Fade to Silence starts very, very slowly. You’re dropped into this wintry, post-apocalyptic world without so much as an explanation and put to work.
The problem is, whatever your work is, isn’t ever really explained. Thus, players are left to work things out for themselves.
I floundered around, wasting time and resources for an hour or so before I realised what I was supposed to be doing.
Essentially, Fade to Silence is a winter flavour State of Decay; except zombies have been replaced by vaguely Eldritch inspired enemies. You build your camp, recruit survivors and gather supplies.
Fade to Silence Review
In Fade to Silence, you play as Ash. He’s a gruff, hardened survivor who’s looking out for his daughter. That’s the extent of his backstory. None of the characters gives anything more than a cursory fleshing out. They exist to fill roles; medic, builder, butcher etc.
Ash though, is the leader. He’s the Rick Grimes, just way less interesting.
When you start a new game, you’re shown Ash’s lifeless body ringed by torches. These represent your lives and each time you die, one is extinguished.
It’s a Spooky Ghost
The omnipresent, evil, ghostly grim reaper figure who stays with you throughout the game puts a torch out and disappears into Ash. This guy is like an evil Navi. He’s always taunting you and telling you to give up.
It’s unclear what role he played in the apocalypse, but he refers to most things as his, so perhaps he’s the architect of earth’s demise. Again, it’s not really clear. Nothing in Fade to Silence is very clear.
As a survival game, Fade to Silence includes some pretty standard features. Hunger and cold meters are pretty familiar, as is the scavenging and crafting you’ll be doing a lot of. And I mean A LOT.
All About that Base
Your home base requires supplies to maintain and the more survivors you recruit, the more supplies you’ll need. Mostly, you’ll be focusing on firewood and food, but you’ll also need to make sure you have a tonne of other supplies too.
Fade to Silence includes a bunch of different types of the same material too, just to make things more time-consuming. As the earth has been corrupted by this Eldritch winter, so too have trees and animals. That means you’re only able to harvest specific trees and animals.
Even then, they’ll only give you a limited amount of ‘good’ material and a bunch of corrupted stuff. To remove the corruption, you’ll need to construct a special building and assign a survivor with the right skills to convert the bad into good.
It’s fiddly and time-consuming and seems to be designed to put you even further behind the 8-ball at all times. Fade to Silence is not a survival game that you’ll ever really feel comfortable in. You never have enough of anything and you’ll always be starving or freezing or both.
Ice Ice Baby
To try and combat this, you take Ash (and a companion if you wish) on an expedition out into the wastes. Here you’ll find resources, survivors, enemies and various other items of interest. When you find locations ripe with resources to farm, your survivors will automatically harvest them.
Even when they fully deplete the resource, you still feel like you’ve got none. I can’t stress enough that in Fade to Silence, you will never get out in front. You will always be struggling for supplies.
Out in the wintry wastes, you’ll come across nodes of corruption. These spots have tentacles everywhere and a weird Sarlacc-looking monster in the centre. You’ll need to get up close and mash a button to cleanse the corruption. If you’re attacked and damaged mid-mash, you’ll lose some progress. Take too long to get back to mashing and you’ll need to start again.
These nodes of corruption are the basis for capturing outposts too. Each outpost has a number of these nodes. Once you clear them all you need to defeat the guardians and the Outpost is yours. These guardians are generally slightly stronger variants of the normal enemies.
While Fade to Silence isn’t a zombie game, the enemies are basically zombies. They may have claws and tentacles and be able to spit goo at you, but they move slowly, are easy to outmanoeuvre and make noises like zombies do.
Unlike State of Decay, you’ll only ever come across two or three enemies at a time at a maximum. Combat is inspired by Dark Souls, but falls far, far short. You have a stamina bar and need to avoid or counter enemy attacks. However, I found I could just chop them with a heavy attack and slowly back away to win most fights.
I Thought they Smelled Bad…On The Outside
Once you beat the guardians and take the outpost you’ll earn a tonne of supplies — still not enough to feel safe — and be able to teleport between your home base and the outpost. Fast travel is very welcome as once you’ve explored certain areas of the icy wastes and collected everything, there’s almost no reason to go back.
You only need to push ahead, capture more outposts, find more resources and keep going.
I may sound overwhelmingly negative and while I’m not hugely impressed with Fade to Silence, I still found myself unable to put it down. I played it for hours on end, always trying to explore a little further, find something new and build my base bigger and better.
I was really interested in the lore and enjoyed each tiny nugget I found. It’s just a shame that there’s really not much of it. The same goes for anything outside the core gameplay loop. In Fade to Silence, you will be collecting, crafting and building ad nauseam for the duration.
There’s really no variety whatsoever. So, if you enjoy that Roguelike style, where death can come at any moment and you spend the entire time just barely scraping by, you’ll probably enjoy Fade to Silence.
If you prefer a game that tells you what you should be doing, where you should be going and what the hell is going on, then Fade to Silence will probably leave you cold.
Fade to Silence was reviewed on PC using a digital code provided by the publisher.
Game Title: Fade to Silence