First look at Sniper Elite

It’s not easy, but if you’re a good enough shot then you’ll be rewarded with a special camera angle that circles around the bullet in flight, before ending in a fatal expulsion of brain matter from the unfortunate victim’s head.

The visual effect is cheap and a little sickening at times, but is also satisfyingly final. This isn’t one of those games where you shoot somebody in the face and he just flinches a bit as though a fly had buzzed in front of his eye. There’s a splatter of red and white pieces, and you know for sure that he isn’t going to be getting up again. Mission accomplished.

Unless, however, you happened to shoot the wrong person at the wrong time, or did something to alert one of the supernaturally aware soldiers guarding the main target. There’s no room for error here, and the slightest mistake means that all your careful work in planning the hit will have been for nothing.

The artificial intelligence of the bad guys is strong enough for them to split into groups and flank you if you’re spotted. Obviously this isn’t what you want to happen while you’re staring down a rifle scope, focusing on a spot half a mile away, and restarts are a frequent part of the game.

The Wii version is basically identical to the 2005 editions in terms of content, with the addition of one new level at the end of the whole thing. The controls are the only real difference. We haven’t got our hands on it yet, but since Sniper Elite has the same pedigree as the decent Wii conversion of Rogue Trooper, we’re confident it’ll be handled professionally.

Will pointing a Wii remote at the screen for hours on end, waiting for that one perfect shot, prove punishing on the old wrist muscles? The UK will find out soon enough, as it’s due a ‘Q2’ (i.e., imminent) release, although a US release is currently uncertain – possibly sometime this year. Perhaps this will be one game where we’re actually glad the developers are including a special Wii Zapper control scheme. Not very sniper-ish, though…

Apr 29, 2010