E3 2019 Hands-on – Sniper Elite VR
Ever since VR started taking off I always thought we would see a lot of sniper focused games since it makes sense having the scope to use in VR. To my surprise there hasn’t been any notable titles that have focused on sniping. There have been games that have snipers in them, and they worked as well as I thought, but none made it a focus. I have always enjoyed being a stealthy sniper in any game that allows me to be, and games that have you adjust for bullet drop and wind speed attract me the most. Rebellion has had a long line of great story focused sniper games with the Sniper Elite series. I wasn’t shocked they were making a VR version because it makes perfect sense, but I was shocked that it has taken this long for a developer to bring one. When I saw that Rebellion was announcing Sniper Elite VR at E3 2019 I just had to get my hands on it, and to my delight, it was a great time.
Sniper Elite VR is a standalone campaign from the main series, but it’s set prior to the events of Sniper Elite 4 featuring a brand new story by Tony Schumacher, author of the acclaimed John Rossett novels. You play as a partizan sniper for the Italian resistance to rid Sicily of the Nazi U-boat menace. You’ll take on missions in an array of stunning new Italian maps. Much like the other Sniper Elite games you’ll have multiple options on how to proceed through levels. Guns blazing and grenades are still viable, but won’t get your far if you aren’t careful.
I was pleasantly surprised that all the features of the main game are here along with free movement. Rest assured this is not just another shooting gallery game. You’ll need to move and position yourself to vantage spots and peek corners. While the demo is a very early alpha build there was still a myriad of movement options available for all levels of comfortability. For the demo I was playing on the PSVR with the AIM controller. The AIM controller worked fantastic feeling like you had a rifle in your hand. Bringing the scope up to your eye and looking through felt natural and even switching over to the machine gun feels great with the controller. I can’t recommend the AIM enough if you have a PSVR.
The move controllers are also supported which will be more on par with the experience you’ll get with the Rift and Vive headsets. Depending on the immersion you want, I can see benefits of using both controller inputs. While the AIM makes it feel like you’re holding a rifle, having two separate controllers increases the interactions. For example, with the move controllers you’ll need to manually pull the rifle pin back to feed another round. You’ll also be able to grab grenades off your chest, pull the pin, and throw it. As for features that weren’t in the demo, but confirmed by Assistant Head of Design, Steve Bristow; sound masking, stealth, and the Welrod will still be in Sniper Elite VR.
This wouldn’t be a Sniper Elite title if there wasn’t realistic ballistic slow-motion X-ray kills. While it doesn’t retain all the flair of the regular titles, because let’s face it, following a bullet zooming across a battlefield sounds a bit disorienting in VR. However, you do see the bullet trajectory, the screen will fade black to comeback with your victims x-ray body so you can see a close up view of how your shot shreds the vital organs. Oh and just for some added shits and giggles they decided to add testicle shots. I didn’t realize this was something I wanted to do until they said they were giving high fives for anyone who accomplished the testicle shot. Naturally that become my one and only goal, and sure enough my next kill I got to see a mans testicles get blown up by my sniper. It reminded me of the Mortal Kombat nut punch x-ray move. . . You know the one.
The demo wasn’t flawless, the aiming was a little shaky, but this was an early alpha demo and it did well in showing me the potential and it got me excited for the final product. If you’re a VR owner, keep your eye on this one.
Developer: Rebellion in partnership with Just Add Water
Platforms: Playstation VR, Oculus Rift, SteamVR, VivePort
Release Date: TBA