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Generation: Gamerz Review: Sniper: Art of Victory

Posted by Dave FarmerDave Warnes, Dec 31, 2008 01:00

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Sniper: The Art of Victory is a FPS that just misses the mark for a modern videogame.

coverThat's mostly because this game only has 8 levels and comes in at the low cost of  £4.99 (less than $10 USD).  I am a huge fan of the FPS (First Person Shooter) genre and it was with great anticipation that I opened this package.  I read the press release, the cover, and even the booklet inside describing the gameplay.  I thought to myself, "This looks pretty straight forward."  So, I popped the CD into the computer and away we went.  The standard Windows installer window popped up, and after agreeing to the licensing I clicked "Next".  I was then greeted by a pleasant surprise: a check box asking if I wanted to do an “Express Install”.  I clicked on it and it finished the install without further intervention.  This is a great concept: sure go ahead and install everything in the default location and don’t make me click 20 times to do it.

Graphics - 40%
The first thing I did when I fired up Sniper: Art of Victory was to crank up the graphics.  I found that the game had two graphics modes: a standard 1024 by 768 and a higher resolution of 1280 by 960 (which unfortunately was not supported by my monitor and caused some issues).  When I tried the latter setting,  I was unable to revert back to the previous setting because the screen was blank and offered me no escape.  I had to kill the process in Windows' Task Manager, but found the same problem after re-launching the game because the game had saved the video setting.  To resolve this issue, I was forced to re-run the installation from the CD, which offer me the option of repairing the game.  This worked and reset all the settings in the game back to default.  Since I do not have a widescreen monitor, I was forced to play at 1024 by 768, which was like taking a step back in a time machine at least five years.

sniperstalingrad Even at this resolution, it looked like the developer went to a lot of effort to make the surroundings seem as real as possible. The level of detail with the content was great, given the setting.  But ultimately, the jagged lines and blocky graphics seemed to detract from the game play for me.


 
Sound - 60%
The sounds in this game were quite good.  Each weapon had a different sounding report, and the sound of your footsteps did change depending on what type of surface you were walking on.  The sounds of the explosions sounded a little fake, and the voice acting was very generic.  The background music was pleasant and did not take away from the game.  I assume it is because the sniper works in silence most of the time, and the developer did not want to over dramatize the background music.

Gameplay - 60%
Sniper offers two game modes to choose from: Recruit or Veteran (Easy or Hard).  I played the game all the way through on the easy mode, because I thought it would be a good way to familiarize myself with the look and feel of the game.  In Easy mode, the game gives you more pointers on how to play, when there may be enemies near, and actually shows you where the bullet will hit when you fire. The game claims to have an advanced ballistic system, and it really does.  The wind, your breathing, and your position all affect the aim and finally where the bullet will hit.

The game has eight missions or levels to complete.  You begin on the outskirts of a wooded area.  You need to eliminate a slew of guards as you progress.  Playing the game in easy mode seemed to have made the guards deaf.  There were instances where I would shoot one of two guards, standing side by side, and the second guard would not even react.  Sometimes walking in a level to reach a certain objective seemed like it took forever, and at other points you could sit in one spot and just snipe six guys without moving.

One of the features of gameplay that I really enjoyed was the “bullet cam”.  After lining up a shot for a perfect sniper kill, the game shows you the shot as it exits the barrel of  the gun and follows its trajectory to its destination.  This feature is not easy to employ as the shot has to be a “dead on”, perfect head shot.  Additionally, this allowed the player to kill two enemies with one shot, assuming the shot was lined up just right.

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On the list of "features that I did not like about the game" were missions that entailed things like “Your objective is to destroy three tanks” and reach the next way point.  The first time through, I spent about one hour trying to figure out how to destroy three tanks while armed with only a sniper rifle, knife, and a pistol.  After an hour of trying to knife a tank, I just decided to avoid the enemy and walked to the way point.  "Congratulations on completing this mission” read the message on the screen.

weirddeathThere were other anomalies that just made the game frustrating to play.  After killing an enemy, you could pick up his weapon and add it to your collection.  Sounds great but you could only pick up his primary weapon; the grenades hanging from his waist were not accessible.  There were several instances of dead soldiers that were left lying in positions that I did not think was possible like hanging in mid air or just slumped over kneeling.  I has some issues as well with the scope's zoom mode.  You would think that when you zoom in on a person or object that the point that you are zooming in on would stay at the center of the scope, but for this game it did not.

error After playing the game for a while, I started to think that I had seen or experienced some of this history before.  I could not quite place my finger on just what it was that I was sensing, but it seemed familiar.  Off to Google I went, and searched for Stalingrad, WWII, and Sniper which led me to a sniper by the name of Vassily Zaitzev.  I then remembered the movie, Enemy at the Gate.  Some of the events depicted in the movie are played out in this game.  For those that have seen the movie, situations like where you hide in a bombed out fountain and have to shoot Germans at the exact moment bombs explode around you to mask the sound of your rifle, or when you must kill a renowned German sniper to demoralize the enemy.

Controls/Interface – 60%
The controls were standard for a modern FPS.  The few key defaults that were different, were easy to learn and did not detract from the gameplay.  The interface for modifying your controls was also straight forward.  The Quick Save and Quick reload features were a nice addition, as it allowed me to repeat some sections without having to replay entire levels.  The only element I found cumbersome was exiting the game.  Doing so requires pressing ESC, which takes you to the menu, where you would click exit.  This would exit you from "Game Mode".  Exiting the game required you to press exit again.  Trivial, but annoying to say the least.

Summary - 55%
Playing Sniper in Easy mode the first time to familiarize myself with the game took about eight hours to complete.  After finishing, I restarted the game in expert mode.  Since I was familiar with the tasks and surroundings, I was able to finish the game in less than four hours.  For the price, about $10 USD, this is not a bad game, but don’t expect beautiful graphics or flawless gameplay. I just do not understand why a game released in 2008 looks and plays like a fair game released in 2002. Overall, my feeling is that this game could have been so much more than it is, with some really nice features that get mired in a poorly laid out game. If you want some cheap entertainment you could probably do worse.

For more video game reviews on this and many others head to Game Rankings

Our Rating for Generation: Gamerz Review: Sniper: Art of Victory
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