Monday, March 16, 2015

Velvet Assassin - Initial Thoughts

About the Game (From the Steam Store Page)

Inspired by the fascinating story and unbreakable spirit of British secret agent Violette Szabo, players take control of Violette Summer, a beautiful World War II spy deep behind enemy lines with no support or official backing from the British Government. Intense stealth action game play with a startling real-time lighting system and surreal visuals combine to produce an incredible gaming experience. Through third person game play, sneak up on enemies and pull the pins from their belted grenades. Infiltrate a Gestapo prison and slip cyanide to your own men before the Germans make them talk. And slink through the shadows to finish off your unsuspecting enemies with a single, silent move. Through Violette's fever dreams, experience what she experienced. Walk where she walked. And kill those she killed. 
  • Stealth assasinations – Execute over 50 different brutal maneuvers to deliver a quick and silent death to enemy soldiers or use the environment itself to take down Violette's foes. 
  • Dynamic lighting and shadows – Slip into the darkness of Nazi-controlled Europe and avoid the relentless searchlights of German guards that cut through your shadowy cover. 
  • Stylized environments - Explore surreal, dreamlike settings that are modeled after actual World War II locations. 
  • Unique perspective - Experience the unimaginable horrors of war through Violette’s fever dreams. Shift into Morphine Mode when Violette’s memories betray her to reposition and gain an advantage against opposing forces.

Previous Play Time

0 hours

Expectations and Prior Experience

Credit goes out to Faolind for this one. Thank you in advance.

I am coming into this game completely unspoiled. I may have heard of it before, but it's hard to say. The title, Velvet Assassin sounds familiar, but that may just be because it also sounds generic. It's got an obvious pairing between a hard, dangerous sounding word like "assassin" and a soft, harmless word like "velvet."  It's sort of like the title "Silk Enforcer" or "Marshmallow Conquistador." (Though, maybe, that last one is not so generic after all). 

Reading the description makes me a little wary. I've never been especially proficient at stealth games (I tend to want to kick down the door and just lay waste to everything I see). What's more, this particular story looks like it's going to be really dark. I don't like to see people (even simulated virtual people) suffer, and if I have to go into a concentration camp, I swear, I will lose my shit. On the other hand, it is apparently based on the life of a real person, so that kind of makes it educational (although, I'm sure they've taken liberties with the real story - I'm holding off on reading the wikipedia article so as to avoid spoilers).

I expect that my enjoyment of this game will depend greatly upon the difficulty. If it's a punishingly hard game, aimed at stealth experts, it will probably quickly reduce me to tears. If it's a more story-driven game with forgiving stealth mechanics, I'll likely be fine.

It's also possible that there's going to be an emotional sucker-punch or two that will hit me pretty hard. I mean, I try to be a pretty cosmopolitan guy, but I do tend to cultivate an ignorance about humanity's worst atrocities, and WWII was full of them. The prospect of encountering one in the sort of gory, immediate detail made possible by a modern video game does fill me with a certain amount of dread.

However, as I often do in these challenge cases, I'm going to choose to be optimistic here. It's possible this is an unconventional action game that will teach me about a little-known part of modern history. I guess I'll just have to play it and see.

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