Death To Spies 2: Moment Of Truth Preview: SMERSH Is Fun To Say

Death to Spies 2 is a sequel to a 2007 PC stealth action game that was like the Russian version of Hitman.

The key difference in Death to Spies is that the player takes the role of a SMERSH (read: badass Russian counterintelligence agency) operative during World War II instead of a bald hired goon. As a SMERSH operative, the player is given numerous sneaking missions and stealth options like disguises that allow them to infiltrate and kill Nazi officials. This formula worked okay for the first game. Let's see how well it stacks up for the second.

What Is It? Death to Spies 2: Moment of Truth follows main character Strogov's return to the agency from his previous missions and his new assignment to off more high-ranking Nazis and commit all kinds of espionage after infiltrating their bases.

What We Saw I played an early mission that involved stealing a uniform, stealing a car and then going to three different points on a Nazi base located somewhere in the woods to obtain plans for some kind of Nazi attack.

How Far Along Is It? The game is due out in late July.

What Needs Improvement? Mission Should Auto-Fail If You Hose Yourself: Several times during this mission I would botch my first kill and be unable to steal a uniform. I found that it's impossible to complete the mission without that uniform and that there was no other way to obtain a uniform – but the level wouldn't fail me out unless I actually got shot or blown up. I asked if this was a bug and was told that it wasn't – so in other words, you could hose an entire mission in the first five minutes and not actually know it until you got shot or blown up. That's harsh.

Not A Lot Of Cues: I had infiltrated the base successfully and was looking for the kitchen to steal a chef's outfit. However, there was no map to tell me where the kitchen was. Also, there were no audio cues to alert me to the fact that I'd wandered into the wrong building – until after all the Nazis started screaming and shooting at me.

What Should Stay The Same? Map Overlay Mode: The map the game provides players tells you where you are, where you target is and where all the enemies are looking. The map can be hidden, if you prefer the challenge – or you can move it from a mini corner view to a transparent overlay that covers the screen. It's very convenient and particularly helpful to navigating the massive levels.

Lots of Options: You can chloroform people, shoot them with myriad guns, garrote them or just plain shank them en route to your objective. You can also choose not to kill people if you're feeling magnanimous – a choice that not all spy games grant. Though obviously this goes out the window if you primary objective is an assassination.

Level of Detail In Disguises: When I managed to steal a uniform, I was impressed to find that Nazi soldiers would know I was an imposter simply by seeing my character carry the wrong gun. I was sort of sad to part with my shotgun, but if it's in the name of realism, I count it as a plus.

Final Thoughts To really appreciate Death to Spies 2, I'd say you'd have to have played the first one. Most of the tweaks to the interface and general improvement in gameplay and graphics were made in response to requests from the Death to Spies community. Even so, however, there is a solid stealth game here that I think people will appreciate. People like me who got burned by Velvet Assassin.


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