Frima Originals’ FATED: The Silent Oath has been a reluctant showcase of a studio diving into new technology. While those at the helm are undeniably enthusiastic about virtual reality (VR) as a medium, very little of the gameplay mechanics featured in FATED: The Silent Oath were shown prior to release. Exactly what form the videogame would take remained a mystery, though hopes were high that this enthusiasm would translate into an enjoyable experience.
Thankfully, FATED: The Silent Oath is just that. It’s not without issue, but by-and-large the videogame is a unique and inviting title that utilises VR greatly, proving that deep exploration of character is heightened by the medium and that greater bonds can be forged. It’s not a long experience, but the few hours that are offered by FATED: The Silent Oath are gripping to the point where many will most likely complete the videogame in one sitting.
Of those issues, FATED: The Silent Oath throws the option to select your rotation mode before even displaying a splash screen. While the player is able to alter this in-game at the simple press of a button, it’s shocking to see an experienced developer such as Frima Originals give an option so intrinsic to VR before the player even has any knowledge of the effect this may have upon them and their enjoyment of the videogame. And in FATED: The Silent Oath, the rotation is a big stumbling block. Although it handles at a relatively slow pace, the motion of the player’s first-person perspective relative to their real-world seated position has warranted the ‘intense’ comfort rating presented by Oculus VR on the Oculus Home application.
The general premise of the videogame is that the player is on a quest to find safety for their family, with a touch of revenge on the side. Playing in a first-person perspective, FATED: The Silent Oath throws up mechanics such as archery and cart driving, but the core of the videogame is exploration and puzzle solving. The player is never left to their own devices, guided through the adventure by their companions. And it’s these companions that make FATED: The Silent Oath a truly standout experience.
Relationships and character interaction are an important part of FATED: The Silent Oath, with the player only able to communicate by either nodding or shaking their head, ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers respectively. A sound cue gives an indication of when such an input is required and while at the start these are simple questions with obvious paths of progression, FATED: The Silent Oath’s strengths come later in the videogame when it’s not so clear-cut as to what your responses will mean to both your loved ones and your enemies.
FATED: The Silent Oath’s chunky, colourful aesthetic belies the emotionally turbulent content it hides within. Akin to Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, FATED: The Silent Oath lures the user into thinking it’s light-hearted brushstrokes and gentle palette will add a distance between itself and reality, but in truth it only aids the delivery of believable characters. FATED: The Silent Oath is a wonderfully short journey and beyond a doubt worth investing in, so long as you can find your own comfort level within the manual VR rotation.