Fade to Silence (PS4) Review

Fade to Silence, developed by Black Forest Games, is a post-apocalyptic survival game set in a beautiful, yet deadly, snowy landscape filled with limited resources and strange monsters. While trying to survive in this bleak world you will fight back and uncover the mysteries of the past. Choosing the right strategy will be the key to your survival within this frozen inhospitable land and against its frightening creatures.
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Mechanics & controls
You play as Ash, our protagonist, and his daughter, Alice, after the monsters mercilessly destroyed your camp. Brought back to life by ‘The Inner Voice’, it’s up to you to venture out and find resources to survive, rebuild and find any other survivors to join you. But beware, you only have limited reincarnations before the game implements permadeath, forcing you to start over again should you wish to continue. With the exception of a flaming torch, you don’t have much in the way of defending yourself when you get started, so the first thing to do is the head out of your camp and collect firewood and other natural resources you will find laying around. Using these resources, you can build a fire and start to craft some basic survival tools such as a bow to hunt reindeer for food and an axe to cut down trees to get better supplies of wood.

Once you have crafted yourself some better tools, you’re able to explore more efficiently. You may even come across a survivor out in the wild, who is usually in trouble, and once you’ve helped them you can ask them to join the camp. Each follower will have their own attributes so it’s up to you to decide which ones you want to join your camp and contribute, recruiting everyone you meet will drain your resources quicker and put a strain on the camp. However, once you have cut down a tree, shot a reindeer or mined some ore, that area is claimed for your camp and your followers will go out and hunt and collect more resources for you, allowing you to spend your time exploring more. Beware though, soon that resource area will be depleted and you will need to claim farther afield areas or you will start to suffer the consequences.

Once you have enough of a certain resource you can start to rebuild your camp, followers will even build their own huts and crafting stations allowing you to make better weapons or process tainted wood and meat so that it’s usable. You can also select a follower to join you on your expedition to give you some much needed back up against certain monsters. If you want to, you can also get a friend to play the follower in co-op by inviting them via PSN.
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Cleansing outposts and any nests you come across by mashing the Cross button will provide a safer area for you to traverse as well as yielding rewards and much-needed supplies. The outposts usually have several nests you have to cleanse before taking down the guardian and being able to cleanse the crystal. A strongbox will be found in the outpost with lots of supplies to keep you improving and moving onto the next area and outpost. Once you have cleansed an outposts crystal, you can also fast travel between them by teleporting to save you time moving across the massive map.

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Floating above the landscape is a large orb called the ‘Eclipse’ and if its overhead of your location it’ll stalk you and drop blight and rusted cars down upon you. I was initially surprised by this as the game feels very much like an ‘old world’ game and having these modern items scattered around is confusing and part of the mystery you will need to unlock. While you sleep you will have strange dreams of another life very different to the one you now know, what could have possibly have happened!?

While Permadeath can be initially annoying, as you lose all your progress, you do get granted upon your first death a sliver of hope which can be applied to a Boon for your next attempt (A Boon is a permanent upgrade which carries over with you into your new playthrough). Use it to either give yourself a healthy supply of wood to get you started, an extra life or keep your wolf kennel, sledge and up to two friendly wolves you have rescued in the wilds. Cleansing other outposts of the blight will also grant you another Boon, so the further you progress, the better your chances are on your next go. Also, any shards you pick up on your journey will also give you a permanent blessing to help you be stronger the next time. There are two endings too, so there is plenty of reasons to keep playing through Fade to Silence.
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Hunting reindeer is a nice experience. If you hit the deer it will run off but there will be a trail of blood in the snow you can follow, the shriek the deer lets out in pain as it collapses to the ground is heartbreakingly sickening, but you know you can’t both survive out there. The dog sledge allows you and a follower to travel the area much quicker as well as having an extra storage box on board. The sledge keeps to a path so you don’t need to do too much steering until you come to a junction and, if you tip it or need to change what direction you want to go, you can lift it up and reposition it, which is much easier than trying to turn the wolves around at times.

Trophies:
There are three difficulties you can select when initially starting Fade to Silence, the explorer mode (easy) will prevent you from unlocking any trophies and let you just experience the story, otherwise, there are no other difficulty related trophies. A lot of the trophy requirements cover all your playthroughs, so you don’t have to try and cram everything into one go for the platinum. Most seem straight forward to achieve, apart from the collection trophies which may take a bit more work.
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Technical:
The snowy backdrops are lush and the red blight that infects them makes for a nice contrast. I did notice occasional blurring at times when I was moving fast though, and the wall you put around your camp pops up as you get closer to it and isn’t always visible from a distance. Also quite often, I spotted pointed triangle patches in the snow that look like the level texturing showing through. What is nice is that after a blizzard the amount of snow will have dramatically increased in the landscape. You crunch loudly through the deep snow and if you are hungry then your belly rumbles and you groan which is a nice way of letting you know that you need to eat soon if you have not noticed the hunger gage is getting full.

Issues/negatives:
R1 seems an odd choice for the jump button to me, I’m not sure I can think of another game that has used this button to jump (Rob: Mad Max also used R1). It’s also a bit annoying since holding R1 you crouch, so often while trying to crouch and stealthily shoot a reindeer I would end up jumping in the air and be like ‘hey deer, I’m over here you better run before I shoot you!’. Similarly, when trying to make a big jump I would end up crouching and just fall off the ledge.

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On a few occasions after hitting a deer and following its blood trail, the deer would fall to the ground in a deep patch of snow and disappear, meaning I couldn’t skin it. This is frustrating in a game with such limited resources. Fade to Silence only crashed on me one time and since it autosaves so regularly, I did not lose any progress thankfully.

Official Trailer:

Final Conclusion:
I’m very addicted to Fade to Silence, it’s a great survival game which is very challenging yet hard to stop playing. When I die, I start over almost immediately, ready to do better on my next attempt. The Boons allow you to take a different approach and retain certain items you have previously obtained and they are not locked down once you have selected them on one play, you can totally choose different boons on each playthrough for a different strategy. If you enjoy survival games, resource and camp management, or even games with lots of lush snow, then you should definitely check it out.

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A copy of the game was kindly provided for review purposes

Fade to Silence

£44.99
8

Final Score

8.0/10

The Good:

  • - Addictive game play
  • - Beautiful landscapes
  • - Scary, challenging monsters
  • - A mystery to solve

The Bad:

  • - A few minor bugs to be ironed out
  • - Can be frustrating, some monsters are a little over powered
  • - My followers always seemed to get tired too quick and kept needing to sleep
  • - R1 is a weird button for jump and crouch
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