Here we have a game that has received some hard reviews to start off with which appear to be mostly big related, crashes etc. I saw this and instead of diving right in to get a quick review out I waited for a few hot fixes so I can check this game out without the frustration of bugs. I did not want this frustration to interfere with my honest opinions of the game which are primarily positive. Since purchasing the game I have had little to no game breaking bug issues so I think I’m ready to give some insight that is Fade to Silence.
You start the game in this temple surrounded by three flames in a circle. This apparition creature is there and he bonds himself to you. His whispers always come out in the course of the game discouraging you. It appears whatever this entity is, controls the blight you will face in this world of winter. You are not really told what or how this creature came to be linked to your soul, but part of the game is remembering the past. I am still working through the game, I have some ideas about what happened so I’m not going to spoil it yet. The flames are basically lives. When you die the entity brings you back to the temple, extinguishes a flame and your reborn. If you lose all your flames, the entity takes your body and claims you. This has happened to me once so far. You can find an item called a Flame of Hope in the wilderness that will grant you an extra flame. It’s like finding a 1up in classic games. I believe you can have a maximum of 9 lives to to speak at anytime.
You are set in a post apocalyptic future in a land now covered in snow and ice. You will come buy old wrecked cars and structures in your travels, but the snow itself is one of your biggest enemies. In this survival based RPG you have to be sure to dress warm and carry the newest art tools to build fires, and shelters to protect yourself from the elements. You start to get cold over time and will have to take a break or find shelter in the wilderness. Be careful because you may get stuck in a blizzard. If this happens to you, your life meter quickly begins to fade. Not only that, but you maximum hit-point levels start to suffer. Luckily the land does have some pre built shelters out there. Once you discover one it gets marked on your map. If you get that warning a blizzard is coming, be sure to know where your nearest shelter is. Oh, if you don’t have any firewood to stoke the fire, you will still freeze to death.
Surviving the cold is one of the main obstacles you have to face in this survival game, but you also have to eat. You will learn that food can be scarce and you have to manage your sources. You will occasionally find food like old canned goods I. The wilderness, but you will soon learn some harvestable plants can be converted into food, as well as hunting deer for meat. Don’t think deer are plentiful though. They can take time to respawn and hunting locations can become exhausted and no longer produce deer. As you develop your town and find followers, some will have advanced skills to produce meat from blight tainted meat dear produce, even imbued animals. Your followers will be key in processing these parts in order to save your hunting grounds from becoming depleted.
Their is a crafting system in place here. You can craft a lot of basic stuff in the wilderness on the fly like food, breaking down wood to create logs and primitive arrows, even a primitive bow, axe, weapons clothing etc. The game does not really teach you how to to craft so it is a good idea to thumb through the crafting menu to see what items you need to create basic items for survival. You have limited space to start which you can expand by creating pouches and satchels, so you have to manage your inventory and carry what you need to survive the harsh winter wilderness. Crafting is expanded when you start to rebuild your settlement.
You can build workshops, a butcher station etc to gain access to stronger items, though you must find survivors with special skills in order to create these advanced items. For example, some followers with the Hunting skill can turn tainted meat into pristine remains which can be used for food or other items. Once you find the proper follower with the proper skills you should build the appropriate workplace to utilize their abilities.
Lets talk more about followers. As you explore the winter wilderness, you may run into survivors in each region that may start small events. As you help them you get a chance to learn about their story and you can ask them to join your camp. Once there, you can control their actions. You can either let them choose an action like hunting, wood gathering or mining. If you give them the choice, they will harvest the most needed resource for yoru camp. As you gain more followers, you need to make sure they have food, shelter, and wood to keep the fires lit and their stomachs full. You can order a follower to perform a specific task, so if you want them just to hunt then you give the order. Along with gathering, you can assign them to work at appropriate gathering stations you build. Each follower has three skills starting at an Adept level. As time progresses, a followers moral will improve and they will reveal more of their personal story to you and in time their skill levels will increase. Another option you have is to take a follower out with you into the wilderness on an expedition. Each follower will have a list of their combat abilities.
Now what exactly do you do in Fade to Silence? You start with your town coming into complete destruction, the people killed or scattered except for you and your daughter. Your tasked to rebuild and push back the blight that has taken over the land. There is a twist, some specter like creature has inhabited your body. This creature talks to you in whispers, discouraging you, but you learn you can tap into some of his abilities. You can use its dark vision to reveal harvestable items on the map and gain the ability to absorb areas that have been taken over by the blight. You explore the land looking for resource areas to allow your followers to harvest to hep rebuild your camp and keep everyone fed. Some of these areas are taken over by the blight. You must find the source of the blight and absorb it. These area’s can be protected by strange creatures. The largest task is to retake outposts in each region to gain access to fast travel locations and heavy sources of materials to survive. Each outpost you must cleanse a few smaller areas of blight that unlocks boss version monsters. Once you take the monsters, you cleanse the outpost and becomes a safe place for the future. You are able to fast travel to these outposts and is the only form of fast traveling in the game. The rest has to be on foot, or by dog sled, which you can build in your camp. As you take over an outpost you are able to see all the harvesting nodes and places of interest in that region.
Along with rebuilding and surviving, pushing back the blight, you have to remember what happened. As you sleep and rest you will get cut scenes showing you bits and pieces of how this blight came to be. This is a post apocalyptic game, so its a future of our society. How did this blight come to be? What is this creature that possesses you? Why does he give you only a few lives before he possesses you? These are all questions I am still learning as I play through the game. Death is actually a unique mechanic of this game. You start with a few Flames of Hope. As you die your revived by the evil spirit within you and one of your flames are extinguished. Once the last flame is gone, your body is then consumed and the game is over. Well not completely. As you take over outposts you gain boons. After you die you spend these boons to retain aspects from your last playthrough. Examples are keeping your best weapons, large amounts of starting materials, buildings or you can start with more Flames of Hope. You can continue to spend these boons after you lose all your lives and retain more of your previous run’s items. Even though you keep some of your items, the game does restart. You will have to rebuild your camp, retake outposts, find the survivors again and hope you get farther each time you reset. Your game keeps an in game count of how many days you have survived. So far my best run is 36 in game days and still counting. At the time of this review im down to two flames of hope left.
Overall I am really enjoying this game. The story is unique, and I like learning more about what happened as new information is provided through the play. The wilderness settings are done very well. I wish their was more variety of monster s you see the same kinds over and over just harder versions of them. The use of dog sledding for travel is really neat but the controls for it need some work as you tend to crash and flip your sled a lot, or at least I have. Combat is pretty basic, could be polished a bit but adequate. For anyone who likes survival games, I would recommend giving the game a try. The pricetag is worth the hours of content as im about 15 hours in and only explored less than half of the given map to date.