FATED: The Silent Oath is an interesting experience that shows virtual reality can be more than shock scares or first person thrill rides. That being said, the adventure is short and there are enough rough edges that detract from the overall experience which I enjoyed, but not without some compromise.
I am a sucker for games that feature a Viking theme, and FATED: The Silent Oath follows the tale of a recently deceased husband and father who is brought back to life. His objective is to protect his family - not an easy task as they and your village have had to make haste for safety elsewhere.
So first I want to talk about the things that worked really well for me. The setting was an excellent one, and I can always get behind the story of someone who is trying to protect loved ones. In a 'Little Mermaid' moment your character comes back to life but without a voice, prompting you to interact with others in conversations by nodding your head yes or shaking it no. This is probably the most interesting mechanic as I haven't bumped into any games using the head tracking for this kind of purpose.
Where the controls are somewhat less effective is in how you use triggers to move your arms. You can raise them, interacting with things. It is actually a cool idea, but it feels as though FATED: The Silent Oath is begging for proper hand tracking and not the controller interface. This is not a huge hindrance as there are not a lot of actual gameplay moments. You are mostly walking about and looking at other characters who use dialog as the primary means of story narration. This actually works quite well, because it allows the characters to develop some depth and personality. There is a brief mini-game of sort where you are hunting with a bow and there are a couple of incredibly lightweight puzzles that are little more than rudimentary interactions.
In terms of the visuals, virtual reality does a nice job of bringing the content in nice and close and the first person perspective allows you to feel like you are a part of the story. However, the character models are somewhat stiff and the voice acting is generally adequate at best. There are a few nicer musical scores tucked in here and there that do match the setting and the tone of the story, however.
There are however, two major issues with FATED: The Silent Oath that are impossible to ignore. For one, the way that the game ends. It becomes clear that this was designed as an episodic title, yet releasing half a year ago I find myself wondering if more episodes are in fact coming. Also, there was no mention of that in the Steam description of the game, leaving this title to feel somewhat incomplete. Adding to that feeling is the short run time of just under two hours. I enjoyed the experience and certainly wanted to see more of it, but I cannot help but wonder when or if we will see more of the experience.
FATED: The Silent Oath is a nice attempt at trying to tell a story, for doing something different with virtual reality. For that the development team deserves credit. That being said, the experience has a few too many rough edges and a sense of incompleteness that makes it difficult to recommend. The experience has lots of potential, but as a whole it is not fully realized.
PC - Oculus Rift
Provided by Publisher
Article by Nick