|Review||Space: Seated||Available on: HTC Vive; Oculus Rift; PSVR (Date TBD)|
|Multiplayer: No||Controllers: Gamepad||Reviewed on: HTC Vive; Oculus Rift|
FATED: The Silent Oath is a first-person perspective virtual reality game set in Viking mythology. It tells the tale of a family whose lives are torn asunder when mythical giants return to life, destroying their village and chasing them through the mountains. Classifying the exact genre of FATED is difficult; my best description is that it’s an adventure game experience. I use the word “experience” as the game elements are quite light. There are puzzles, but they are incredibly simple to solve. Similarly, there are dexterity challenges, but they shouldn’t pose any difficulty for all but the greenest of gamers.
Don’t let that put you off. If you approach FATED as an interactive story, you’ll find a lot to enjoy here. The narrative actually got me hooked; I found both the world and its characters visually compelling. I often found myself taking a moment just to look around and enjoy the scenery. The game has a lot of presence, and I found myself reacting more strongly to game events than you would expect. There was a moment when a large blackbird landed next to my “daughter” as I was driving a cart. Even though my daughter engaged happily with it, it made me more and more nervous as time went on. My relief was palpable when it flew away. The game is full of little moments like this.
It’s not a long game; the Steam description of “movie-length” is just about right, clocking in at around 1.5 hours. That makes its $19.99 price point a bit high in my book, but on the other hand, there isn’t anything else like it on the market.
Specials & Surprises
Beyond the storyline, FATED is like a VR amusement park, employing that enhanced sense of presence to challenge your fears, whether they be heights, bats, bugs, tight spaces, or swimming. With its compelling graphics and sound, there are some neat experiences to be found here.
In fact, FATED is almost like a VR research tech demo. Since the game lets you move with a gamepad, it has to deal with the potential for nausea, especially from rotation. To that end, the devs have employed a number of mitigating technical methods. Comfort options include the ability to rotate in 15-degree increments, change your speed of rotation, and to display static reference graphics; you can display floor squares, volume boxes, or even a spherical cage around you to help reduce the chances of feeling ill. My wife, who is very prone to VR sickness when motion does not correlate with her physical movement, felt that these measures were helpful, if not fully effective. I didn’t need to use them, but I did notice some discomfort when rotating; this decreased over time.
Who Should Buy It
People who love stories and want to feel immersed in the narrative should grab this without hesitation. It’s a beautiful game to experience. Researchers, devs, and enthusiasts will also find this to be a perfect game for experimenting with first person movement; FATED shows you why Hover Junkers has vehicle translation but not rotation.
Disclosure: a copy of FATED: The Silent Oath was provided for this review.
Three-Minute VR is virtual reality coverage that aims to cram all the info you need in the shortest time and space I can manage. They may not be exactly three minutes… so let’s just say they’re virtually three minutes.