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Platform

PlayStation 2

 

Genre

Action

 

Publisher

Namco

 

Developer

Rebellion

 

ESRB

M (Mature)

 

Released

October 18, 2005

 

 

- Smooth, intuitive controls

- Large environments

- Lots of missions

 

 

- Very slow pace

- Environment graphics are grainy

- Textures are too frequently re-used

- Sometimes too difficult

 

 

Review: Postal 2 (PC)

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Sniper Elite

Score: 7.0/10

 

From the beginning I had mixed feelings about Sniper Elite. It has the feel of a solid game, and the first thing I noticed about it was that the control-scheme was intuitive and smooth. Controlling your sniper is incredibly simple and there arenít any button assignments that feel out of place, or are tough to get a handle on. This is great because Sniper Elite is a game that sometimes requires extreme efficiency and precision in your movements. Unfortunately the second thing I noticed was that the environments were grainy and bland. This isnít too bad on itís own but it turns into an almost critical shortcoming when trying to detect the movement of enemy snipers on faraway rooftops. This was a dichotomy that would follow me through the rest of the game.

 

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The single-player campaign is 28 missions long, and the average mission takes a while to complete. The game will see you on several different types of missions but in essence they all amount to either escorting someone to safety, or finding someone and shooting them in the head, but that is to be expected in a sniper game, I suppose. I finished the game at a total of fifteen hours but I get the feeling that this is a poor indication of length. If youíre someone who wants to put a lot of time into exploring the environments, making sure your path is clear, getting every shot perfect, etc., then I imagine you could put significantly more time into this title. Likewise, if for whatever reason you just want to blow through it and not even worry about secondary objectives then this could easily be a weekend rental, a ten-hour affair that quickly becomes another notch on your belt. The important part, of course, is that for those who want to spend the time doing things perfectly you will never feel rushed along.

 

As Iíve said, the graphics are rough around the edges but that doesnít cover it. They are also re-used too frequently, so that every enemy soldier is exactly the same. Textures and models for buildings are in some cases repeated several times per level. You often feel like youíve been creeping through the same four or five city blocks throughout the entire game. There isnít too much to say about the graphics other than the aforementioned, they were treated by the developer neither as a positive part of the game experience, nor a negative one; at best Iíd say they were treated as a necessary one.

 

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These graphical shortcomings are almost made up for, however, by the relatively large environments that youíre let loose in. You basically get set at one end of a large map, get told where your objectives are, and they let you decide which paths to take to get them, which is nice, at least in theory. However, the combination of the huge environments and incredibly slow pacing of the game can lead to a wrong-turn or bad decision costing you thirty minutes or more of crawling around on the 

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ground and lining up shots. A lot of the time it comes down to trial-and-error to find out where all of your enemies are, and how you can get a good line of fire while maintaining cover. This can become tedious quickly if you arenít the type for it, which I think most players probably arenít.

 

The combat sounds are actually done very well, and are quite satisfying. The rumble of a tank is visceral, and lets you know that if you donít find out where that rumble is coming from and get out of the way, youíre going to be in a world of pain. Likewise, the rattle of a machine gun, or the yelling of an NKVD soldier as you pick off the person standing beside him are all very fitting, and real.

 

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Even as I write this Iím still not sure what to put as a final verdict on this whole package. Of course, that in itself speaks a bit about the quality of the game. If youíre a gamer with a very heavy interest in war games, and a ton of patience then Sniper Elite is a game worth checking out. If youíre in the demographic they were apparently shooting for then the games sub-standard graphics and sometimes repetitive game play will probably be outshined by the open environments and the well-handled gunplay. But if youíre the kind of player who hates losing thirty minutes of crawling and sniping to one enemy you couldnít find because of the fuzzy graphics, which I bet is a fair amount of those reading this, then you may want to skip over Sniper Elite for something an action title that has a little more action in it.

 

Daniel Mathers

(November 28, 2005)

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