Sniper Elite (PlayStation 2) review
"It may not be your cup of tea if you're a fan of manic action games like Devil May Cry, but if you don't mind the idea of leisurely capping people from afar then it's definitely worth a shot."
I went into Sniper Elite expecting an action game with some nifty sniping elements on the side, and I couldn't have been more wrong. The Contra nut in me tried to blast right through the first level, but it was in vain; the game isn't designed for that, and its enemies are too tough for that. Hitman may encourage a methodical pace, but Sniper Elite demands one. Your character isn't a Terminator-esque action hero that can laugh off ten gunshots to the face, and it's a shame I wasn't informed of that before thinking it wise to charge across a sniper-lined courtyard like your average Arnold.
One humiliating death and a reloaded save later, it dawned on me that I couldn't play Sniper Elite as if I were playing Quake 4. Fortunately, outlandish as the idea of not madly killing everything in sight may be, it's a much more well-balanced game once you learn to play by its rules. The sniping mechanics are fantastic; most games' sniping mechanics are far too simple to make an entire game out of, but Sniper Elite forces you to slow things down and take everything from wind to gravity into account when you're pulling the trigger. It's just as satisfying as nailing that match-winning putt in Mario Golf and, shockingly, even a bit bloodier.
That isn't why Ramboing your way through isn't going to work, though. Rather, it's because Sniper Elite's baddies are surprisingly savvy; once they catch a glimpse of you, they're not just going to stand there and let you tear them a few new holes with your trusty rifle. They'll surround you if you're close (which isn't good), and if you're a ways off, they'll do their best to hide behind something until you have no choice but to move in closer. They then surround you, and that just isn't good. You'll have to mix up your choice of cover, too; a building ravaged by artillery shells may help you off a few enemies, but if you don't eventually move things into the street below they'll figure out out and flank you in a heartbeat. As you I'm sure you can imagine, that isn't very good either.
Best of all, for those of you who manage to find someone who doesn't feel the need to shoot things up every three seconds, Sniper Elite lets you play through the entirety of its rather lengthy campaign with a buddy thanks to its awesome co-op mode; decoy strategies are a blast! As long as your friend is the decoy, obviously.
Sniper Elite can, admittedly, get somewhat repetitive, as there isn't much more to it than what I've already described; that said, it's a fun little game for those of you willing to slow things down a bit. It may not be your cup of tea if you're a fan of manic action games like Devil May Cry, but if you don't mind the idea of leisurely capping people from afar then it's definitely worth a shot.
Staff review by John L (December 30, 2005)
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