You play a mostly fictional female assassin in WW2. I say mostly fictional, because the characters name, “Violette Summers”, is based off of a real secret agent/saboteur Violette Szabo. However, the real secret agent had 1 successful mission, then was captured, interrogated (most likely raped), put into a concentration/work camp then executed at the age of 23. Allegedly the real Violette’s family did not allow them to use her name.
Gameplay is assumed to be stealth, but unfortunately there are several sections where you are forced to play a very offensive game (more on that later). There is a skillpoint system: you gain skillpoints by collecting items around the levels and you can put these skillpoints into “Morphine length”, “Stealth speed”, “Strength (health)”. You mostly stick to the shadows, avoid broken glass, and kill guys silently.
There is an interesting mechanic where you use a syringe of morphine to freeze time for enemies so you can either run up and stab them in the face, or run for better cover. Unfortunately this is an underused mechanic (at least by me, I couldn’t find enough syringes during gameplay, maybe 2 per level.) I will say the disguise mechanic (where you change into an SS helper uniform) was a welcome change of pace, as you’d walk around in plain daylight without being noticed (as long as you stay about 10 feet away from the Nazis).
Story is you being sent on a series of missions, sometimes months between them. Collect bomb then blow up oil depot, or find and assassinate such-and-such. It is being told between fits of consciousness as you lie comatose in a hospital, as if these are your memories/dreams. When you enter morphine mode, time freezes and the environment changes to shades of pink, with flowing petals, and you are in a nightgown (what you are wearing in the hospital).
Ambiance is attempted in the game, and I hand it to the developers for trying. You’ll hear gunshots in the background, dead bodies in the streets(I think a few may have been of male children, aged 12-16, not too young), trashed houses, and yells of what may be Nazis rounding up or raping villagers. The story is rather morose as you’ll find out that because of a mission you just completed, 30k civilians were killed, and the ending isn’t upbeat (again, more on this later). Even the conversations between guards led me to feel a little bit bad about having to later stab him in the taint (yes, there are taint stabs!).
The end: I’ll try not to spoil anything, but the ending had some complaints in other reviews. The one I agree with is that they force you into full-on gunfights, something your character cannot handle (a few shots and she is dead, no recovering health except with health packs you may find). I’d read of this happening, so I made sure to put 4/5 points into strength stat, but this led me to entirely ignore the morphine stat (which as I said I barely used anyways, and it always lasted long enough). To complete the very last bit of the last level I went and found a walkthrough, which just told me to make them come to me around a corner. This realllly helped, after several unsuccessful tries (and a couple days off of the game due to it pissing me off), I was able to finish it in one try.
The other complaint I heard about the ending is that it is sad/bad ending. I don’t really agree with this. Fuck, did WW2 have a really happy ending? Did the 50-70million dead soldiers and civilians lives have a happy ending? Suck it up and enjoy this and the other touches of “reality of war” that Replay Studios put into it.
A few things that did annoy me was the forced sections where you have to wait patiently in the shadows while guards have small-talk that doesn’t affect the game. The first time is fine for each of these occurances, but if you die soon after you’ll have to listen to them again, bleh. As I mentioned before, the forced action sequences kinda sucked. Graphics and audio were a bit sub-par, even for early 2009. The checkpoint system also annoyed me. Sometimes I’d go left and it would check point, but there was something I’d need to do to the right. And often times going to the right took a couple of minutes, but you’d die soon after continuing to the left, and be sent back to before you’d completed the crap tot the right. GAH. Additionally, the game was too effing shadowed and dark. I turned up the brightness a couple times in the game, as I couldn’t tell where I was running (turning on the flashlight to see would have alerted the guards).
All in all, I say you should NOT play this game. It let me down. I like stealth games (MGS, SplinterCell), but it didn’t handle action well, both of those series do. I heard of some pretty bad check-point and other bugs (not my above complaint, where it deletes your checkpoint or sends you back a level), but never ran into those. Looking further, I only see 4 games to the Replay Studios name (one of which wasn’t released, one of which was based on a Uwe Boll movie, and another is a racing game) before it was closed.
(editor’s note: For “Fuck, did WW2 have a really happy ending?” I’d like to clarify that to “Fuck, did WW2 have a really happy ending halfway through?”, as the game ends during the war.)