Monday, 11 January 2010

Velvet Assassin

Velvet Assassin is one downbeat moody game. There is nothing light about the game at all. You are a Spy, and your job needs to be done regardless of casulties, that is it.

The game is an old style stealth game that brought to mind echoes of the Splinter Cell series. You play as Violette Summer a British Spy during the later years of World War 2. Violette is shown to be in a coma in the present day, each level is a different memory of hers she is dreaming about from the past. You travel to various locations such as Paris, Hamburg, and Poland to do such missions as assassinating Nazi leaders, blowing up Submarines, and stopping the Gestapo from getting information from captured informents.

The game is quite dark as a necessity, many levels taking place either at night time, or in dark locations such as bunkers, and warehouses. It is similer to Manhunt in that you must hide in shadows, taking the oppourtune moment to sneak up on Nazi Soldiers and execute them via one of about 50 different ways (nearly all involve stabbing). There are not many weapons in the game. You always have a knife on hand, and can get access to handguns and flare guns, with shotguns, sniper rifles and machine guns being limited to just a few levels. There is a mode called 'Morphine Mode' activating this turns the game world into a trippy brighter place, Violette wearing a nightie rather than her sneaking clothes, the enemies all are paused in time while this is activated meaning you can run right up to them and kil them easily. This is supposed to allude to the fact that during Morphine Mode present day Violette in her coma is being given morphine.

There are not many different enemy types in the game, many look different but all act the same, and with the same weapons. Later levels see soldiers armed with flame throwers, and snipers which brings some variety.

The game is very bleak, Violette gets no real satisfaction from her missions, she just seems hell bent on killing as many Nazis as possible. Levels such as the Warshaw Gettos have corpses of men, women and children scattered about, and conversations between guards reveal unseen violence and brutality. As the game nears its end the stealth kills get more frenzied, and the tone even bleaker untill the game is finished on a complete bummer.

Violette Summer is heavily based on the real life British Spy Violette Szabo who did several missions during the war helping lead resistance fighters in occupied terrortories. She met a rather grizzly end though, captured by the Nazis she was brutally tortured before being executed. In this sense I guess it is correct that they didn't make her into a light character.

I liked the game, but it certainly wasn't a enjoyable game in any sense, an unsettling, depressing game, but quite interesting. A few too many generic locations (warehouse, and sewers), and some bad voice acting let the game down a bit, but inclusion of real life locations, and real life Nazi squads (such as the real life Nazi squad made up of brutal convicts you face later in the game) make the game mostly a good endeaver.

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