Fated: The Silent Oath tells the story of Ulfr, a Viking father on a quest to find a new home for his family. His main goal is to keep his family safe, at all costs. From the outset the world of Fated is visually compelling. Lush forests and stormy skies all pop due to the detailed but cartoonish artstyle. The environments are a little fuzzy, sure, but little details like fireflies and falling leaves more than make up for it.
The game’s main mechanic is an inspired solution to a usually immersion breaking feature. In Fated: The Silent Oath the protagonist is mute, meaning that he can only communicate by shaking or nodding his head. And yep you guessed it, this is exactly what the player will be doing to communicate with the in-game characters. This design choice goes a long way to truly place you in Ulfr’s shoes, and it’s surprising that it hasn’t been used before.
Player movement is one area in which the game falters. Walking is controlled using the left analog stick, while the camera can be moved in varying degrees of view. I wish that Fated: The Silent Oath had adopted the same control scheme as Resident Evil 7, with direction of movement controlled by looking in a certain direction. The walking speed is also painfully slow. While I understand the need to keep the player restricted along the linear path in order to effectively tell a story, I do wish that the pace had been a bit quicker.
The game places the player in a number of interesting settings and situations. One sequence involves dodging giant swinging blades which careen past mere inches from your face. Another has you crawling through a spider-infested cave, with just a torchlight to illuminate your path. Both sequences are bolstered by excellent sound design which really helps give the impression of a living, breathing world.
There are also a variety of different activities to play through, many of which seem like a missed opportunity. There’s an archery segment for example, which while fun, could have been made a lot more dynamic and interesting with the option to use move controllers. Saying that though, the sections in which you drive a horse and cart were particularly thrilling, and were by far the most immersive sections of the game.
Fated: The Silent Oath‘s main strength is its story. The game really makes use of its first person perspective and makes forming meaningful connections between the player and its characters the main priority. I won’t spoil things here but the game ends with a real emotional gut punch, one which was emphasised by the bonds I had formed with Ulfr’s family. Each character is lovingly fleshed out and animated, making them very easy to empathise with.
There are a few puzzles to solve but nothing too taxing. Simple memory games and just following instructions are about as hard as it gets. VR allows for a lot of creativity in terms of puzzle solving so it’s a shame that the game plays it so safe.
The narrative gets more and more engrossing as it goes on, but ends before it reaches its full potential. It gives a great taste of the world and is reasonably priced to boot, but it definitely left me wanting more. Hopefully there are plans for more content later down the line as I am really itching to spend some more time with these extremely likeable characters.
While my first few minutes with Fated: The Silent Oath were a little disheartening, the game quickly found its groove and told me a meaningful story with real emotional heft. Great visuals and intelligent design choices make Fated: The Silent Oath an adventure well worth having.