At their essence, videogames are basically a sophisticated half time killing, a bit of a story, a bit of physical and mechanical commitment, a bit of philosophical-digital escapism. But, of these three founding conceptual supports, in recent times the number of electro people that devote themselves body and soul to mechanical difficulty, have grown exponentially. And this is the sense of Fade to Silence, a production conceived and made of THQ Nordic, which makes complexity its cold and pungent soul.
A game that from the very beginning, will try to create in us a sort of oppressive and irreversible sense of end and annihilation, of the ineluctability of failure to which we must oppose by any means.
Fade to Silence is an action game with elements of survival and role-playing, set to a very high level of difficulty. At the beginning, the game will make us choose between an “exploration” mode, suitable for those who want to enjoy the narrative plot and therefore without difficulty, or a mode called “survival”, which will have a much higher level of difficulty, with more tough enemies, scarce supplies and permanent death. As you would expect, the real soul of the game will obviously be the second mode, based on a hostile environment, scarce resources and a continuous and always complicated struggle for their survival.
The difficulty of the game is intuitable from the very first jokes: we will be welcomed, after being dead, by a dark spiritual being who will welcome us emphasizing that our actions will be useless because we are doomed to death. Fade to Silence will introduce us to his hard game world with a rather basic tutorial, with brief hints of the basic mechanics and leaving us the ungrateful task of discovering (dying) what to do and what not to do. To welcome us, a dark incorporeal entity that seems to use our fallen limbs as a mere pastime and display of power. To hinder us, a large heap of horrible presences, terrible emanation of a dark evil that has consumed deep down the entire world of the play, condemned to an irreversible end and now bare and abandoned.
From a point of view of mere gameplay, Fade to Silence will require us basically what we require a little ‘all the games of this genre, or survive. The weather, the cold that will catch us in the form of snowstorms, hunger and the horrible creatures that populate the white and decadent game world. Our protagonist will be forced to explore a sort of post-apocalyptic tundra populated by horrors of various kinds, in search of the essential materials necessary for our survival, also exploiting a particular power of our character who will illuminate useful objects, but also with the aim of purifying the earth from the evil that grips it, destroying huge crystals that seem to act as a repeater of the corruptive endemic.
Once the inventory is filled, we will have to return to our camp, trying to avoid the grip of the frost and the danger that lurks in the snowy blanket that will try to feast on our cold meats at our every reckless step.
The combat, as well as mechanically “heavy” and in some ways conceptually similar to a classic souls like with the presence of shots and movements that will have a specific cost in terms of stamina, will also be difficult to support at the level of objects: explore will not be simple and, despite a game map not particularly large, the wastelands that we visit will not be exactly generous with ingredients nor particularly safe.
The management of the survivors, who will be fundamental for the unlocking of important upgrades, will have to be carefully evaluated because leaving them to perish would mean perishing in turn. What’s the icing on the cake? Permanent death, of course: in Fade to Silence, our character will have six attempts before perishing permanently and losing everything that has been done, except for upgrades of the character. Speaking of which, the title THQ Nordic will put on the plate a mechanism a bit ‘special to handle everything: there will be in the game a classic system based on experience, but we will have to explore and collect particular crystals that will help to increase the statistics of the character. This system, although even more stimulating to exploration, could prove particularly punitive in case, after exploring a lot and building a lot, you die without having at least managed to upgrade your alter ego.
Graphically speaking, Fade to Silence is a more than good test bed for THQ Nordic. While it doesn’t make you cry out miraculously about the overall quality of detail and effects, which will show a little ‘side in the cutscenes and when the camera will be quite close to models and environments, the work will be on a good level of quality, also considering the launch price far from the standards of triple A. Even the global artistic direction, from the cold monochromatic oppression of the environments to the continuous whistling of the harmful incorporeal event that will accompany us, will be of excellent level and quality, allowing us a good immersion in the game world.
Technically, Fade to Silence is on a fair general level, offering a fluidity of game blocked but substantially solid, together with an almost total absence of bugs of some importance, except for some polygonal interpenetration and some sporadic pop-up textures.
A mention should also be made of the animations, some convincing (like the dodge with a somersault or the base attack combo) some a bit forced and woody (like the jump). As for the sound sector, it will consist of a discreet vocal dubbing and a tracklist composed of tracks that are not particularly original but that go well with the desolating and icy atmosphere of the game.