There are so many World War Two games on market these days that from the deserts of North Africa to the forests of Norway, players can virtually relive the entire conflict from start to finish. But those designers over at Replay Studios do deserve a pat on the back for at least attempting to do something different. Their addition (to what is probably one of the most over saturated game genres ever) comes in the form of Velvet Assassin. This 3rd person shooter/slasher is currently being offered by Zavvi priced £14.95. That’s nearly £3 cheaper than the next best price offered by The Hut.
The story of VA centres upon the exploits of Violette Summer (supposedly based on a real person) who, with her black jump suit and Edward scissor hands hair cut, enjoys nothing more than running around with a big knife carving up fascists. The game attempts to deliver a sort of stealthy Splinter Cell type experience where the player must conceal themselves in the shadows and only use their gun as a last resort.
But sadly, Velvet Assassin fails to be anywhere near as dynamic. You cannot climb ceilings or walls, and the enemy AI is ludicrously dreadful. For example it is actually possible to hide in the shadow cast by a wooden box and not be spotted by an enemy from three feet away. Also the action, although it tries to different – with its Tenchu style stealth kills – does become repetitive. This is further not helped by, what is in my opinion the game's worst offence of all, its horribly linear levels. There is only ever one route to take through the environment and one way to achieve the objectives.
So the main problem with Velvet Assassin is that although the game has a cool and original concept, the whole thing is poorly executed. Even though the graphics do look great and there is about five minutes of fun to be had killing Nazis, I personally found this one to be a big disappointment. However, do not rely on the biased opinion of a gamer who spends an entire hour on one battle of Medieval Total War! The game is fun to complete the first time round. So although paying £39.99 is absolute extortion; you could certainly be forgiven for buying a copy at £15.