Fated: The Silent Oath is a Narrative driven Virtual Reality game for Oculus Rift, Vive and Playstation VR developed by Frima Studios. I played the Playstation Vr version of this game that was released 28 Mar 2017 and like most VR games so far I experienced some motion sickness, but I will not focus on that in this review. Fated: The Silent Oath is set in the Viking era with Norse mythology being central to the narrative. On the brink of death, I play the role of the Valhalla doubting protagonist, Ulfer. Confronted by a Valkyrie who informs Ulfer that his life string is spent, but she can him give another if he promises to protect ‘her’. Meanwhile in the realm of the living, Ulfer’s wife is pleading for him to stay alive as they flee on the back of a horse-drawn cart. Having exchanged his voice for his life the world transforms from a grey brown tones to a beautifully vibrant world that is simple but very striking and helps sell this mystical world of gods and giants.
I am a fan of games that combine story with gameplay and this game is a great example. As previously mentioned, the player gave up his voice in order to have another chance to save his family and now can only respond with simple head gestures for ‘yes’ and ‘no’. Since I can’t talk in the game and neither can my character, the simple head gestures as the only form of communication immersed me further into this game.
Unfortunately when it came to the part of the game where I had to hunt deer with a bow and arrow the aiming was done via the analog stick. I would have loved to see the Move Controllers, or even just the Duelshock, used for a more immersive experience to match the rest of the game.
It could be argued that Fated: TSO could have been a normal game or even a third person Teltale styled game, but there are some very striking moments where playing it in VR really makes it worth while. A stand out scene for me is a section where you get to control the horse-drawn cart as you leave your war stricken village behind. As the surrounding environment changes to snow covered mountain pass, Ulfer’s daughter joins you at the front of the cart. In a very disparate situation Liv provides a ray of sunshine and childlike wonderment to the game. Being able to glance down at her as she chatters away, reminded me very much of my own curly haired daughter. This moment of calm is soon disrupted, much like the Fellow Ship of the Ring, our band of travelers are accosted by huge ice giants. The size and threat of the the Ice Giants is very much realized in this virtual world. As I fled, there was a real sense of fear and concern for my in-game daughter. This sense of fear for another character would not have been as strongly portrayed out of VR.
The walking sections were my least favorite part of the game as the pace is very slow. I imagine that this has been done to reduce the motion sickness which I can appreciate, however it still made the pace too slow for my liking. At least the slow plodding moments are improved by the NPC that are on this journey with Ulfer. In between the walking and the cart rides, there are some simple puzzles and environmental obstacles, none pose too much trouble, but again the ability to glance up at the wall to see which symbol instructs where it is safe to walk in a very India Jones-esque way. Giant swinging blade traps have never felt this real or this frightening in any video game that I have played, which is the beauty of VR. Seeing and hearing these massive blades swish centimeters (inches for the USA readers) in front of your nose was quite the experience.
Having a son called Odin, you would correctly assume that I like Norse mythology, but for those who are unfamiliar with the comings and goings of the Ice Giants will find this game educational. The player is taught norse folklore as they traverse the ancient caves through the innocent questions of Liv, the daughter of our protagonist.
The ending left me stunned and a bit surprised at the potential twist which should be confirmed in part two of the story that I hope is not too far off. All in all, I really enjoyed my time with Fated: The Silent Oath and would recommend it to anyone with VR as a must play. Its not perfect but I am looking forward to what Frima Studios does next.