If the Executioner DLC made me feel more powerful and confident then the first part of the Julie Kidman focused story expansion The Assignment has done the exact opposite. You feel powerless, alone and afraid, which is both this expansions strength and weakness.
You play as Julie Kidman in a storyline that (supposedly) runs parallel to the main game, though due to the fractured nature of reality in this it doesn’t tie in as often as you’d expect. Covering Kidman’s backstory as to why and how she’s involved in the goings on with Ruvick it also goes into her history with shady organisation behind it all called Mobius. Sent into STEM to find and retrieve Leslie Withers you’ll find yourself hunted by Ruvick and a new enemy I’d describe as a cross between a nurse, hooked and a spotlight. And also your loyalties will be tested because why not, you obviously don’t have enough going on.
You spend the vast majority of The Assignment without a weapon of any kind. This can lead to tense and scary situations just like a horror game should but any stealth title of any value should give you options. Options on how to approach a situation and options on how to handle things should it all go south. This really does neither. Hide in cover and sneak around the patrol patterns and run if spotted, hoping they lose track of you so you can hide. Though to save time you’re better off just allowing yourself to be killed and restarting a checkpoint then taking part in the Benny Hill style chase that will ensure.
Most hurtful of all are the forced and artificial barriers the game puts in the way of approaching how you want. Got an axe and want to stealthily pick them off one by one? Tough. It’s a one use item only usable from behind that she doesn’t have the common sense to pull back out to use again. Made every bullet could t during the one sequence you get to use a firearm? The game doesn’t care, a cut scene kick in showing you with an empty clip despite the fact I had 6 rounds left.
In the end this is a (too) slow and often infuriating stealth spin on the main game that needed more though putting into it.