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CVG
4 Reviews

Sniper Elite

Going camping in Berlin, 1945 style...

Play almost any first-person army shooter and you'll find the most popular specialist role is the sniper.

Lurking unseen on the periphery of the battlefield and popping the occasional head from the safety of a distant bush, it's a most cowardly and dishonourable way to fight. But it's certainly fun.

Sniper Elite, then, should preclude any potential guilt about cheapskate tactics by focusing exclusively on the long-range marksman.

You play as a lone operative, deep behind enemy lines in Berlin during the closing stages of World War II. Your mission is to prevent the advancing Soviet army from making off with Nazi plans for an atomic bomb, recovering said data instead for the benefit of Uncle Sam.

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As such, you're disguised as a German soldier, and most of the many heads you'll be popping belong to Russians.

CREEP SHOW
You sneak around the war-ravaged city in third person mode, surveying the ruins through binoculars and whipping out a scoped rifle when you spot a target.

What sets this apart from typical shooters is the distance you need to keep between your undercover agent and the enemies. The closer you get to the action, the more likely you are to get mown down by machine guns, but stay more than 100 metres away and they'll have a hard time finding you, let alone hitting you.

You, on the other hand, have no such trouble with range. Much of the game is spent lining up enemies through the scope, and adjusting it to compensate for the amount the bullet will arc over distance.

When you think you've got it right you tap A to empty your lungs, and squeeze the trigger. Correctly aimed shots give instant feedback via a cutscene that follows the bullet all the way into your victim's face.

Hopefully you'll have seen where the bullet landed and have time to readjust if you miss completely - once alerted, enemies tend to vanish behind cover. Shots that hit the body only make the enemy flinch though, which is a bit weak.

That's the way it goes for pretty much the entire game. You sneak, you spot, you shoot and, more than likely, you retreat, with the mates of the bloke you just killed shooting angrily at your back.

On the hardest difficulty setting (which is completely beyond us) you'll have to contend with wind direction and the heart rate of your character, which means you can't shoot accurately until you've crouched and rested for a while.

There are other weapons to pick up lying about the place, including a rocket launcher for taking out tanks, but they're all incredibly clunky compared to the sniper rifle, and lack the same gory pay-off.

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It's quite disappointing when you're forced to use them, although getting up close and personal does give you the opportunity to put some bonus bullets into wounded enemies. Grenades are included too, but unfortunately the fiddly motion controls make them a pain to throw properly.

OUT OF CONTROL
In fact, the controls are the biggest problem with this game. It's converted from an old PS2 title, which had a perfectly workable control system in place. But without the option to use a Classic Controller on Wii it's all gone a bit waggletastic.

For example, hold the remote vertically and stab downwards to plant a bomb, or swing both hands horizontally to search bodies. What a faff.

As for placing the remote upside down on your shoulder to fire a rocket, well, who seriously thought that was a good idea? In the original game you'd just tap the joystick to make fine adjustments to the scope, and you always had a full-screen view of the surrounding area.

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