Winter!: Prepare for holiday gaming!
Yes, come to me. Come close...your life is mine.
I stumbled upon Velvet Assassin quite by accident a few months before it's release date. My attention was drawn to the game by the word 'Assassin'. I had played through and compleated Hitman: Blood Money so I thought I knew a fair bit about it. The video showed an old school stealth em up with a female character that (Gasp!) didn't have a pair of knockers straining to be free of a flimsy and probably see through shirt. No, I was introduced to Violet Summer, a real woman.
Velvet Assassin puts you in the shoes of Violet summer based on real World War II spy Violet Szabo. Violet gets the jobs that no one else can do done. This mostly includes blowing things up, nicking stuff and assassinating Nazi targets. However the game does surprise you, with one mission tasking you to 'silence' your fellow spys who have been captured like the burks they are. This is old school stealth. Shadows, bushes, hiding in nooks and crannys. It borrows heavily from past Stealth titles such as the Splinter Cell series, but in todays stealth games of crowed blending and the like it is no bad thing to return to the shadows. Where I personaly think stealth should belong. Creep close enough behind an unalerted target and you perfrom a devistating stealth kill with the combat knife. You get to hide bodies obviously and loot them for mission items. Whistiling, breaking lights are all present and work a treat to lure unsuspecting foes to your cold, sharp doom. There are some other weapons in the game, both silent and loud. Full on assult feels a little unresponsive but the stealth kills with the Colt and the Sniper are meaty. A rather unique little treat in the game is tied in with the story. Violet is laying in a deserted hospital bed and is reliving missions through her dreams. If she becomes to stressed someone comes along and pumps her full of morphine. This Morhpine Mode in mission allows you to slow down time and take down an enemy regardless of who is around silently and quickly. It can be used in other ways to, such as moving across lit areas to get to shadow without being spotted. However for some reason Violet strips down to a flimsy nighty which must weigh a ton considering how slow she moves.
Finding collectables grants you XP (XP in a stealth game??? Cool) when this peaks it enables you to upgrade your chartacter however you see fit. You may want to increase the Morphine Duration, your sneaking speed or even your strength which basicly means how many bullets Violet can take before she pegs it.
What I love most about this game is the atmosphere. I'm big on atmospshere in ny thing from movies to book to games. If it's got great atmosphere I'm normaly hooked. The engine, while lighting in Violet can be an issue renders its locations beautifuly. From dark coldly lit corridors to evening outdoors which I believe just be autunm time or something with all them leaves falling and the colour of the evening light.
Now though, the bad points. The Checkpoint Save system. I Hate it, I loath it with a passion. Why they couldn't slip in a quick save feature is beyond me. Yes, I understand that there is a whole tribe of folks arguing for and against the quicksave button but I for one wish they'd have one. People are not forced to use the damn thing and it makes playing the game alot smoother. Taken out three dudes silently and perfectly? what if the last one spots you and if your an uber stealther like me prefer to have ALL my killls silent? Tough. If you reload the last checkpoint all those kills were for nought and you'd have to do them again with no guarantee that you'll be able to pull off those exact same moves again. It's frustrating and put me off a game that only five minuets ago I was enjoying.
And the last level. Now, I don' pretend to be a master stealther but I reckon I know what I'm doing and I think I'm pretty good. But stealthing on that last level is practicly impossible. The last best Stealth experience is iwhen you wake up in the hospital. No morphine mode, no weapons save your knife and (annoyingly) no clothes except your nighty. While this adds a tougher stealth experience I would've like ehr to at least find some clothes of some sort. If she got her knife, what did they do with her clothes? Pervs I reckon. From then on I felt I was being forced into assualt. Very little stealth cover but frag loads of ammo. In the end thats what I did, blasted may way through.
So in the end, what did I think? A bloody marvelous game. It dosen'y try to break new ground and thats ok with me. Sneaking in the shadows is still the best way to do it. The story is intriging and the gameplay is old school charm. It falls short of a full score because of the Checkpoint system. Still, I will return to her, my Violet. We will hide in the shadows, beautiful and deadly, silent and grim. Waiting for that Nazi to walk towards his death.
Game Traits applied to Velvet Assassin (PC) by Darkrose