Sniping - and we’re sure lots of you will agree with this - is one of the best activities in modern videogames. A supreme mix of satisfaction, skill and cowardice, you’re made to feel like a ninja, but a ninja armed like a small tank. A fair few of you out there probably have PhDs in headshots too. So, what about an entire game dedicated to this most simultaneously tense, irritating and exhilarating of Deathmatch specialities?
Sniper Elite may not have the slickest of production values, but what it does have is tremendous focus and some neat ideas. The fuel drums of tanks can be sniped, making for tough skill shots, as can handfuls of TNT that have been placed elsewhere. Shots taken when things are noisy can keep you hidden, and rocks can be thrown to tempt cunning opponents back out into the open. Even your lungs can affect accuracy. Though you’ve got a reserve machine gun for messy close-up encounters, you’re better off taking cover.
You can save whenever you want, so you don’t have to invest whole evenings at a time. Saves are limited, but not too stingy, and they’ll come in extremely handy. Sniper Elite is harder than juggling in zero-gravity, and if you like your games to have constant gunfire, you’d best approach purchase as cautiously as a Russian WWII tank patrol. It’s not poorly designed by any means - it’s just a tightrope experience of high tension and painstaking baby-steps.
It’s not as glorious as it sounds: Sniper Elite is a game about patience and care, one where noise, aggression and speed are pitfalls instead of springboards. It’s the tail-end of WWII, and you’re pretty much alone in a series of stark, ruined environments. In truth, war has never felt this empty, but it’s nevertheless a wide open gaming space that’s absolutely buzzing with tension.
The game is hamstrung by its general shabbiness. There’s slowdown, some awkward character movement in tight spots, and an inability to climb over waist-high ledges and what not. But this still has some technical strength in its draw distance. The quality of certain building textures and zoom effects, and the vital accuracy of your sniper rifle. Actually, it reminds us of the Conflict: Desert Storm games a little - hardly beautiful, but solid to the core with a versatile mix of strategy and action.