Velvet Assassin: First Impressions

By Shamus
on Sep 8, 2009
Filed under:
Game Reviews

Well, it’s a $7 game. You might argue that I can’t complain too much. But we are bound by our purpose in this life, and my purpose is to nitpick videogames. Ergo, if there are flaws, they will be noticed and remarked on. Starting with…

Velvet Assassin is the story of Violette Summer, with special guest-star: Her ass.
Velvet Assassin is the story of Violette Summer, with special guest-star: Her ass.
I begin a new game. The choices offered are “normal” and “hard”. Invariably this sort of setup indicates the designer hasn’t actually given any thought to what difficulty levels are for or why they exist. This does not bode well for the coming experience.

I set up the controls. What is it with console ports? Do they just choose to omit a couple of keyboard keys at random? I always use numpad DEL for crouch / sneak, and to Velvet Assassin that key doesn’t exist. On the upside, I can use numpad enter, which most console ports manage to screw up. Still, DEL is the key I usually assign to STEALTH MODE, and I’m betting that is a thing I’ll be doing a lot in this game. Now I’ll have over a decade of muscle memory telling me to hit the wrong button when I want to sneak. Didn’t you guys have to USE a keyboard at some point during making this game? How do these basic details escape you?

The opening cutscene is right out of lazy storytelling 101: Voice-over exposition with montage images. It makes no effort to tell me who the main character is or establish the stakes. Okay, it’s a given that we’re playing a WWII game and the player is going to be predisposed to wanting the Allies to win, but it seems that an opportunity was missed here to make things personal or to hook the player with a few interesting questions. Violette’s voice is well-delivered, but clinical and detached. This may be appropriate for the character, but it makes the introduction that much more sterile. This is supposed to the the opening hook, and it’s basically got the same level of emotional investment as the opening of Wolfenstein 3D. The only reason we care at all is because we’re against Nazis and Nazis are bad.

France is very yellow this time of year!
France is very yellow this time of year!
The Germans have built this base at the bottom of a very narrow box canyon. I understand that we need boundaries around the gameworld, but these cliff walls are really tall and smothering. I realize the need to communicate to the player “you can’t go this way”, but does it need to be this much of a hack? This is particularly bad given the premise that we’re somewhere in the “French countryside”. Graphics have matured well past the point where we need sheer walls all around us to control draw distance.

Obligatory: The graphics are beautiful.

Our first victim is a drunk guard, who is staggering in place and mumbling to himself. Memories of the original Thief come flooding back, because our first kill in that game was also a drunk guard, facing the wrong way to detect intruders. I perform a stealth kill, and am astounded to discover this is not a quicktime event. Quicktime events are the new jumping puzzles of game design, and I am glad to see they left them out here.

I spot two guards in the distance. I stop to see what they’re up to. They don’t move. I wait. Still no movement. I wait longer. Finally I relent and inch in a bit closer. Suddenly they awake from their catatonic state and begin talking. They have a short conversation and then one of them stands with his back to me while the other one goes on a very mechanical patrol. In these positions, they are of course guarding the base facing INWARD, with their backs facing the outside world. Well, the non-base area of the box canyon, anyway.

The guy with his back to me is standing at one side of a bridge, and there is no other way around. It’s pretty clear what I have to do here. I slit his throat, drag his body into the weeds, and then hurry across the bridge. Guard #2 walks up, takes no notice of the fact that #1 has somehow mysteriously vanished, and turns around and heads back the other way. I try to sneak up on him but botch the timing. I really wanted to completely ghost this area, so I let him kill me and start again.

The next time through, I knife #1 and hurry across the bridge, leaving the dead body in the open. #2 is thick, but even he’s smart enough to notice this. However, instead of searching in the hiding places near the body he makes a beeline for me in the weeds – thirty meters away. He dashes headlong into the darkness instead of searching his way in. He stops juuust short of me and begins searching. This would be a tense moment if his cheating weren’t so clumsy and blatant. He wanders around in the weeds somewhat randomly, while keeping his weapon perfectly aimed in my direction. After searching for all of ten seconds he shrugs and goes back on patrol. I knife him and move on.

I featured these two mooks in an earlier comic. I just want to point out that Thief came out in 1998, and it had better AI than this. Really. Way better. They had guys with more interesting behavior in more complex environments running on a computer with about 1/64th the horsepower.

There is a front door and an obvious hole in the fence. The front door is non-interactive. Okay, I guess I’ll crawl through the hole. This all feels sort of pointless. By now Thief would have presented me with about a dozen choices and multiple ways to dispatch foes. It would have let me use the main entrance, and rewarded the careful player who located and used the stealth route. Yes, I know this game isn’t Thief, but it’s astounding how this flashy big-budget modern game is so pale and shallow compared to the depth and variety of an eleven year old title.

In the next area I get spotted by a dude on the roof. I hide in a nearby shed, but he’s able to track and shoot me through the wall. I die. I restart back at the last checkpoint (just in case I’d forgotten this was a console port) and give it another go. I head into a building and the level abruptly ends. I don’t want to keep beating a dead horse here, but Thief came out in 1998 and and its first level was probably at least a hundred times larger than this in terms of square meters, and it offered a dizzying array of choices, risks and tradeoffs.

I seriously doubt my play through was meaningfully different than anyone else’s. How could it be? I was never given any decisions to make. There was only ever two things to do in this area: Stay on the rails, or die.

The end-of level summary lets me know that I missed several “collectibles”, which are worth XP, which is used to upgrade your skills. So you get XP not for completing goals or accomplishing stuff, but for finding secrets. Which means I’ve just gimped my character by not finding them all. I don’t mind a little junk hunt minigame for the OCD gamer in me, but this feels more like the central means of improving my skills. Is the game tuned in difficulty with the assumption that I’ll get them all, and thus missing too many will result in the game being much harder? Since I don’t have the ability to put the game on easy, this is a really important question. The last thing I want is to hit a wall six hours in. This is not the kind of decision and metagame thinking I should be doing at the end of the first level.

Making things worse is the fact that the level ended without warning. You can’t save at will. You can’t tell when you’re about to proceed to the next level. These two facts do not work well with the “make sure you find all the collectible items before you move on” thing the game has going.

Sighing, I hit the key to proceed to the next level. And the game crashes to the desktop.

Yeah. I think we’re done here.

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20201656 comments. It's getting crowded in here.

From the Archives:

  1. Rutskarn says:

    Yeah, that looks like quite stinker right there.

    As I’m going through Splinter Cell, I’m finding that I don’t mind some linearity–there are so many optional objectives that the maps can otherwise become cumbersome to navigate. On the other hand, it feels like most encounters are left to my discretion–an illusion that persists even when I realize my options were somewhat limited.

    (You’ve almost always got at least four options, similar though they may be in effect: avoid, shoot, kill/knock out instantly, seize to kill/knock out at your leisure (useful for interrogating people)).

  2. Yar Kramer says:

    Can we say “MISSION FAILED” here, as far as the devs are concerned? I think we can say “MISSION FAILED.”

  3. Legal Tender says:

    Ouch! But c’mon man! It has ass in it!

    I’m thinking you are wasting far too much of your gaming time obsessing about little things like gameplay and immersion when you could be oggling that soft, perfeclty formed, deliciously biteable digital bum of hers!

    Sheesh.

  4. Magnus says:

    Shamus: So, for a $7 game (bearing in mind what $7 or less can buy you these days), how much do you feel it was wasted, and can you get a refund?

    • Shamus says:

      Magnus: Well, I got two comics and at least one blog post out of the game, so I can’t complain my money was wasted. In fact, for me the game was a jackpot.

      What I really lament is the wasted potential. So much money poured into an experience with so little entertainment value. Nobody sat down at the outset and said, “What makes these games fun and how can we improve on that or bring something new to the table?”

      Instead they seemed to say, “Stealth games have sneaking so if we have sneaking then we’ll have a stealth game.”

      As a player, I’d rather have paid more for a game that aimed higher.

  5. Drew says:

    On the issue of keybinding, I think most game designers expect players to be using some variation of WASD instead of the numeric keypad nowadays…I could be wrong. I was a numeric keypad or arrow key man for a long, long time, but I’ve put in the investment to get accustomed to ESDF, and I’m glad I did. Unless you simply cannot change keys, there’s no software in the world that doesn’t recognize the letters on the keyboard, and you’ve got a lot more keys available to you right within reach of your hand, including the spacebar as an easy-to-reach thumb-controlled button. Plus, most keyboards include some kind of nub on the F key so you can always feel your way into the correct position.

    It’s ridiculous that they don’t support the keypad, it’s true. But if you can get yourself comfortable using some part of the main keyboard, you can generally get around that limitation.

  6. chabuhi says:

    I’m left-handed, so I’m rather biased, but I can’t imagine NOT using the numpad in key mappings. To me it’s just so much better laid out. Yeah, I know I’m crippling myself by moving so far from the numkeys over alphakeys, but I can usually rebind the keys around the numpad to pretty effectively take care of that.

    Like Shamus said, I can’t stand when a key is unavailable for rebinding. I also hate when you bind to the numpad but the game reverses the key translation when in numlock mode vs. out of numlock. You wind up mapping, say, num8 to “forward”, but when playing the game it thinks num8 is the up arrow, so you drop out of numlock (or go into it) and suddenly that breaks something else.

    Okay, yeah, so WASD is better. I’m apologize for being born left-handed. ;)

  7. Rosseloh says:

    So this is a “semi-instant failure” stealth game? (I never played the Thief series, although I did read your reviews on the 3rd one). As in, if you are seen, you’re pretty much dead, even though the level doesn’t end the exact second you’re spotted? You mentioned hiding in a shed, and having the guard shoot you through the wall.
    I don’t like instant failure stealth levels, let alone whole games, so the fact that they can kill you without even having line of sight is crap. At least in Oblivion (the only game I’ve played a ton with “real” stealth work) you have a chance to run away if you’re seen.

  8. Drew says:

    @chabuhi: I can’t reasonably claim to understand the world of a lefty, but wouldn’t ijkl be the opposite-side analog to a wasd (or esdf) approach? The big advantage to being in the middle of the keyboard is how many additional keys you have within a very short reach, not to mention the modifier keys (shift/ctrl/alt) which can often be used to change the function of any key within a game (ctrl-A is a different key than A). The disadvantage is years and years of muscle memory going back to the old days when the only way to play was with the numeric keypad. It’s a tough road, but one that could be very rewarding.

  9. chabuhi says:

    @Drew you’re absolutely right that centering on the numpad cuts me off from most of the rest of the keyboard. Honestly I can’t explain why, really, I’m opposed to the “JIKL Region”. Maybe it’s that since WASD is on one edge of, numpad seems more the opposite to me than jikl

    The $7 price tag keeps tempting me to buy VA, but then I come back here to read Shamus’ review and I’m happily cured of said temptation. I will bookmark this page in case a future price drop tempts me once again. $2.99 might be my failure point, however.

  10. Kleedrac says:

    You do realize I have a similar thought process when playing RPG’s and realizing that Nethack http://www.nethack.org has been around since 1985 and still has more depth than Fable 2 or Final Fantasy 254 Turbo edition :P

  11. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Haha!The end made me burst into laughter.

    By the way,didnt stalker crash a lot as well?And it too was dirt cheap.Maybe thats the link right there.

    Oh,and thief also didnt have the easy difficulty.

  12. Benjamin Orchard says:

    Chabuhi, I’d buy almost *any* game at $2.99.

    Just to have the variety available should I want to remind myself why the game sucked so bad.

    We all have our own weaknesses….

  13. Madcat says:

    It’s a shame to hear of another interesting sounding game falling flat on its face. Ah well, I should just dig out thief again and ramp up the difficulty a bit more.

    On the subject of key layouts, I’m afraid I’m a right-handed arrow-key man myself. I’m afraid I can’t stand WASD; too many buttons to easily hit in weird places (muscle memory talking here, your mileage may vary).

    But then again I’ve been using arrow keys ever since I got into gaming with DN3D, so I’ve had a few years to get used to it ^^

  14. glassdirigible says:

    I am left handed as well but I can say that I’ve never really given serious thought to using the num pad or IJKL for games. Perhaps it’s that I’ve also never given any serious thought to using the mouse in my left hand. I am young enough that I was raised to use the right hand for the mouse and that WASD, though not used in the first games I played, did not have to overwrite much time in using the num pad or arrow keys.

    As for having unsupported keybinds, I fail to see why this is any more valid for a console game than a PC game.

  15. Western Infidels says:

    One could make many of the same complaints (lazy storytelling/plot exposition, emphasis on eye-candy at the expense of subtler interactive or emotional involvement) against modern action movies as a class.

    Maybe spiraling game budgets are exerting the same weird risk-averse cultural pressure on games as they do on movies. After all, something groundbreaking, like Thief, has to be great, or it’s doomed. But when re-hashing a well-worn niche, the producers may think it’s OK to be lazy; there is a built-in customer base already, after all.

  16. Abnaxis says:

    In my experience, you’re always better off building new muscle memory than trying to shoehorn your own control scheme in every game you play. Even if you are a default WASD gamer, things change across games (example: Oblivion uses E as jump and space as ‘use’) and after dealing with so many changes, you become accustomed to being adaptable. This makes it more more enjoyable even if you try a game with an abysmal camera and unruly controls, because it is less of an issue.

    By the same token, I move around a lot and have to play with different hardware in any of four different locations, so this could just be my laziness talking since I don’t feel like mucking around with the bindings on all those systems…

  17. Ergonomic Cat says:

    I think, more than the $7 there’s an opportunity cost. Hours spent here could have been better spent on something else more worthwhile, whether it be gaming or otherwise.

  18. Maldeus says:

    At least the game was cordial enough to crash itself so you didn’t have to sit through any more of it.

  19. Oleyo says:

    I laughed hard on your last sentence. Is it completely selfish that I want you to keep playing this game and hear about all the other levels?

  20. chabuhi says:

    @Maldeus

    That was my feeling when the projector at the movie theater puked up the first “Final Destination” movie on us in 2000.

    A movie so bad the projector refused to finish showing it.

  21. Enix18 says:

    What did expect? It was made by SouthPeak, the wonderful studio that brought us Two Worlds! (if you’ve never played that godforsaken game, consider yourself lucky)

  22. bbot says:

    I used to use a fairly wacky layout, (I played Doom cross handed. Right hand on the arrow keys, left on the spacebar.) but I went two or three years without a decent gaming computer. Rebinding your keys every time you sit down at a net cafe computer for some HL1DM gets old real fast.

  23. potemkin.hr says:

    @shamus:
    Is this game that linear?
    For me, the best sneaker is Splinter cell: Chaos theory. Every level had several paths and approaches that allowed you to literally complete the whole level without ever being seen, you didn’t have to knock out/kill anyone if you didn’t want to. A feature which really made the game for me a true legend, is 2-man cooperative multiplayer with completely different levels than the ones in singleplayer (Although they follow the main story).
    The levels were designed for teamplay (although you still could complete most of the level separate ways, as the maps were designed with several possible approaches like in singleplayer) and you had special coop moves you could perform with your buddy (Mission Impossible style rope-descending, human ladder…).
    If you didn’t play it yet, I encourage you to give it a try.

  24. Lockesly L'Crit says:

    The worst thing about the game for me was that, at a certain point in the game, you completely lose the ability to use morphine for the rest of the game. This means if you used exp to bump up your morphine usage before maxing out your other abilities, you just completely and irreversibly gimped your character.

  25. LintMan says:

    Shamus, could you turn the “Num Lock” on and just bind the ‘.’? I think that worked for me once or twice when a game didn’t really support the numpad.

    I’m kinda disappointed you’re quitting on Velvet Assassin so soon, Shamus. I’ve heard it’s horrible in myriad ways and was looking forward to the evisceration. :)

    @Kleedrac: To be fair, Nethack has had the benefit of being expandable by almost anyone with any programming knowledge for over 20 years. It’s quite easy to add/change things in it, particularly since it’s text based. No need to create special animations or graphics to any trivial new thing you add. Eat a dragon? Kick a sink? Display a list of what/how man monsters you killed? Why not? No commercial team, with a limited time and budget, can match that level of obsessive detail.

  26. Factoid says:

    Not to start a holy war or anything but I never ever understood the point of WASD as a control scheme. We’re all taught to type by keeping our index fingers on the F and J keys (aka “Home Row”, asdf jkl;)

    By shifting left a space to have the index finger on the “D” key, you’ve not made the tab, caps, shift and control keys any easier to press but HAVE made the T, G and B keys much less convenient.

    The reason why this is the case is because the tab, caps, shift and ctrl keys are all larger than standard and the angle of your left hand on the keyboard is biased towards moving down and to the left (towards your palm, in other words). The T, G and B keys are to the right and so you have to reach to get to them unlike the keys at the far left which you can easily reach from a home row position. That’s why they’re designed that way.

    I’ll never understand how WASD took off the way it did when a key configuration like DCSF or EDSF makes much more sense.

    Personally I’m a DCSF kind of guy, those I probably represent less than 1% of gamers in my choice. WASD is 95% and EDSF is most of the rest. I guess they like that it emulates position of the arrow keys, but I for one like to maintain my hand on the asdf keys as the default.

    That got really long, but it’s always been a pet peeve and increasingly I’m finding more and more games that don’t allow any kind of key remapping, forcing me to use WASD.

  27. Heather says:

    Just stopping in while I have internet. Glad you had something to do while gone even if it totally sucked it got you some comics–better than the $50 no comic game. :P Loving you.

  28. SatansBestBuddy says:

    Key thing to remember, Shamus, is that there are two kinds of games in the world: those that get a lot of money to make a lot of money, and those that get hardly any money to make a lot of money.

    Velvet Assassin is one of the latter, a game that didn’t get more than it needed budget/people wise in order to be put on shelves for those many millions of people who don’t read reveiws to buy. (and there are many; hell, there are people who still use the internet for chatting with friends and nothing else)

    Even if sales are only 100,000, the game costs enough that publishers can make a profit at 80,000 (numbers are guesswork, don’t quote me on that), and anything extra can be put toward the big blockbuster they’re getting ready for Christmas.

    It’s a pratice Hollywood has been doing for years, putting out cheap to make movies that sell just enough to pay for the big blockbuster they want eveyone to spend $10.50 in theatres to see.

  29. Magnus says:

    @Shamus:

    I suppose people enjoy reading a critical view more than gushing praise, so it helps having a flawed game to allow you plenty of opportunity to flex your vocabulary (and of course your comic-making skills in your case!).

    I found a great bargain of all three thief games for £10 at the weekend (thats equivalent to about $16), which I would have easily paid just for the first game.

    My only problem is I keep on buying bargain games (older games from retail and GOG), which means I have more games than I can play in the time I have.

  30. B.J. says:

    @SatansBestBuddy

    You are exactly right, and what really bugs me with games like this is that it almost seems like the whole industry is in on it. You can’t tell me with all the preview footage, “first look” blogs, and other pre-release hype no one could tell this would be a crummy game. Of course they all knew. But there’s like this “code of silence” among the professional game journalists not to overly criticize a game until the devs have had a chance to dupe the impulse buyers.

  31. Heron says:

    @Factoid:

    I just fiddled with what it’d be like playing (say) Counter-Strike with ESDF instead of WASD, and I have to say I couldn’t do it. My pinky doesn’t reach Ctrl anymore, I can’t reach Tab, and Alt is out of reach now (where before only the Windows key was out of reach).

    Switching would cause me to hit the Windows key instead of Ctrl almost every time, and I’d have to rebind Tab to Q, and Alt and Ctrl to something else.

    The point is, I’d be gaining faster access to three letter keys, but I’d be losing access to Tab, Ctrl, and Alt, and I’d introduce hundreds of “oh crap I just minimized the game hitting Windows again” incidences.

    So, while I don’t think your way is inherently wrong, there’s nothing for me (and, I would guess, most gamers) to gain by changing.

  32. Daemian Lucifer says:

    @Factoid

    Not everyone has learned blind typing before playing games.Heck,I still use just 6 fingers for typing.Yes,its slower,but somehow I just never find the time to improve my skill.Besides,I wouldnt benefit that much from it anyway.

  33. Ingvar says:

    Factoid @ #27:

    Bizarrely, I’d probably have to blame WordStar. IIRC, it used Ctrl-WASD for cursor movement, back in the dark ages before hi-res graphics (and by “hi-res”, I mean 320×240, in glorious 256 colours) and I’d not be surprised that this followed on from Compass Pascal into Borland’s built-in editors for their Turbo compilers and was enough to give at least one developer bad ideas for defaults and as no one ever changes the defaultrs we’ve been stuck with WASD since.

  34. Namaps says:

    Speaking of $7 games, I got the Orange Box for Xbox for $7.50 at Blockbuster a couple days ago… Their used games section is usually miniscule, but I’ve gotten quite a few A-list games for $5-15 dollars there. It’s like they never realized video games generally cost more than movies do.

  35. Patty says:

    This sounds almost as bad as the Path.

  36. Ranneko says:

    @Magnus Where did you find that?

    Also I’ve had that problem, primarily due to things such as Steam’s weekend sales and the like. Don’t make a list, you’ll probably be happier than I was when I realised that my unfinished PC & Xbox 360 games are about to hit triple digits.

  37. JKjoker says:

    @Shamus: come on, achievements and collectibles are the new quicktime events, since they are stupid and useless developers feel compelled to give out some reward for wasting your time with them (and probably for wasting their time placing them), but budget restrains and just plain dumbness makes them consider attaching a VITAL part of the character development into them, hurray!

    at least collectibles make sense in a stealth game when you move slow and look everywhere for threats, try the new Wolfenstein, a fast passed, surprisingly fun game a below average fps player could finish in 3 hours that forces you too comb the levels for letters saying things like “do not smoke near explosive containers, its very very bad” if you ever want to upgrade your weapons effectively destroying any speck of fun you were having as you waste hours sniffing them out, and then the game then gives you the finger and refuses to give you ammo for the cool weapons.

  38. Avilan the Grey says:

    For key mappings… I am left handed, so I always use the arrow keys. Left hand on the mouse, and depending on game…
    The Right mouse button is either aim, or if that does not exist, Run. If the game is “always run” then it’s crouch, or sneak.

    Right hand: Up left right down = Forward strafe left strafe right move backwards. Keyboard O tend to be an important key (sneak, or crouch, mainly) same with Right Shift and Right CTRL.

    If I had to play a game with WASD, or WADX, I don’t play it. My right hand coordination with a mouse is too bad.

  39. Hi Shamus,

    Long time reader, first time poster here. I have a feeling the scant information provided about Violette Summer can be attributed to the fact that she is inspired to a considerable degree by real-life agent Violette Szabo (who was active in France during the war before being captured and tortured by the Nazis, and ultimately executed at Ravensbrück), something which supposedly didn’t impress her surviving relatives a great deal, primarily due to the fact that the game is supposedly (I haven’t played it, so I’m just going by what I’ve been told) about as faithful to what actually happened as a film like Braveheart is to historical fact – that is to say, not very faithful at all. This is pure conjecture on my part, but I could imagine a situation whereby whatever back-story existed in the game was hastily scrubbed to avoid the lawyers getting involved.

  40. unitled says:

    SLightly off topic here…

    I’m a big stealth game fan (I’m particular fan of the Hitman games; the games haven’t always completely hit the mark, but when they get it, they REALLY get it), but I never played either of the first two Thief games.

    Are they still worth playing today? Has anyone had any problems getting them working under modern versions of windows? I can probably pick them up for less than £5 on play or something, but I wouldn’t want to waste my time/money if they’re not going to work…

    • Shamus says:

      unitled: The graphics will look very, very dated. They looked a little stale even when they were new, because the designers wisely went for HUGE levels instead of high-detail ones.

      The first game has a better story, but they gameplay was a little off. I think they were nervous of embracing the true stealth, and ended up throwing in a little mandatory combat.

      The second game has a less interesting plot, but they took the lessons learned from the first game and really made the gameplay shine.

      If you don’t mind the old graphics, I highly recommend trying one or the other.

  41. Simplex says:

    Enix18

    “What did expect? It was made by SouthPeak, the wonderful studio that brought us Two Worlds! ”

    SouthPeak could not have made Two Worlds because they are a publisher. Developer Reality Pump made Two Worlds.

  42. chabuhi says:

    Shamus, have you played the Hitman series at all? I don’t recall you mentioning it. I only finally gave them a try a few months ago. When they were originally released, I thought they looked interesting and the stealth-play potential was appealing, but I passed for some reason (might have been on my RTS binge at that time — whatever).

    Anyway, I thought the Hitman titles were actually pretty fun — at least, two of them. I forget the exact titles, but I think it was the first game (“47”?) and either the third (“Contracts”) or fourth (“Blood Money”) that I liked the best. I remember not liking #2 as much as the rest, but I also didn’t hate it.

    There were a few limitations to character movement that annoyed me (coming off of the Splinter Cell games), but I felt the same sort of tension and thrill that I did with Thief and Splinter Cell.

    I’d recommend any of them for a spin.

  43. unitled says:

    Shamus:

    Cheers, I think I’ll check it out, if only to say I’ve played it… 3D games from that period and a bit earlier have, for the most part, aged terribly. I don’t suppose there’s a high-res/improved model mod floating around like there is for SS2, is there?

  44. unitled says:

    @Chabuhi
    Okay, sorry for double post, but I LOVE the Hitman games… You’re probably referring to the first and last games in the series, as they’re generally considered to be the best. I’m surprised similar concepts haven’t been picked by by other games, particularly the disguise concept…

    The hotel level (from Codename 47 and then rejigged for Contracts) is one of my favourite in the whole series; there are so many ways of finishing that level I seem to find something new every time I play through it!

  45. chabuhi says:

    @unitled YES! One of my favorite levels for sure!

    See now I’m going to have to play them all over again, damn you! I had all four through GameTap, but I quit GT after they stupidly went browser-only. Unfortunately, Steam doesn’t seem to have Contracts, so I’ll have to see where I can pick up a new copy.

  46. Magnus says:

    (38)@Ranneko: In GAME (Newcastle, UK), it’s just called “THIEF the complete collection”, looked at first like the deadly shadows box (they use the same artwork for the main image).

    Quite the find, there seems to be a few similar things around, if you’re lucky enough to spot them. Thankfully GAME hasn’t abandoned PC gaming completely, theres always a few bargains to be had.

    Not sure how the situation is outside the UK though.

  47. Daemian Lucifer says:

    @unitled

    I wouldnt call hitman a stealth game(well,maybe the first one,but not the sequels).Compared to thief,its a shooting bloodbath.Sadly though,the third thief went the same route as hitman.The first two,on the other hand,are pure stealth,especially on the highest difficulty.

    If you can swallow the dated graphics,thief is a must to play.At least the first two.Third part is worth playing only if you want to find out more of the story,and to experience the cradle,the most immersive level Ive ever played in any game.Especially if you have good speakers and play it in the dead silence of midnight.

  48. Ingvar says:

    Myself @ #31:

    Nopes, WordStar used ESDX, not WASD. So I have NO idea where WASD comes from.

  49. unitled says:

    @Daemian Lucifer

    Not sure I agree with you… Yes, it can descend into a bloodpath, especially on the console, but to deny the player the option to approach a level how they would like to is to take away a large part of Hitman. That said, it’s widely regarded that the ‘right’ way to play the game is by a minimum of collateral damage.

    Basically, in Hitman, you get the option to not just hide in the shadows, but to hide in other people’s clothes.

  50. Daemian Lucifer says:

    @unitled

    Im not saying that its bad that you can sometimes decend into a bloodpath,Im saying its bad that it became the easiest path.

    In thief,you can also try to kill everyone in bold heroic attack from the front.But considering how fragile you are,you will probably die that way.Unless you are some machine with godlike reflexes and can kill dozens of enemies without getting scratched.In hitman,you can just shrug of enough damage that full frontal assault on a heavilly guarded estate becomes the easiest solution.

  51. unitled says:

    I guess so… Though on the harder difficulties this became increasingly hard (mainly because the game just didn’t play well as a FPS). When Hitman is at its best, though, it almost feels like an adventure game with a bit of dressing up thrown in!

    Actually, thinking about it, that description really doesn’t sell the game…

    Anyway, this was one of my problems with Assassin’s Creed, a game which had awesome potential; you could try all sorts of sneaky ways to attempt to kill your target, but it would inevitably fail and you’d resort to sword fighting.

  52. Jattenalle says:

    Shamus, you never even got to the slow-motion-morphine-bullet-time-rose-rain-in-lingerie sequences!

  53. Daemian Lucifer says:

    @unitled

    The saddest thing about assassins creed was that it has excelent gameplay.No timing your clicks perfectly so you can execute that perfect jumping sequence,or so you could flawlessly climb the tower,you just hold down the button and altair acts like he really had some training.

  54. unitled says:

    I completely agree. Assassin’s Creed was a game that was immense fun just to (free) round around in, rescuing the odd citizen from a gang of bullies.

    One of my favourite moments in THAT game was climbing Acre cathedral, a task which basically boiled down to tilting the analogue stick upwards until he reached the top.

    The lack of precise control is initially jarring, but ultimately, Altair does pretty much exactly what you want at any particular time and you look like some sort of ninja god while playing it.

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