Skip to main content

First look at Sniper Elite

While the general consensus seems to be that World War II is all a bit 2005, spare a thought for Sniper Elite. It was actually made in 2005 and has simply taken this long to seek out its ideal console partner. The game was released on PC, PS2 and the original Xbox all that time ago, when it gained a favourable reception.

It’s not at all like your typical WWII game. Although there are moments of intense action, the majority of the game is played at a slower, more thoughtful pace, with the emphasis on completing missions as efficiently as possible. No running and gunning here.

You play a sniper – an elite sniper, no less – who’s been sent to Berlin in 1945 to appropriate Nazi nuclear technology before the Soviets roll through town in their communist tanks and steal the radioactive goodies for themselves. The end of the war is fast approaching and everything is unravelling in Germany, so you don’t have much time.

Once you’re in one of the 28 main levels, however, you can take as long as you like. Waiting for the perfect moment can take ages, and it’s not uncommon to spend an hour or more sneaking past enemy patrols and stealth-killing your way to a rooftop vantage point.

Your mission is to assassinate top Nazi generals, steal secret files and generally worm your way deeper into the war-torn city in search of the information you need to present to your sinister military intelligence bosses back home in America.

While you’re sneaking around and investigating, a third-person camera gives the best view of your surroundings. You can fire a machine gun from this perspective, but the best stuff happens when you whip out the sniper rifle and peer down the first-person scope. That’s when Sniper Elite really comes into its own. Depending on the difficulty setting, you’ve got to take into account the natural arc of the bullet over distance, as well as the speed and direction of the wind. Your character’s heartbeat is shown on screen too, so that’s something else to bear in mind. And you have to juggle all these variables while remaining undetected and tracking the correct target to the kill zone.