This virtual reality exclusive takes place during the age of the Vikings and deals mostly with a bit of their mythology. The game starts off with the player character dead and being offered a second chance at life as long as they take an oath of silence, hence the title. From there you’ll have around two hours of slowly pacing around listening to dialogue from other characters that spin a very shallow story.
The developers describe the game as a “narrative experience that focuses on emotion over gameplay” and call the game “movie-length.” At least the developers aren’t directly liars, as the game took around two hours to finish, and there certainly is little in the way of gameplay. The majority of your time will be spent walking or standing still and looking at characters as they deliver their dialogue directly at you or other characters. The only thing that otherwise qualifies as gameplay is a short segment where you’re tasked with shooting a few deer with a bow early in the game, something that you’d think would be foreshadowing using the bow again in the future—but you’d be wrong.
There are a couple of puzzles to be found in the game, but calling them puzzles is an insult to actual puzzles. One room has runes scribbled on the wall that light up in a certain order while you press the corresponding buttons on a nearby panel, and the one other puzzle does the same thing only you have to walk across panels in correct order. If you find reciting the ABCs written on a chalkboard in front of you puzzling, then these might have you stumped. In other words, they are stupidly easy.
Aside from some decent character designs, the one thing the game does right is having the characters ask the player questions that require you to shake your head yes or no to answer them. It adds immersion and fits the silent protagonist well. However, at the very end of the game, you’re asked a question and the option to answer is taken away from you for narrative purposes, and it is infuriating. The tone that normally plays indicating you should answer is heard, but you can only answer one option and then the game abruptly ends.
The ending of the game caught me off guard and is probably the angriest I’ve ever found myself at an ending since Killzone: Shadow Fall. Not because of the content of the ending, but because it comes out of nowhere. It turns out FATED is to be an episodic title, with The Silent Oath being part one. That wouldn’t be an issue if the developer’s made mention of that on either storefront selling the game.
The last section of the game includes a scene where all the characters stand still and talk for multiple minutes before all silently walking together across a bridge. You’re the last person in a line and the characters in front of you walk slower than you move. If there is one moment that defines the game, it is this. I can’t wrap my head around why the developers didn’t have the characters walk and talk at the same time and move faster than a snails pace. Unless of course they just wanted to make sure it took players at least two hours to complete, thus being preventing from getting a refund on Steam.
For a game that wants to be a movie, it does neither job well. The gameplay is minimal and mostly walking, the story is barely there, and there is no real character development. FATED: The Silent Oath would have worked better as a 20-minute virtual reality short film with all the dull walking cut out or sped up, as the visual experiences weren’t bad.