Velvet Assassin Review

Many games take place during World War II, but they often trivialize and downplay the disturbing nature of what was taking place to make themselves more palatable to large audiences. The end result is that Nazis seem comical and non-threatening. This isn’t one of those games.

To start with, Nazis are incredibly dangerous. A single one is capable of taking a huge chunk out of your life, and chances are that if that one sees you, many more are close behind. Keeping that in mind, sticking to the shadows soon becomes a necessity. One of the gripes people have had with this game is that it’s not your standard “duck into cover” stealth game. You can’t press yourself up against walls or do any of those little impossible things that we rationalize the existence of with “video game magic,” but the absence of those things works to add tension and realism to the game. You’ll have some opportunities to learn patrol routes and get used to their patterns like most stealth-based games, but you’ll also often find that taking risks is often necessary. It really adds to the mood to not know when the guard you’re tailing is about to turn around. You’re just one woman fighting against incredible odds, and the uncertainty in many of those moments, coupled with the panic that takes over once you’ve been discovered, lends itself well to the atmosphere.

Just one woman, but a totally badass woman.

The music plays a large part, too. Or, to be more accurate, the lack of music. Many stages have tense sound effects playing in the background rather than anything with musicality, and the few actual songs in the game are drowned in reverb, as though to emphasize the point that much of the game takes place in a dream.

And it does, in large part. For most of the game you’re in a hospital bed, reliving your past missions through dreams. It opens the door for one of my favorite gameplay mechanisms ever—morphine mode. It’s explained like this: whenever you get in trouble in one of the levels, which are dreams of past missions, you’re technically reliving a stressful memory, right? Well, the main character, Violette, begins shaking in her hospital bed and a nurse injects her with morphine whenever this happens. Being unable to differentiate between reality and the dream, Violette incorporates the morphine into her dream. What this means is that, provided you have a morphine syringe (they can be found all over), you can enter a dream-like mode where everything freezes but you and then use the effect to either get out of a bad situation or insta-kill an enemy. It’s really a great mechanic, and certainly one that’s necessary given how quickly a situation can turn very bad.

Another interesting thing you can do is dress up as an SS agent. It’s particularly stressful because you can’t allow guards to get too close before your cover is blown, and there’s a bar at the bottom of the screen that denotes how close you are to being discovered. Compounding the situation is the fact that while disguised like that, your walking speed is quite slow so as to not alert suspicious enemies.

This little white suspicion bar will DESTROY you.

Trying to shoot your way through this game is ill-advised. Bullets are in short supply, so sneaking up on unsuspecting Nazis and using your knife is often the better, though riskier, option. I did quite a bit of shooting, personally, and even with mostly head shots I ran out of bullets on multiple occasions. It’s not a bad thing, because it really does force you out of your element and highlight the hopelessness of a single person going up against so many.

Here’s what you should do:

Velvet Assassin Screenshots: Page 1

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Velvet Assassin Screenshots: Page 2

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Velvet Assassin Screenshots: Page 3

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