Immersion is the name of the game when it comes to virtual reality. Its invention and eventual release on our very own PlayStation consoles meant it is easier than ever to get hooked up and jump right in. Simply put on that headset and headphones and you’re actually inside the game. The PlayStation VR library is growing at a steady rate, but we have still yet to see a substantial title for this cool new platform. We’ve had our unit since launch here in the Gaming Respawn offices and, although we love it, we’ve hardly had reason to dig it out recently. That is, until now.
FATED: The Silent Oath can be easily misconstrued as a glorified walking simulator with light puzzle elements within it. It was originally supposed to be a launch title for the PSVR, but a pretty extensive delay means it’s releasing now. Delays are never welcome, but once a title is finally released, we see exactly how it benefits from the pullback, and we are rarely disappointed. FATED: The Silent Oath is no exception.
You are Ulfir, a Viking brought back from the brink of death by one of your gods as you find yourself on the back of a cart with your wife, Freya. It’s soon apparent that your resurrection has come with a price, namely your ability to speak, meaning to answer any questions thrown your way, you must either nod or shake your head, quite literally. It’s developers Frima’s first impressive use of the PSVR platform. As simple as it sounds, this stipulation increases the immersion significantly, a clever way to use the headsets tracking capabilities. Although FATED is light on the cast front, the people you will interact with here, especially your nephew, wife and kids, do a fantastic job at sucking you into this world of Norse mythology speaking of gods and giants. The voice acting is great, which helps, it makes you really care about your beloved wife and children, their fate and the goings on around you involving them. FATED is narrative-driven, it’s all about the story, getting your family away from the giants who roam the world and terrorize it is your number one priority.
FATED is light on the gameplay front. Essentially an aptly named walking simulator, a game where all you need to be doing is walking, slowly, from one position to another to progress the story forward. There are odd puzzle parts here and there, but they require little thought and are solved in a flash. That’s not to say FATED suffers because of this lack of gameplay. Virtual reality is all about the experience. I’ve said it before, I would happily sit back and enjoy the ride presented to me within the headset, but if you’re going to make me do things in-game, it needs to feel like I’m actually doing it, like the London Heist game in PlayStation Worlds. FATED successfully sucked me into its world of Norse lore and really got me to care about the survival of my family. The eighty-minute experience was over before it truly gripped me, though, but the experience is memorable and well worth slipping on that headset.
FATED: The Silent Oath takes a Pixar-esque art style, which gives it a unique appeal. It’s a serious story, sure, and the cartoonist graphics never dampen that. Frima’s decision to adopt this visual style goes in FATED’s favour. It captures emotion with excellent facial expressions similar to Telltale’s The Walking Dead games. The same goes with the environments around you. From the scrolling countryside at the beginning to the rune-laden caves later on with little light but of the torch in your hand, it’s hard not to be enthralled in its beauty.
Developer: Frima Studio
Publisher: Frima Originals
Platforms: PC (Vive, Oculus), PS4 (PSVR)
Release Date: 28th March 2017