Release date: April 28, 2016
Genre: VR Adventure
VR Experience: Comfortable
VR Risk: Safe
Fated is more than a Norse story. It is more than a myth. It is even more than a legend. Fated is a Norse saga. A saga speaks of Gods and Fate and Destiny. Every character is Important. Every Word establishes reality and can change the course of Nations. You can almost hear the capitalization when people speak.
In Fated you play the part of a Norseman on the verge of death. As the veil separating the worlds of flesh and spirit thins, you meet a Valkyrie. She explains that you have reached the end of your thread of life. Normally, you would just pass on. But the Valkyrie are very interested in your daughter whom they think is truly amazing. Unfortunately, she will not survive unless you are there to protect her. So she offers you a deal...
The Valkyrie will give you a new thread of life so that you can protect your daughter. There is just one little catch. This deal will oppose both the Fates and the will of the Gods. So to guarantee that you don’t say a word on Earth where Odin sees all and hears all, they will take your voice. You will live, but you will be mute.
Remember, you have only one job to do.
The graphics are done in a style I call Dreamscape. This is the style used by American Mcgee’s Alice, Ether One, and Nevermind. It is a little surreal, but this is appropriate as reality might be all in your head.
The VR is comfortable and puts you right in the middle of the game, just as it should. Your ride in the cart is impressive, but your meeting with the Valkyrie in the vastness of space is spectacular. There are battles in the game, but you are never attacked directly, so there is no risk of VR-induced trauma.
The game starts off a little slowly with the first two chapters devoted to setting up the story and getting you comfortable with the game mechanics (you may not be able to talk, but you can shake your head “yes” or “no”). But the third chapter makes up for it with a wild wagon ride to escape a rampaging frost giant. Yes, there are a couple of action scenes, but nothing the average gamer shouldn’t be able to handle. After that, the game settles down to classic exploration and puzzle-solving.
The puzzles are all straightforward and easy to medium in difficulty. I was able to get through them without a walkthrough. There is no inventory.
Some people will criticize the game because it does not conform to Western expectations of how story and acting should be done. But I was impressed with how the developers were able to capture the spirit of a saga. Remember, the Norse are the people who brought us Ragnarok, and nobody survives Ragnarok.
There was a humorous glitch in the game where I had saved right after the meeting with the Valkyrie (you can save anywhere). When I restarted the game I was pinned in space and the wagon went on leaving me dangling in midair. The game appeared to continue somewhere down the road without me. A restart cleared that bug and the game continued flawlessly.
The bottom line is that Fated is a visual feast and very dramatic. You feel you are taking part in something truly Wagnerian. And while it may not be exceptional (a little more actual game play in the beginning would have helped) or groundbreaking, it is thoroughly professional and a lot of fun. That earns it a final grade of “B.”
+ Authentic saga feel
+ Atmospheric graphics
+ Fair challenges
+/- Sagas do not follow the rules of Western literature
- Starts off slowly
- Has the occasional glitch