Showcase Playstation 2 Game – Sniper Elite

Have you ever wanted to pick up arms and fight for a noble and righteous cause? And do you so happen to be a crackshot? Now you can in “Sniper Elite”, a shooter game set in World War II, when Soviet forces are poised to capture Berlin, the capital of Nazi Germany. In the dying days of the war, the Soviets are going all out to acquire advanced Nazi technologies, from ballistic missiles to atomic weapons. In “Sniper Elite”, you are an American agent sent to Berlin on a mission to harass and disrupt the Soviet effort, to prevent advanced technologies from falling into Soviet hands. Even before World War II has ended, the Cold War has already begun.
“Sniper Elite” is a mix between first-person shooter and third-person shooter. The game assumes a third-person view when our hero is scouting his way around the ruins of wartime Germany, and automatically switches over to a first-person perspective when the player aims and shoot with his sniper rifle. In the game, the player must attain various objectives specified during each mission. Examples of missions include the assassination of Soviet officials, sabotaging Soviet facilities or supply routes, making contact with German defectors, and even mounting the rescue of captured Allied agents. Sometimes there are missions against the Nazis themselves, causing you, an unwelcomed American agent disguised as a German soldier, to be hunted by both sides.
“I’ve always wanted to visit Berlin”
Sniping the sniper
As the name of the game suggests, the player is the ultimate sniper, who must use stealth and strategy to maneuver his way towards his objective, getting into position to deliver the killer shot. Running around nosily or failure to maintain camoufladge would attract the attention of the enemy forces, who would then proceed towards your location instinctively. Not only do you have to contend with Soviet or Nazi foot soldiers, there are also enemy snipers also on the lookout for you, and you must be able to figure out where they are hiding and kill them first, before they finish you off.
“I got you on my crosshairs, comrade”
Sniper vs. tank
What really draws my interest in “Sniper Elite” is the history realism that the game exudes. The producers of “Sniper Elite” spared no effort in the design and storywriting of the game, such as interviewing war veterans to get the look and feel of wartime Berlin, or learning from veterans actual fighting tactics used during the war. For example, when dealing with enemy tanks, snipers shot the fuel caps on the tanks, which caused the tanks to explode, destroying them. Now this is something I actually do in the game, though with great difficulty since the tanks are moving around all the time. Also, the story of “Sniper Elite” sounds as though it could have actually happened, as both Allied and Soviet forces were actively competing against each other to obtain Nazi technology during the war.
“Sniper Elite” also adds some physical realism within the game in the form of the trajectory of the sniper bullets. Bullets flying within the game follow their actual trajectories in real world, being affected by both gravity and wind direction. Therefore, when aiming at targets, one must aim slightly above the target so that, when the bullet is fired, it would fly and dip slightly downwards due to gravity just enough to hit the target head on (apparently not realistic enough, according to online reviews by actual sharpshooters, who complain that the game overexaggerates the required aiming offset). And when it is certain that the bullet will hit the target soldier, occasionally the game will switch to “bullet cam”, when the video will zip around the flying bullet as it flies towards and hit the enemy, giving you a cool visual of blood splattering and enemy soldier screaming in agony.
Bullet cam !
Another kraut bites the dust
I find playing “Sniper Elite” real exciting and satisfying, especially since I am literally competing against the game’s artificial intelligence, which throws up various complicated scenarios for me to overcome. For example, in one of the missions, immediately at the start, several Soviet soldiers would come running towards my location no matter where I hide, shooting me down. Eventually, I figured out the solution, by hiding inside a building but first planting several tripwire grenades at the entrance. Since the enemy always ran towards me, I blew them to bits when they came looking for me, and I can continue on with my mission. My only complaint about “Sniper Elite” is that, sometimes it seems as though a non-fatal shot to the arms, legs, or even backpack, would also kill the enemy. Perhaps they died of shock, or maybe it’s because I’m playing in “cadet” mode, the lowest of three difficulty settings. I would like to replay the entire game again at a higher difficulty after I finish the game the first time round.
Postcard from Berlin, April 1945
As I play “Sniper Elite”, given the historical realism of the game and its setting in the final days of World War II, sometimes I was half-hoping to recce over to the Fuhrerbunker and assassinate Hitler and his associates. Unfortunately, there is no such mission, although perhaps a follow-up game may incorporate such a mission. Or another game could be set during the Battle of Stalingrad, where sniper warfare was also rampant. But no follow-up game has yet been planned.
“Sniper Elite”, released 2005, now available for PC, PS2 and Xbox. Rated M.

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