Winter!: Prepare for holiday gaming!
Sniper Elite is a stealth action game set near the end of World War 2. To be successful in the game you'll need both caution and patience, so for those of you who get your kicks from running headfirst into the enemy’s stronghold and firing wildly at anything that moves I suggest you look elsewhere for your adrenaline fix. If you've read this far I assume the premise of a slower paced shooter hasn't put you off, in which case congratulations because Sniper Elite could be exactly what you're looking for.
Story isn't one of the games strongest points, the most interesting twist being that you spend a lot of the game shooting at pesky Russians as well as the more popular German targets of most WW2 games. As a sniper in the American army it's your job to try and recover German nuclear technology before the Russians beat you to it. I once read that in war there's no such thing as friendly fire, and it's certainly true in this case as you take down numerous Russian soldiers standing in your way whilst posing as a German sniper. That's about all you need to know for the story, Sniper Elite is certainly no novel (unless of course you're reading one of the spin off books and then it's very much a novel) but there's enough story there to hold the game together.
The game dates back to 2005 so feel free to remove your safety mask because the graphics won’t be melting any faces, however they actually do stand up pretty well for themselves. Glancing around I find that sometimes things can look a little bland or a little samey, I mean you've seen one ruined building you've pretty much seen them all right? Luckily you're probably looking for a game rather than an interactive painting and from that standpoint it's pretty hard to fault the visuals. The different maps are all recognisable in their own right, and I've never gotten lost when making my way around the place. The graphics never take me out of the game either, they are pretty consistent. Unfortunately, every so often you'll come across a clipping problem with enemies poking through supposedly solid walls. This isn't just a graphical drawback either as it can be a real kick in the face when they start shooting you through the same wall that's providing them with perfect cover, but for the most part this is a rare occurrence.
The controls are generally good in the game, but if you think you know better you can always define your own. Personally I found them simple and effective and I can't really say much else about them. Same goes for the interface and menu systems; they’re simple and easy to navigate. Everything does its job.
Sound doesn't really make any difference to me, as far as I'm concerned a gunshot is a gunshot and a man reloading just sounds like a man reloading. Likewise music in the background to signify danger is useful and great but I don't really care if it's Beethoven’s 3rd or Monet’s 7th in C major, sound doesn't impress me. Don't get me wrong, bad sound can ruin a game, but good sound can't make a game. Following that train of thought the sound in Sniper Elite is fine and the voice acting is passable. The Russians sound pretty foreign to me and the overall quality isn't too shabby either. For the record I'm aware Monet was a painter, but it's around the midway point in the review now so I thought I'd throw out a curve ball to keep your attention.
Now we can get to the most important part of the review, the gameplay. Movement is pretty standard, allowing you to crawl around, crouch down or stand up properly. You can also control your movement speed so if you're being shot at you can run back to cover, but if you're trying to sneak though the streets a snail’s pace crawl may be the best option. Somewhat unsurprisingly a lot of the gameplay focuses on sniping which is the only first person activity in the game. Depending on what difficulty setting you are on (as a sidenote you can customize your own setting) there's an array of physics that come into play. If you're sniping from a distance gravity will inevitably pull your bullet towards the ground and you'll need to aim above your desired target if you want to hit them where it hurts. The head I mean, not the... moving swiftly on, wind also has a say in the final destination of your bullet, and as an elite sniper you'll need to learn how to judge both factors to be successful. Aiming itself can be tricky too as like a real sniper your aim isn't quite as steady as you'd perhaps like. Your heartbeat and breathing will cause the aim to sway slightly, and if you've recently been for a run your heart rate and breathing both increases which can make aiming a real challenge. Like other games you can hold your breath for a limited amount of time to counteract this and get off a perfect shot, but there's only so long you can hold your breath for so you better make it count. Other weapons in the game are all fired from third person view and have no levels of zoom for you to use. Sil
Game Traits applied to Sniper Elite (PC) by jimothyjim