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Platform

PC

 

Genre

Shooter

 

Publisher

City Interactive

 

Developer

City Interactive

 

ESRB

M (Mature)

 

Released

September 30, 2008

 

 

- Sounds/atmosphere provide appropriate tension and anxiety
- Ammo supplies were limited, but sufficient

 

 

- Linear level design
- Geometry/collision problems

 

 

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Sniper: Art of Victory

Score: 4.5 / 10

 

I donít play many first person shooters, so unlike a multitude of gamers, I havenít yet had my fill of the numerous WWII FPS games available. In real life, I am not a fan of guns and though I have been called very stealthy for my size, when you resemble the late Chris Farley that is not necessarily too much of a compliment. I also tend to play a lot of strategy or tactical games. On the surface then, Sniper: Art of Victory seems like it should be my type of shooter- playing as Russian sniper would place the focus on stealth and marksmanship, letting me be someone I am not, while encouraging tactical rather than run-and-gun gameplay. Sadly, the product lived up to its bargain price.

 

sniper art of victory          sniper art of victory


Sniper: Art of Victory does have some points in its favour. Trying the game on the higher difficulty setting proved extremely challenging. Just like in real life, I couldnít hit a darn thing. In many shooters, this is not too much of an issue as ammunition is always plentiful- not so in Sniper. For a game that seemed to strive for realism,

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this was a nice touch. The ammo shortages were never as bad as the actual Russian army experienced- another good thing. So, suitable chastised, I moved down in difficultly and discovered a very helpful aiming circle which took into account things like distance and wind speed to show me where my shot would actually land. Though it wasnít mentioned, I had the distinct feeling that the game also toned down these factors, as

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the circle was never too far from where I thought I would be hitting in any case.

I was also happy with the German voice work, though not speaking German it is difficult to say how it would sound to a native speaker. The English voice over on the other had a distinctively foreign feel to it- everything was pronounced and enunciated too exactly. Overall however, I thought the sound design was well done and contributed to an appropriate feeling of tension during the missions.

In their pursuit of realism, City Interactive also looked into the details- things such as your breathing affected your aim, making holding your breath while shooting almost a necessity. The problem was that while looking at these details, they missed some large problems which drag down the game.

Foremost among the problems was strange geometry/collision detection. In many areas, Sniper: Art of Victory felt more like an Unreal 2k4 mod than a complete game as bullets were unable to pass through barbwire fences or would get stopped in midair by invisible walls. The character himself would also get stuck in places where the geometry did not appear that it should effect his movement. In one case, I actually had to restart as I moved into a small area [between a tree and a building] which then proved impossible to escape.

Normally, I am not that concerned about graphics [heck I still play and enjoy some Intellivision games on occasion], but in a shooter where you spend this much time lying in or hiding behind vegetation, obvious planes of plants and grass floating on the sides of hills just donít cut it.

 

sniper art of victory          sniper art of victory


There are also some stability problems- though I never had a crash while playing like some others have reported, I did find that anytime I attempted to load a save from the fifth mission, the game would freeze and have to be closed from the task manager.

Finally, I have to mention the level design and enemy AI. Like the game itself, neither are terrible, but nor are they good. The level design is very linear which severely limits the playerís tactical options, but at the same time, it is possible to avoid, rather than kill, some enemies. Avoiding the enemies was a very hit and miss proposition though as the AI was a strange beast- once an enemy detected you, they did not lose sight of you regardless of where you went. The detection itself was not always explicable either as sometimes the AI enemies seem to be able to see you through walls, trees, and numerous tufts of that average at best vegetation, but in other cases, you were able to not only shoot at, but actually wound foes who remained blissfully unaware of your presence. On the more positive side, once they did notice you, enemies tended to go to ground or head for cover and stay there while keeping you covered, though it might have been nice to see them attempt a flanking manoeuvre once in a while.

Sniper: Art of Victory is a budget title and as such can be excused for some superficial failings. Unfortunately, some of its failings are more than superficial take much of the fun out of the game. I did get a couple hours of entertainment from the game before the frustrating collision and the little annoyances [why do I start panting, making it impossible to aim, after holding my breath for all of two seconds to fire a shot?] finally overcame the fun. I suspect this might occur even faster for someone who has played more shooters or trod more often in the WWII setting. I simply canít suggest buying this title when, even at its low price point, spending the money on a movie might provide more entertainment value.

 

- Garett Kutcher

(December 31, 2008)

 

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