Fade to Silence
Developed by Black Forest Games
Published by THQ Nordic
In Fade To Silence, you play as Ash, a man who is dealing with an Earth that has been turned into an icy wasteland filled with horrible goo creatures and reindeer, while also possessed by the malevolent entity responsible for the state of things. Yeah. It's a bad time to be a dude named Ash.
Story & Flow
In some unspecified (but modern) year, there has been a cataclysmic event, called the Eclipse, that essentially destroyed everything on the planet. Ash, the player character, is for whatever reason locked into a personal relationship with the thing who caused the world to end, and it regularly chimes in with pessimistic and pointed comments directed towards Ash and his attempts to survive. It's kind of a dick.
Most of the story beats are expressed in a non-linear fashion, with short animatics appearing every so often when you rest at a fire. Other survivors each have a simple storyline that advances based on their opinion of you, which is improved by providing them with enough food and other resources.
Your adventure is full of standard survival mechanics and some light base management. As you travel, you are encouraged to pick up every object, as most items are secondary or tertiary ingredients for equipment crafting and camp construction. This often leads to a full inventory that requires a trip back to your main camp to manage all your goods. Health is lost through combat and is slowly replenished from resting or limited medicines you can find; starvation, freezing, and purification lowers maximum health, which is restored by even rarer health items.
When you die, you respawn back at your base. There are a limited amount of resurrections possible, as indicated by the number of Flames of Hope you have. When all are gone, you lose all the progress you've made and you'll return to the very beginning of the game. Some permanent attributes can be acquired through exploration and combat, which provide stat bonuses and also help to maintain camp facilities after your last life.
Combat consists of light and heavy attacks, dodge rolling, blocking, and parries. Enemies walk straight towards you, frequently clipping through the environment. Locking onto an enemy forces you to walk. It is functional, but not very engaging and incredibly slow.
Health and resources are constantly dwindling for both your camp and yourself. While you're not strictly required to recruit followers and collect materials, higher equipment tiers and important items can only be produced by people other than yourself. Everything is limited in quantity, pushing you further into hostile territory and eventually the end of the game. Enemies, resource areas, and the environment become more powerful in subsequent areas, which prevents you from wandering in without proper preparation.
Graphics & Sound
The presentation was just okay for me. I have a fondness for snow levels, and this game is one big snow level, so that's a plus. The worst thing that can be said about Fade to Silence is that it looks and feels like something that was released at least a decade ago, for the iPhone. Textures are at acceptable levels of fidelity, with some neat interactions with snow and weather cycles, though there is nothing that truly pops, and some blurriness and stretching can be found. Animations could have been shortened for many actions; the intended effect may have been 'weighty and impactful', but they just feel sluggish.
Though the voice direction for some characters is... questionable, the performances and overall environmental sound design is quite good. The frosted landscape is wrought with eldricth rumblings, howling winds, and the crunching of snow underfoot. Music tracks are fine, though I turned it down in order to better take in the scenery.