This felt out of place and a weird mechanic to force. If Black Forest Games wanted to make sure we had a whole crew to progress through Fade To Silence with, they could have placed in behind a progression system and not have Ash be helpless until he finds others.
Lastly, I will have to dig into the permadeath aspect of Fade To Silence. I am not a huge fan of it in video games, but I can appreciate it when it is done correctly. The mark seemed a bit missed here as the game tried to give you some kind of starting bonus after dying three times. Given that this happened way too often for me due to the clunky combat system and constant freezing while wondering, I began to wonder what the point was. There is an option to turn it off, but this changes so many other parts of the game that it too feels out of place. I can see the idea behind it in general, but it all felt like it was hastily executed instead of perfected.
I will say that Fade To Silence did go with a really cool setting and higher concept for the game's world. It is not common that we get to see a post-apocalypse world set in some kind of frozen setting. As a setting that definitely could have sold the game all on its own if we focused more on the base building and basic threats of weird creatures flooding in. In many instances, the world and areas felt like they were well thought out and not just random clustering of buildings just to have them. This is definitely one of the aspects Fade To Silence nailed on the head for me as so many other titles just toss things out and hope it sticks. I could understand the reasons anyone would have built the locations as they did in this game.
To go along with that, the constant threat of being frozen played well into this in the game. It is another of the many things in Fade To Silence that could have killed you and you always needed to be ready for the freak blizzard. Most of the more efficient ways to stave this off were to make it into these buildings and start a fire within. While I did die a few times from this, I was constantly making it to the building just in time. Something that brought a nice bit of tension to the gameplay that never felt overwhelming. This was one of the mechanics I wish I had more time to experience or see play a larger role in the game. Maybe in the future on a different project of theirs.
Plain and simple, Fade To Silence is a game that I would not normally play. I am not a fan of permadeath or survival in this way in my video games. Things could have paid off a bit had the visuals and other mechanics lent into it all, but sadly, they all fell flat. If you are a fan of survival games and want to be punished in harsh ways, then Fade To Silence could be a game for you. You will just need to get past all of the other issues of the game. For everyone else, it may be time to look in other directions for their frozen post-apocalyptic worlds. Maybe watch someone else play the game instead of buying it.
I give Fade To Silence 4 Recruits on the Recruit scale.
Fade To Silence — What The Frost Is The Game?
Fade To Silence was developed by Black Forest Games and published by THQ Nordic for the PS4, Xbox One, and PC on April 30th, 2019. A PS4 copy of the game was provided by the publisher for reviewing purposes.