Fade to Silence is a self-described Survival-RPG, developed by Black Forest Games (the German makers of the Giana Sisters series and comprised of most of the former staff of the company that made Arcania: Gothic 4) and published by THQ Nordic on PC, Playstation 4 and Xbox One on April 30th, 2019. In essence, it's a Survival Sandbox game with Dark Souls-inspired combat, and is every bit as unforgiving as that sounds.
It is set in a ravaged world of Post Apocalyptic winter, where players take on the role of Ash, a man who had already died once, but was then revived by a mysterious Inner Voice in a ritual that leaves him with six more lives ("Flames of Hope"). You can gain additional ones through cleansing Blight nests, but losing all of them forces you to restart the game, with at most a few perks ("Permanent Blessings") being carried over.
Having been given a new chance at life, Ash attempts to not just make it through for himself and his daughter Alice, but also establish a refuge for others. The task is complicated by the presence of The Blight, whose corrupted monsters constantly seek to end the group. Moreover, they always know where you are, as they are led by the same Inner Voice that revived you, and now observes the proceedings through your body for its twisted amusement. Still, even they are vulnerable to the weather, and both you and them must fear the blizzard more than anything else.
Tropes present in Fade to Silence:
- Alliterative Family: Father and daughter pair, Ash and Alice.
- Ambiguous Time Period: It's unclear how much time has passed since the Eclipse destroyed modern civilization. From Ash's daughter's age, it seems like no more than a year or two at most has passed, but then some of the conversations you have with your followers seem bizarre unless years or even decades have passed. Considering he has a thoroughly broken mind and Alice is a hallucination, being Dead All Along, this discrepancy seems to have been on purpose.
- Boss in Mook's Clothing: Stalkers, Crushers, and Feeders all qualify. Fortunately, they don't respawn.
- Charged Attack: Present, though they obviously consume more stamina.
- Cheerful Child: Ash's daughter Alice has a practically unbreakable optimism.
- Combat Tentacles: A feature of the many Blighted monsters.
- Continuing is Painful: Running out of lives means having to restart the entire game all over again. Pretty devastating considering that it's a Survival Sandbox game in which you can spend hours building up your base and harvesting resources.
- The Corruption: The Blight, which corrupts resources and turns living things and the recently deceased into monsters.
- Cosmic Horror Story: The plot is set in a Class 3a (bordering on Class 5) scenario where an Eldritch Abomination with nakedly-malevolent intentions finds its way to Earth by the accidental machinations of human science before it proceeds to wipe out mankind through an Endless Winter and a Zombie Apocalypse. The protagonist is nothing but the Big Bad's plaything, giving him Resurrective Immortality just to watch him fight, suffer and die again and again for no other reason than its own personal amusement.
- Damage Sponge: The blighted enemies always require several stamina bars' worth of attacks in order to put down. The Crushers are by far the toughest; they take significantly reduced damage from arrows, and have several times as much health as the basic Reapers.
- Dead All Along: The ending reveals that Ash's daughter was a Blight Zombie the entire time chilling out in the crypt you start the game in, with the daughter that hangs out with you throughout the game actually being a hallucination of his broken mind.
- Dialogue Tree: You converse with the other survivors in this manner when you first meet them on the expeditions.
- Golem: A Crusher is essentially the Blight managing to assemble a pile of rocks into a golem.
- Gone Horribly Wrong: The origins of the snow apocalypse and the Blight. Specifically, scientists studying the space-time continuum opened a rift in space-time through which the Inner Voice came into our world. After a few weeks gestating in the ruins of the research facility, it burst out in the form of the Eclipse and ended the world. Dr. David Nash made things worse after pleading with the Inner Voice to resurrect his family after they were killed in a tsunami caused by the Eclipse; of course the Inner Voice turned out to be a Jackass Genie and Nash ended up with a Blight Zombie wife and daughter and the Inner Voice now tied to him.
- Healing Potion: Can be crafted from herbs.
- Item Crafting: Present. It involves not just the creation of everyday tools and weapons, but also the combination of Blighted monsters' essence with the plants (mutated or not) to create various potions.
- Knockback: Heavy attacks will knock your enemies back. However, the Blighted monsters can in turn knock Ash down, and may even stunlock him in this manner.
- Lemony Narrator: The Inner Voice, which will mock just about your every action.
- Mooks, but no Bosses: The game doesn't have any boss fights or even any major scripted events other than the events in which you meet and recruit individual followers. Though some of the tougher Blighted enemies are definitely dangerous enough to be considered a Boss in Mook's Clothing, as well as being relatively rare. In fact, there are only about 6 Crushers and 6 Feeders in the entire game, about 1 Crusher per zone, and most of the Feeders are encountered in the final zone.
- Obvious Beta: The release version of the game is known for a bunch of glitches. The dog sled in particular attracted plenty of flak due to frequently clipping through the ground. Other issues include crashes, freezing during loading screens, ranged enemy attacks occasionally bypassing obstacles, and getting stuck in textures during certain activities.
- Overly-Long Tongue: The Feeder attacks by grabbing prey with its tongue to pull them close to its mouth. It's got a range of well over 100 feet.
- Palette Swap: The upgraded versions of the Spitter and Reaper (called the Impaler and Soul Reaper) amount to this.
- Resources Management Gameplay: Unlike most survival games, resources are limited and don't respawn, so there is a built-in time limit to finish the game before you completely deplete the world of food and firewood and starve/freeze to death as a result. Once you finish the game and trigger the ending cutscene, your main camp stops using up food and fuel as resources, allowing you to explore the world at your leisure.
- Ridiculously Fast Construction: Averted. It takes hours of in-game time to build even the basic structures. Luckily, you are not the one doing it, as your followers are assigned to these tasks instead. Unluckily, they may end up getting interrupted by an attack of the Blight, or the blizzard.
- Smash Mook: Aptly named Crushers are these.
- Sprint Meter: There's a stamina bar, as expected of the genre. Notably, it's separate from the "exhaustion" bar.
- That's No Moon: There's an enormous orb always floating in the sky in your sight. It quite resembles a moon at first. Then, you find out it's called The Eclipse after it starts raining down Blight whenever you happen to pass right under it. Tua mentions that some survivors have started worshipping the "trash moon".
- Unnecessary Combat Roll: Present, along with being able to block and parry attacks.
- Wizard Needs Food Badly: Since it's a survival game, finding food is crucial, both to feed yourself, and the followers you'll find. Finding firewood to keep you and your followers warm comes a close second.
- Zombie Puke Attack: Blighted Spitters attack in this manner.