Velvet Assassin is an ambitious experiment from beginning to end, but it just can't seem to rise above mediocrity
- Solid voice acting, impressive visuals, nice experience system
- Repetitive trial-and-error gameplay, frequent deaths are a hassle, gets old fast
The stealth action in Violet Assassin didn't win us over. How can you mess up killing Nazis, anyway?
Price$ 99.95 (AUD)
An ambitious experiment from beginning to end, this innovative wartime stealth effort just can't seem to rise above the commonplace level of mediocrity found in a sea of cookie-cutter World War II titles.
Once upon a dream...
A beautiful woman lay in a tattered hospital bed, her white negligee stained with blood and stray drops of morphine. Lost in a coma, an empty syringe hangs from the woman's hand, her glazed-over eyes staring into oblivion. This is Violette Summer, British spy extraordinaire, now reduced to a bed-ridden shell of her former self. In these lost moments of sickness, the ailing spy remembers her first mission, and inevitably, the chain of events that left her locked up in a military hospital. Needless to say, Velvet Assassin starts off with quite an intriguing bang.
Through Violette's unwieldy subconscious, Velvet Assassin sets itself up as an interesting look into a war hero's frayed memory. Throw in the fact that the game's protagonist, Violette Summer is based off of real-life spy Violette Szabo, and you have a recipe for a fantastic deconstruction of the classic "war hero" story. Unfortunately, what sounds like a surefire recipe for success is marred by repetitive gameplay, incredibly dense AI, and altogether frustrating execution in a flawed, if entertaining adventure from SouthPeak Games.
When you take a look at Velvet Assassin's covert formula, gamers are bound to think of such classically sneaky titles such as the Splinter Cell, Thief and Metal Gear franchises. Similar to those games in many respects, Velvet Assassin consists of dropping its bare-essentials protagonist into a dangerous environment, and encouraging the player to use stealth tactics to their advantage in order to accomplish their mission. Taking to the shadows, players will see Violette through some of the most dangerous territory in World War II-era Europe. Stealth is undoubtedly the name of the game, as players are encouraged to stick to the shadows, only popping out on the occasion that they might stick a knife into a nearby patrolling Nazi. While this "hide-and-go-stab" formula is inventive and engaging enough at first, the formula grows stale far too quickly, marred by all-too-frequent deaths that turn the supposed stealth title into more of a memorization game of where to walk, when to sneak, and when to shoot (if the opportunity arises.)
Enemy AI is an incredibly mixed bag, ranging from baddies that will relentlessly hunt you down like bloodhounds to entirely oblivious soldiers who fail to notice the cat-suit donned vixen pointing a flare gun at their head from five feet away. The AI never felt natural during my duration with Velvet Assassin, ranging from guards that would regularly ignore the bodies of their fallen comrades to Nazi patrols with x-ray vision that could see through the crates I was hiding behind, and were so fast on the trigger that I couldn't take one step without turning into a fillet of bullets. Spread this AI across about five or six different Nazi character models that inevitably makes up the entire Third Reich, and Velvet Assassin suddenly returns to the mold of generic WWII shooters it so desperately tries to distance itself from.
I know I've been pretty rough on Velvet Assassin so far, but the game isn't without its redeeming qualities. The visuals are, for the most part, rather impressive - specifically the character models, lighting effects and textures. Velvet also has a few innovative ideas that sets it apart from other titles in the stealth genre, such as the ability to inject yourself with morphine when you have a syringe handy. Once Violette sticks herself, time slows to a halt in the bullet time-esque "Morphine Mode", where a hallucinatory version of Violette can use this drug-addled slip in time to escape when outnumbered, or simply charge straight ahead into the nearest foe for a sure-fire kill. Violette is even given the option to slip into SS clothing in order to trick Nazi patrols in the vein of the Hitman series, but the execution of the entire disguise system just feels relatively sloppy, with Violette's new duds just moreso confusing the already fragile minds of your computer-controlled adversaries.
Even with its flaws - and believe me, there are plenty - Velvet Assassin still comes across as a relatively solid stealth title. While it's not a game I'd actively recommend to fans of the genre, it's still sure to pique the interest of plenty of undercover enthusiasts or fans of the World War II genre. When it all comes down to it, though, there's a myriad of better stealth games out there, and even with a few innovative tricks up its sleeve, Velvet Assassin just can't pass itself off as an entirely original or remarkably fun experience.
Join the newsletter!
Bang and Olufsen Beoplay A9 Speaker
Cartier Calibre de Cartier Diver Watch
Samsung QLED 8K TV
Ballistix Tactical Tracer RGB 3000
Ballistix Sport AT
Toys for Boys
ESET Cyber Security Pro for Mac
Nix Pro Colour Sensor
ESET Internet Security
Little Bits DROID Inventor Kit
ESET Smart Security Premium
Tivoli PAL BT
Oregon Pro WMR500 Weather Station
Osmo Coding Awbie Game
SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3
Naztech Xtra Drive Mini + 256GB microSD Card
TimeFlip Magnet Simple Time Tracking Device
Ikea RIGGAD work lamp with wireless charging
Ultimate Ears Wonderboom Bluetooth Speaker
In multicultural Australia, the opportunity for home cooks to expand their culinary horizons is too tempting to resist.
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Samsung Galaxy Watch review: Brilliant but not quite a breakthrough
- 2 HP Omen 15 (2018): Full, in-depth review
- 3 HP Envy x360 13 (Ryzen): Full, in-depth review
- 4 Dell G5 review: Easy to live with
- 5 Ring Video Doorbell review
Latest News Articles
- Fortnite and PUBG could be banned in China
- Epic Games cuts the once-loved 'Infinity Blade' series from the App Store
- Resident Evil 2 Hands On Preview
- Support for AUD finally comes to Steam (with a catch)
- Intel Extreme Masters Sydney returns for the third consecutive year in 2019
PCW Evaluation Team
Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications
I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)
It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!
The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.
I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.
If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.
- Razer Phone 2 review: One for the fans
- Oppo R17 Pro review: Full, in-depth, Australian review
- Google Pixel 3 XL review: Ghost in the machine
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies