Within the space of six months, Sony’s PlayStation VR headset has put us in the bodies of numerous characters, from sporting mech pilots and birds of prey to the caped crusader himself, Batman. For the most part these roles have been non-speaking, and with it kind of makes sense, especially in games that don’t feature a well-known protagonist and want to give that players that added sense of immersion.
Fated: The Silent Oath plays around with this concept. It’s hero, Ulfor, finds himself stuck in limbo – or at least the Viking equivalent – only to be saved by a goddess. In exchange for his life, she asks him to sacrifice his voice. Silent protagonists are common when it comes to first person games, so trying to justify this comes across as a bit daft. That’s quickly overlooked, however.
As you return to the mortal realm you’ll soak in the vibrant, cartoon-like fantasy visuals. Imagine a cross between Telltale’s adventure series and World of Warcraft. There’s a consistent norse theme throughout, the motifs and imagery becoming more prominent as you continue Ulfor’s journey, travelling across the land with his family during Ragnarök. The end times are here.
In fact, there are plenty of similarities between Fated and Telltale’s most recent works. Like a lot of VR games, Frima’s first crack at virtual reality can be described as more of an experience than a game. There may be interactive element but, for the most part, you’ll feel like a passenger. That’s not such a bad thing, considering some of the set pieces Fated throws at you. While earlier scenes can feel a tad dosile, easing you in slowly, there’s a fantastic chase sequence followed by a deadly gauntlet that had me wincing inside my headset.
The PlayStation Move may be the go-to controllers when hooked up to the PlayStation VR but they’re not supported here. With only a few actions available, the DualShock 4 is more than up to the task on this occasion. That said, it would been great to see some kind of motion controls – especially during the puzzle-solving segments – just for that added touch of immersion.
Having played several VR titles including RIGS, Here They Lie, and Resident Evil 7, I was concerned that motion sickness would rear its ugly, nauseating head once more. For me, it only occurs in games that allow you to turn your view with the right stick. However, between two long sessions with Fated, I never felt that same discomfort or queasiness. This is most likely due to the slower movement speed and its blockier, cartoon graphics. Having scenes with plenty of bold, contrasting colours also made it a lot easier on the eyes.
The only thing I wasn’t too keen on was how the story unfolds. There are several moments in which Fated takes on a darker tone and these help add a sense of peril. However, the way in which it all wraps up is disappointing and abrupt, with no explanation of what happens. It’s a disappointment, yet one that failed to dampen my overall impressions.
At only a few hours long, Fated keeps things short and sweet. Although there’s little reason to go back and play again, I didn’t feel as though the £7.99 pricetag was too steep. In that respect, it’s more of a showpiece, a flashy virtual rollercoaster, and one that’s definitely worth riding.
Version tested: PlayStation 4 Pro