Fated: The Silent Oath Review
Usually games end when you die, but Fated opens after you have died. You play as Ulfr, a Viking warrior who expired when his house came crashing down on him. Before you complete your transition to the afterlife, though, a Valkyrie offers to return you to the world of the living, but if you accept the offer it will come at the cost of your voice so you won't be able to tell anyone what you've seen. This deal eliminates the need to support dialog options for your character in the game, and the few times you'll respond to questions from characters in the game it will be by shaking your head yes or no.
The lack of dialog options for the player is unusual for an adventure game, but it allows the game to eliminate the need for an interface. Your immersion in the game world is deeper thanks to the lack of any floating text or icons. And that world is gorgeous, an animated Nordic landscape filled with towering forests and granite mountains rendered in an art style that's vaguely reminiscent of World of Warcraft. As you look around you can get an appreciation for what it must have been like back then to be surrounded by an imposing landscape and dark forests hiding all manner of unknown dangers. This immersion into the world of the Vikings is the highlight of the game, because there's not much in the way of gameplay here.
The game unfolds more as a story that you're standing in the middle of than an interactive experience. Most of the time you will be a witness to the conversations between the other characters in the game, your interaction with the game being constrained to keeping up with the group as they walk along. This walking can be a little awkward as turning involves flicking the stick left or right which will then abruptly shift the whole world 45 degrees in that direction. It's disconcerting enough that it made me slightly nauseous after a while and I had to get in the habit of closing my eyes before turning.
There are only a few interactive moments in the game, but they are all pretty simple and seem to have been included so that Fated could call itself a game rather than a VR movie. The story is enjoyable enough, especially if you have more than a passing interest in Norse mythology, but the game is really short and ends rather abruptly, and it ends in a manner that will undoubtedly leave many disappointed with the ending. And if you're looking for a VR experience that's more game than experience, you should look elsewhere.
Final Rating: 55% - Fated is more of a (barely) interactive short story than it is a game.