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Velvet Assassin
PC, XBox 360

Reviewed on: PC

Replay Studios/ML Enterprises
Publisher: Southpeak Games
Rated: "M" for Mature

CHEATfactor Game Review
by Joe Sinicki

Audio/Visual: 6
Gameplay: 5
Lasting Appeal: 5
Overall: 6
CHEATfactor: 6

Velvet Assassin is an odd title. It’s a run-of-the-mill stealth title that doesn’t do much we haven’t seen before, and has very little payoff. By all means, I should hate it. Still, I found myself helplessly coming back to the drab world created by Gamecock Media and Replay Studios. Going out on a limb – Velvet Assassin is the worst-good game I’ve ever played. Or something like that.

Assassin is loosely (and I can’t stress that word enough) based on the life of Violette Szabo – secret agent for the allies during World War II. A brief history lesson – Szabo was born to a quiet family in England, but once war broke out; her stark beauty and attention to detail led to her recruitment by the MI6 organization.  Szabo was able to carry out a number of missions before dying in a hospital. In her last hours, the memories of these missions come flooding back. Remember that – it’s kind of important.

The game plays like a mixture of every stealth-action game you’ve ever played, which can both help and hinder at the same time.  On the one hand – there isn’t much here you haven’t done; in fact some of the gameplay mechanics are ripped right from earlier games. You’ll change clothes and assume different identities ala Hitman, and crouch in the shadows much like Sam Fisher in Splinter Cell (hey, at least you won’t be using cardboard boxes for cover…). The game borrows most heavily from the early Splinter Cell titles, right down to the predictable and dumb enemy AI.  You’re going to be put in many situations where you’re stuck in a room with multiple guards. You can guess where things go from here.

" may not be realistic but its damn fun."


Interestingly enough, Assassin does put some unique spins on the now expected situation. Sure, you can alter the environment to throw the guards off their game (note: ALL Germans listen to the radio and hate when you turn it off) but where’s the fun in that? Try hiding in the shadows just long enough in the path of one soldier; as he comes by – pull his grenade pin and enjoy the explosive fun as he takes out his comrades for you. Another highlight is shooting a single shot into a puddle of strategically placed gasoline and watching the fire spread. Hey, it may not be realistic but its damn fun.

Still though, you can’t help but get that been there-done that feeling while playing through much of Velvet Assassin. The environments are the same you’ve been to hundreds of times, and the enemies could be lifted directly from any number of WWII games and most of us wouldn’t be any the wiser. On top of that, the game offers little to no real difficulty, especially for those familiar with similar games. Let’s be honest – how often can you sneak up behind and off an enemy soldier without looking for more?

Therein lies the core of Assassin’s problems, you never get that big payoff that seems to be building the entire game. You never get to let loose and just go crazy, it’s just puzzle after puzzle and solider after soldier. In fact, just when you think you’re going to be able to have some fun, the game seems to slow down even more. There are some serious pacing issues here, and when you finish you just can’t help but feel like you’re missing something.

"Velvet Assassin is an incredibly detailed and beautiful game."


Then things start to get weird. Remember how you’re in the hospital and everything? Yeah, you can use morphine to help you avoid capture by your pursuers.  Now, I’ve never taken morphine or anything - -so I’m no expert but apparently it makes you do some weird stuff.  Taking morphine in Velvet Assassin leads to rose petals filling a semi-black and white screen, followed by our protagonist offing people in her underwear. Let that sink in a bit. As much as I wish I was making that up, I’m not and yes, it’s just as awkward as it sounds. Think of it as a novel and really weird approach to bullet time.

Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Velvet Assassin is an incredibly detailed and beautiful game. I hate to make the comparison again, but the way the developers chose to use the mixture of shadow and light is reminiscent of the early Splinter Cell titles. The game doesn’t employ the same hyper realistic graphics as the former though, as some of the sequences are quite artsy and rival even some of the best looking games of the generation.

I absolutely hate that I liked any bit of Velvet Assassin but I can’t help it. You’re not going to find much new here, but there’s something strangely charming here that will keep you coming back – at least for a bit. With the Splinter Cell franchise taking a far different path and abandoning its routes as a stealth title, this may be the closest we get. 



CHEATS USED: Super Health, Get 10 Morphine, 9999 Pistol Ammo

There’s no way around it – Morphine mode is friggin’ weird, but if you can’t get enough of rose petals and European girls in their underwear stabbing people in the face – the trainer at comes with a cheat to instantly get 10 morphine. Have fun?

I’m rating the cheats in Velvet Assassin so high mainly on account of the combination of the super health and 9,999 pistol ammo cheats. Much of the game comes down to trial and error gameplay – read; you’re going to fail. Using these cheats together gives you more of a backup plan in case things go wrong.


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