FATED: The Silent Oath is a first-person led narrative game where you play as husband and father, Ulfer. As Ulfer, you must show courage and vigour in the face of many dangers to protect your family and survive in this mythical world. Developed by Frima Studio, this PSVR outing is heavily focused on your emotional journey and story-telling rather than actual gameplay.
Your tale begins with Ulfer on Death’s door, lost in the void, but suddenly a bright light approaches from the dark. This strange light then begins morphing into the shape of women, a Valkyrie. She introduces herself as your guardian and questions whether you wish to see your family again. As any loving father would, you agree, but it is not without sacrifice. To be resurrected, you must forfeit your voice to regain your mortal state. After accepting these conditions, you awake to find, kneeling beside you on a wagon, a young woman who is quickly introduced as your wife and is overjoyed you have regained your strength. However, she soon realises you cannot speak. You answer a bunch of her questions (with head movements) and she enlightens you on what happened to you to cause the near death experience. After a short trip, you find your village has been totally destroyed. This injustice must not be dismissed so you rally with the rest of your people and after a meeting about the future with the leader (who is also your step-father and speaks of the Gods wreaking destruction on Earth, unleashing fear and confusion upon the survivors), you decide to to hastily find your children. And so commences the adventure.
Having no voice can really put a crimp on how you can communicate with others, though this is easily resolved, as most questions throughout the game are answered with a nod or shake or your head. This simple, yet practical way of progressing through dialogue and character interactions is a really interesting concept, one of many I found to like and enjoy. Movement is limited within FATED: The Silent Oath. This is possibly to prevent motion sickness within the VR headset, and if so it works well, as not once did I suffer any discomfort. Rotating takes a similar stance to Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, where you turn your character through specific degrees, which vary from small to full 90 degree turns. No matter which you prefer, the slow movements keep you focused on the actual storyline with no distractions.
Venturing forward into the woods, you soon convene with your family. Your nephew hands you a bow and teaches you to hunt. Aiming is controlled solely by the centre reticule in the headset; look where you want, aim, then simply fire. After hunting deer, you regroup with your clan who inform you to move out at sunrise the following day.
Aesthetically, FATED: The Silent Oath is something of a combination between Disney and World of Warcraft. This quirky but vintage style is one that I quickly became fond of. All areas and locations are really vibrant and do an excellent job on encapsulating the moment, while later in the game, when you are exploring caves, the scenery is exquisite; some of my favourite so far in a VR title, in fact.
As the story continues on the following day, you are put in control of a horse and carriage. Pull on the reigns and enjoy the beautiful landscape s that surrounds you, ranging from lush forests to high mountain peaks. Indeed, you could easily be in Morrowind and not know it. Whilst controlling the carriage, you develop a better understanding of your clan and family; who they all are, what they do and why you must take on this arduous journey. The inter character relationships are explored in depth, especially in areas where tragedy strikes. Each member of the family plays their role well and you experience a real bond between each of them.
The next few levels are heavily focused on solving puzzles, balancing on logs and avoiding swinging axes, all of which provides the game with another dimension away from just story telling. Each of these obstacles creates great atmosphere and tension as one false move results in you getting sliced in half or left falling into the abyss. Unfortunately, these puzzles present no real challenge which is a great shame. Ramping up the difficulty in this respect would have worked really well and prolonged the game’s longevity, although this flaw can be excused as FATED: The Silent Oath is more of an interactive movie than anything else.
Overall FATED: The Silent Oath is an excellent combination of ideas, concepts and story that I wished had been longer. I really hope the developers decide to expand on this title and bring out a sequel as the game only lasts roughly two hours. However, within this time, FATED: The Silent Oath takes you on an emotional journey from right from the very beginning all the way to end, which is something even many blockbuster films are incapable of achieving.
Overall rating 8 out of 10
- Fantastic, emotionally-driven story
- Full of great ideas and concepts for VR to utilise going forward
- Beautiful environments
- Easy puzzles
- Very short
Original article on PSU.com