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Forums > Submission Feedback > louis_bedigian's Velvet Assassin review

This thread is in response to a review for Velvet Assassin on the Xbox 360. You are encouraged to view the review in a new window before reading this thread.

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Author: Lewis
Posted: May 16, 2009 (02:45 AM)
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I'm really glad you managed to get more out of this than me. I desperately wanted to enjoy Velvet Assassin. It does some things incredibly well. The idle chatter of the guards, the astonishingly beautiful lighting and skies, the sweaty-palmed tension...

...but I just couldn't submit to it. For every gorgeous sunset, there was a bizarre animation glitch. For every piece of moody atmosphere, there was a cripplingly, unfairly difficult section, with no checkpoints for ten minutes before and after. A totally linear mission, with multiple routes leading to dead ends. It makes some really basic game design shockers, which is such a shame, as with more polish I think I'd have really loved this. It reeks of Hitman, and that's never a bad thing.

It does all lead me on to an interesting question, though: to what extent can we be critical of a game based on certain ideologies it seems to possess? I do wonder if I'd have been more forgiving of its flaws if Velvet Assassin hadn't immediately projected itself as being so hateful and tasteless. Viollette Szabo only spent a minute amount of time in service, before being captured by the enemy. She was beaten, repeatedly raped, and eventually executed. Here, we have her running around in a skimpy nightgown as a morphine-addled alternative sex symbol. Her left nipple pokes out of her negligee in the opening cut-scene (and every time you die). The morphine mode doesn't even make any sense: she's given morphine in the hospital, so in her flashbacks she thinks she's taken morphine, and that makes her look like she does in the hospital, only she can slow down time... um, no. What?!

So yeah, I'd have been (well, was, when I reviewed at Reso) harsher on both the basic mechanistic stuff and the whole exploitative theme that seemed to run through it. It does a lot of things well, no doubt, but it didn't let me like it.


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Author: zigfried (Mod)
Posted: May 16, 2009 (05:19 AM)
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Despite all of its own claims otherwise, the game is so obviously not really based on Violette Szabo, that I have to wonder if the developers were the ones who wanted to promote the "based on..." thing, or if that was a marketing demand. I can see the developers watching a film and getting an idea -- "hey what if we make a game about another female agent, and Violette sure is a cool name" -- but if they really thought they were depicting anything close to her life, then they're nuts.

I totally see your point, but I don't think of her as Szabo, she's just someone else named Violette to me.

//Zig


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Author: Lewis
Posted: May 16, 2009 (08:14 AM)
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I think it's totally a marketing ploy, but that makes it even worse. From what I know, they approached Viollette Szabo's daughter about using the full name, but she refused, so they changed the surname to Summer. It's plastered all over the marketing blurb. So yeah, it's certainly nothing to do with Szabo - but they're making out that it is, which makes it purely exploitive.


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Author: zigfried (Mod)
Posted: May 16, 2009 (11:44 AM)
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From a marketing sense, it's exploitive, but I wouldn't necessarily apply that to the game. I guess the question is "how much should we hold marketing responsible for the game's content". Certainly there are cases where marketing sets us up for disappointment, or sets us up with entirely different expectations. In this case, the game is pretty much what I expected. In other words, not about Violette Szabo. Then again, I never bought into the hype, because the real life of Szabo obviously is not appropriate game fodder.

Now, if the developers themselves intended their character to be Szabo herself (as opposed to just being inspired by her) then that's something else entirely.

//Zig


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