Fade to Silence Reviews

AuthorReview
Rubedo Hawk
313,439 (175,740)
Rubedo Hawk
TA Score for this game: 1,878
Posted on 07 May 19 at 22:23
This review has 7 positive votes and 0 negative votes. Please log in to vote.
Fade to Silence is a survival game set in a frozen post-apocalyptic wasteland. The game attempts a smorgasbord of features. Including combat, follower management, camp construction, a crafting tree, and a story. The game is very ambitious and a decent title, but falls short of perfection due to bugs and some frustrating design choices.

Game Play
Fade to Silence freshens up the typical survival game formula by having the player spend most of their time exploring and unlocking resources rather than gathering the items themselves. The followers you recruit in game are responsible for the vast majority of the crafting, gathering, and building. This results in the core game play mechanics being exploration and combat, with a bit of follower assignment and base management thrown in. On top of this is the re-spawn mechanic, which returns you to life after an in game death. You have all your items and materials intact, but you have a limited number of these revives available. Should you run out of revives, the world resets with the exception of some boons you can select to keep.

The formula is satisfying, the player adventures out fighting enemies, managing their temperature and hunger gauges, and finding resources. Upon returning to the refuge you have your base to organize. You assign your followers to generate resources, build better equipment for you, or build new buildings. Should you die, you can restart with the knowledge you've gained in your previous game.

The combat is enjoyable, with the exceptions of the Stalker enemy who teleport around and can nearly one-shot the player in early game. Even late game the Stalker is a pain to fight since it often becomes invulnerable and teleports around the area. This can result in long fights where the player ends up chasing around the enemy waiting for a chance to actually fight it. Also I would occasionally be completely unable to swing my sword or dodge enemy attacks. This bug appeared to happen more often late game, and ruins otherwise fun mechanics.

The experience of Fade to Silence is tarnished by the rough edges. Exploring the world and unlocking resources is satisfying, and the combat is passable. The core of the game is great until it crashes randomly, a character glitches out, or you suddenly die. It should also be pointed out that late game there is an inexplicable jumping sequence. The player is blocked from seeing the end of the story without passing the sequence, but the controls aren't precise enough to make this a satisfying challenge.

Game Play Rating: 2.5 stars
+ Survival formula is solid
+ Exploration is emphasized
+ Crafting tree and building management is good
+ The boon and revival system is a cool addition to a survival game
- Stalker enemies just suck
- Bugs can really break the experience

Environment
The frozen wasteland you're exploring is the star of this game. Often when exploring an ice age setting everything ends up looking glaringly white, but Fade to Silence used it’s premise well to create varied environments. The corruption, a red tentacle substance, is used to add color to otherwise monochromatic zones, and the devs managed to make the five zones all unique, despite the fact that they are all covered in snow. The weather and snow effects are beautiful. Fog and “overcast” weather can affect the level of visibility especially at night.
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There are three environmental events in the game, which all work to varying degrees. The Blizzards are the best environmental mechanic. The in-game temperature drops, and the wind picks up while the snow gets visibly deeper on the ground. Before any hud notifications pop up the player can notice the weather changing. The blizzards felt fairly organic, especially since the earliest visible signs build gradually. After the blizzard ends there is visibly more snow covering everything.
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The other two environmental events look neat from far away, but can become annoying rather quickly. The player will notice the trash moon fairly early in the game, it is a giant floating object that drops garbage from the sky. If you are standing still and the trash moon floats past it will target the spot you are on with a red marker, then it will drop something on you causing damage. Most of the time it will drop a couple items and float away, but occasionally you end up trapped in a small area with it dropping stuff on you for five or more minutes.
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The last environmental event has the same problems as the trash moon. In one of the five zones there are two tornadoes that can spawn in the area. When you are in the zone they are almost always around. The tornadoes look really neat, and at first seem like a cool problem to work around. Multiple times the tornado cut me off from my dog sled, and made me take a different route around which is the mechanic working. However, the same zone is home to some fairly tough enemies that take time to kill and more than once I had a tornado sneak up on me while I was mid fight resulting in instant death.

Environment Rating: 3.5 Stars

+ Beautiful World with varied zones to explore
+ Weather changes keeps the day night cycle more fresh
- Tornado and Trash moon can end up more punitive than fun

Story
The story is expressed to you through two main mechanisms, flashbacks and exposition from Mr. Spooky Voice. Mr. Spooky Voice is the antagonist of the game, he is always watching you and will often pipe up with mocking comments. These comments sometimes flesh out the world, describing how some of the infrastructure has been destroyed.
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(Mr. Spooky Voice is not his given name.)

Flashbacks come when you rest, I recommend resting frequently so you can get the story bits. You can end up missing some of the details that tie the world together if you end up not seeing enough of the scenes. There are two flashbacks you earn from reaching special locations in game, those give you the most important bits of the story.

Every follower also has their own stories they will relay to you as your trust builds, you don’t really interact with them in meaning ways other than listening to their stories; however, some of the best follower dialog is random lines they say about each other. You can hear these by hanging out near one of your followers while they work.


Story Rating: 4 Stars

+ The story fits with the mechanisms of the game
- The story specifics are physics jargon mad libs.

Overall
Score 3.5 Stars

Fade to Silence is very ambitious. It has a surprising amount going on, but needed more time to polish and stabilize the game. Despite the bugs and rough edges the game is enjoyable, hopefully it will be patched.
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