A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Fade to Silence is a post-apocalyptic survival simulation for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows PCs. It sees players taking on the role of a man attempting to recruit and help a small group of people living together in a frozen wasteland. The simple story promotes cooperation and perseverance, suggesting that both qualities help people to live and thrive in the face of obstacles natural and evil. The survivors do battle against monstrous, vaguely humanoid enemies that seem to be physical manifestations of corruption. Fighting involves crafted swords, torches, and bows and arrows. Monsters don't bleed, but the human survivors do if they're injured. Parents should also note that dialogue contains occasional instances of strong language, including "f--k."
What's it about?
The weather isn't your friend in FADE TO SILENCE, a post-apocalyptic game of survival in which players must battle both evil monsters and the frigid elements to remain alive. It begins with the player's character, a grizzled man named Ash, waking up in a cave some time after human civilization has collapsed. The first thing he hears are the whispers of an ancient evil known as the Inner Voice. The Inner Voice mocks his weakness, berates his decisions, and attempts to drain our hero of hope and determination. But Ash ignores the voice, heading out of the cave and into the harsh winter, where he rescues first his daughter and then others, recruiting them to create a community that works together to survive the cold. Players must gather basic necessities, including food and firewood, and scavenge supplies to craft items such as weapons. These weapons are used against the Inner Voice's minions, horrible monsters that roam the frozen countryside with an aim to extinguish the last embers of humanity. Danger comes not only from monsters, but also from cold, hunger, and exhaustion, all of which can prove fatal if not attended to -- especially if a raging blizzard suddenly roars in while you're away from your community camp. The main mode of play affords players a limited number of lives, after which they'll need to start again. A much easier Exploration mode provides infinite lives and easier combat encounters, allowing players to progress with less frustration.
Is it any good?
The biggest decision you'll make in this game is whether to play on the normal or easy difficulty setting. Fade to Silence's regular mode is an extremely challenging survival simulation that will claim Ash's life in many ways, from lethal monsters to hypothermia. And once he's gone through his small stack of lives, that's it: game over. But you can take what you've learned about the world and how to survive in it and apply it to your next playthrough. You'll gradually learn how to manage your camp recruits better, how to deal with various types of enemies more efficiently, and what to do to keep all of your health stats at optimal levels. Switch to the easier Exploration mode, and you can die as often as you need without worrying about being forced to start over. It's significantly less frustrating, but it also removes the tension of needing to make smart decisions in order to survive. That said, it's nice that the easier option exists for players who haven't much patience.
Regardless of the level of challenge chosen, you may find yourself annoyed by other aspects of the experience. Managing resources is fun at first, but the combination of your needy group of survivors and the simplicity of survival tasks risks making the process of gathering food and firewood tedious. And while combat feels good and enemies can be very challenging, fighting mechanics are rudimentary enough that doing battle may also eventually grow dull for some players. The game's one incredible highlight is blizzards. They come crashing down on Ash with all the force of nature; a deadly impediment but a visual delight. Learning how to survive these snowstorms is the most rewarding part of the experience. But awe-inspiring blizzards do not a complete survival game make. Fade to Silence succeeds in delivering a lonely and foreboding world filled with death and danger, but it doesn't make working to survive most of these perils as compelling as one might hope.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the impact of violence in the media. Is the impact of the violence in Fade to Silence affected by the fact that you're mainly fighting inhuman monsters? Would the impact be intensified if you were fighting people?
People have historically fared better when working together in groups for the common good. Do you enjoy working as part of a team, or do you prefer to tackle problems on your own?
- Platforms: PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
- Price: $39.99-49.99
- Pricing structure: Paid ($39.99-$49.99)
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: THQ Nordic
- Release date: April 23, 2019
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- ESRB rating: M for Blood, Strong Language, Violence
- Last updated: June 19, 2019
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.