This review has been a long time coming. The backlog is nearly clear but this one has been bumping at the top of the list for a long time. Time to start that Spring clean early and dust off a game that really does need its time in the light before we all hit the ground running with 101 games being launched before April. Assault Spy was always a game I’ve come back to from time to time as my original gaming PC ‘Big Blue’ could barely run Witcher 2 let alone this. My current machine ‘Big Disco’ can run any Series X/PS5 title like a walk in the park so it’s time to grab a suitcase and beat down some agents. Let’s grab those rankings and steal the win!
Recently I’ve been thinking about how good Devil May Cry and Bayonetta are and how it’s rare that other games attempt the fast paced action formula with much success. There will occasionally be a rare Vanquish to play but Assault Spy is more of a Devil May Cry-like than any other fast paced anime action game. Combat works nicely with a controller, tapping buttons to link combos and although it’s not too great with a mouse it’s surprisingly functional regardless. Slipping from dashes to light briefcase hits to uppercuts and into heavy umbrella attacks all feels like familiar DMC-like action through an anime themed lens. Assault Spy has you taking on the office hordes and as you smash everything your ally will act as a decoy. Combos build up a bullet time metre and the flashy warping this results in gives Assault Spy a unique take on the genre.
It’s a shame there still hasn’t been a port to consoles for Assault Spy as it’s still a little bit buggy even now. The resolution and graphics tinkering required to get the game going at a decent framerate is a little more than your usual plug and play action game. Assault Spy is the first game I’ve seen with an option for Resolution in %s rather than the usual standard. Once you get everything running smoothly you can see the Unreal Engine trappings and the tinkering to get everything running makes more sense. Even on a decent PC you can expect Assault Spy to be surprisingly taxing and it’s 100% worth checking the specs before jumping in.
Assault Spy really could use a port to console for its designs and style alone. When it gets going it really hits all the big anime good vibes. The funky music is fantastic and despite stages being set in grey office settings its visual style and flair are brilliant and constantly popping. Once unlocked you can play as two different characters with stories that overlap in places and the different difficulties allow even a novice action player to breeze through. The big Bloodbourne feeling bosses are a nice touch and there’s rarely a moment where you don’t feel the need to be dashing around the stage trying to clear it as fast as possible. With some polish Assault Spy would easily be a sleeper hit on consoles.
Sometimes anime clichés hit just the right beats and Assault Spy manages this fantastically for the most part. Amelia is brilliantly, ‘extreme American anime’ throughout with loud, “OH NOOO” exclamations and flamboyancy to match. It’s an interesting premise, a genre that anime games don’t usually attempt with this much fidelity and clearly a smaller game that could have used more technical backup. It would be fantastic to see a ‘redux’ or refined version of Assault Spy on other platforms down the line but as it stands, this stylistic experience is locked away to Steam. If you fancy a really unique stylish RWBY feeling action game and have the patience to tinker then it’s definitely worth assaulting the Steam store for.
6/10 When it works it steals you away
Code provided by EU Partner Relations – NIS America Inc. Check out NIS here