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This is one of those games that remind me why I hated digital downloads at first. It would have been awesome to have a physical instruction manual until I got used to the controls, but once I did I never regretted buying this. It is an awesome game, highly recommended.
If you like stealth games in the vein of Metal Gear and Splinter Cell, Velvet Assassin is worth checking out. It's much more focused on stealth though so it's a bit more challenging because of that. Everything about the game is standard for the genre. Nothing new is done here, but I thought the gameplay holds up well throughout. It's nowhere near as good as the aforementioned games or even Hitman, but if you've played those and are looking for another alternative to pass the time, you can get about a dozen hours or so out of this game. The story is probably the best part of the game. As for the AI, it's pretty bad, and for me at times, the game seemed random. Sometimes for no reason I would be seen, other times, I would be ignored despite it being the exact same situation, so I guess you can say the game is a little on the buggy side.
Too often, in today's games, when they tell you that it's stealth game, they actually mean it's a game with stealth elements. Sneaking and the whole general idea of "do not get spotted" is only a feature in some parts, and if it features in the whole game then it more often is not as good as if you engage the foes in a gun fight. With Velvet Assassin, stealth is in the very core of gameplay. Sure, you can engage foes in a gun fight, but with the limited aiming and your terrible health you'd find that a challenge above all challenges in this game. Sneaking may feel slow, but that's what stealth really is. You might take a lot of damage when shot, but that's what guns do. What might be seen as flaws just make sense to me in the whole context of things. As for the story, it's interesting enough for me to subconsciously follow along through the flashbacks. I liked the variety in levels. It's not the best, but i thought that it at least offered something more than the bunker levels. The whole art direction as well isn't the best (including for what it was during its time) but it served its purpose. The overall sepia tones made sure that you really didn't forget you were playing through several flashbacks. The darkness and shadows were well defined enough to know where you were safe and where you weren't. And if you still weren't sure, you had the slight purplish glow around you that indicated you were hidden. Sound effects were kept simple. Sometimes the game's age would peek out through, and I would chuckle a little, but I still appreciated the game. It's worth it now, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a) a classic , and b) a different stealth game.
Far from perfect but you might want to give it a try if you like stealth games. The use of shadows and other features of the game are great, but the feeling is that it could have been way better. Stealth is not good, action is not good and overall gameplay is not good... but it is not bad either! Everything related to the game feels like its story, just grey. If you are tired of Metal Gear, Splinter Cell and all those third person stealth based titles, Velvet Assassin might give you something different. If not, well, there are more than ten games that does it way better.
I can see why Velvet Assassin is underrated game. I probably enjoyed it more than I should but still, there are few reasons for negative review. Mostly because of stealth: It's much better than more popular "stealth" games but still not a perfect one. You will fail many times because enemy will notice you when they shouldn't. Parts of game when you need to change into SS uniform are most annoying. And last mission... it changes to shooter game. Level designs aren't also good. Running around because there are parts in this game where locations looks almost same. Fortunately there is a map, so you will need to look at it many times. And a things like "finding a key for this door which is behind a door WHICH also needs a key" is kinda ridiculous. I don't remember if it was main part of game or maybe for some collectibles but still... Graphics are nice, Violette looks even more nice, german soldiers speaks their native which makes experience while playing even better. BUT if main mechanism of game isn't so good, then it all doesn't matter. If there will be some sale for this game, I guess it's worth at least checking. I wouldn't buy it at full price.
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