Velvet Assasin

2011-03-06 13:12:53

Velvet Assassin, just based on the name alone you can tell the protagonist is a woman, and that it is a stealther game. I like stealth games, most stealth games are a mixture of awareness of environment, puzzle solving, and flawless execution. Stealth games are a punishing lot, as if you lack any kind of patience the game will usually smash you in the face with a brick for being so blunt and uncoordinated. So it feeds my superiority complex quite well to play these games.

The premise behind this stealther is pretty good as well, it is WWII, you are an OSI agent in occupied France, your job is to disrupt Nazi logistics and supplies throughout the area. so it's a WWII stealth game, which is cool because doing things like something you'd expect Sam Fisher to undertake while using what was on hand in 1940's is something special. No fancy tech here, just sticking to shadows, throwing things to make noise and redirect guards, behind the back stealth takedowns and using people as human shields while stealthfully dispatching another guard.

All of this sounds great and initially the game play seems to play it all out. The first few missions feel inspired and have the right amounts of difficulty and punishment for failing to remain stealthy. The game injects a mechanic to make the game more accessible which is somewhat annoying but acceptable since it is hardly a requirement to use, which is the Morphine dose. if you get into a situation where you have been spotted or otherwise in peril you can utilize the morphine to slow time down to near stop, while running around in what appears to be a pink slip, and stabbing all the various guards in the room without retribution. The cut scenes between missions also seem to fortell a morphine addict in a bed, which alludes to the fact that despite being a hero, in the end your character is little more than a junkie.

One great mechanic that was included is the ability to change into other outfits when presented with them in order to fool the Nazi's, it only works from distance however, appearently it is easy for germans to identify real german women from French women who are just pretending. Also enjoyable is the ability to put yourself into a cupboard or other such crate and peek out at the world around you in case enemies are coming close. 

The problem with the game and the reason I sent it back unfinished was that the game is way way WAY too linear, it is so linear I might as well be sitting on a train than moving my character around. There is generally only 1 real solution to each puzzle piece, and most of them are completely easy to figure out. Guards walk in specific patterns with only 1 way to approach them, maps are built to only allow 1 way to complete the maze. Overall it just seemed too boxed in. I like a little freeform in my stealther. Such as with Hitman, maybe I want to choke guy 1 on the street dump him in the sewer, take his clothing wear it, and sneak into the private party to kill everyone, or maybe I want to drop in via skylight. There should always be at least 2 ways to approach a patrol, and this game does not provide you with those choices, it is its way or the highway.

Reason Rank
Start 10
A WWII game that isn't a shooter?! +5
Disguises is a great mechanic I've loved since Hitman. +3
Morphine Mode is easy mode, but is mostly for accessibility so we let it slide -1
Linear gameplay that both destroys replay but also the desire to play midgame? -9
Loading screens that give away the protagonists ultimate ending? -3
Final 5/10

I give this game a 5/10, the game is unique, but the linearity of the game killed the mood for me, maybe someone with a stronger stomach for games on rails will enjoy the game far better. The company should be applauded for building a WWII game that isn't just see nazi shoot nazi rah rah rah!