Hitman: Sniper Challenge

For the last four hours I have been playing this pre-order “bonus” and let me tell you it was time well spent. To start with everything you unlock in game transfers into Hitman: Absolution when you get that on November 20th. Items unlocked are clip upgrades, reload upgrades, rapid fire and hold breath. Yes, these are all sniper related, otherwise it would just be called "The Hitman Challenge"! 

 

 

The “bonus” is available across all platforms that the game will be coming out for, so that means the Playstation 3, Xbox 360 and, of course, one of our favourites Steam. I personally chose the 360 version as my current desktop sounds like it is trying to take-off back to its home planet. Any more than half an hour and your head splits apart like mars attacks! Enough of my problems and more of those virtual “bodyguards” problems (if you could even call them that). 

The 'so called' bodyguards are really just sentries sent around to block your next stealth kill and just all round annoy. They follow set paths for the most part and that means they are relatively easy to assassinate. There are moments when frustration hits as the target stops to pick up an imaginary penny and then continues along like there was no bullet whizzing past his head. The physics engine runs a beauty as you are able to shoot the power box of the elevator which opens its doors and as the guard turns to see what happened and why, the bullet that is burrowing in the back of his skull has sent him over the edge and down the shaft.

The bonus consists of 1 map with 14 guards, 50 or so Ai civilians and 1 High Value Target (HVT for short). Your mission is to assassinate the HVT and his “bodyguards” without anyone detecting your presence. This sounds like the average sniper level that any game has these days but that is where the similarities end. There is no bullet drift or drop so you hit where you aim. The crosshairs move constantly until you slow your breathing, but the real joy I have found from this one seemingly small mission is with the tons of hidden Easter eggs!

In true Hitman style you're recommended to pick off the guys around the edges and work your way in, but not me! No sir! I’ve played this mission so many times (it seems to be approaching 100 times today) so I’ve done it all! I went on the outskirts, I went straight for the HVT and I even set an ambush with the proximity mines all from my perched view on a distant building.

The in game challenges range from shooting 3 rubber ducks to "shoot the ninja" and each challenge completed grants a new score modifier so you must do challenges in order to beat the high scores of not only your friends but your Nation and the rest of the world.

Overall Rating: 8/10

- James Monaghan

Sniper: Ghost Warrior

My hopes for this game had been high ever since I heard of it. Unfortunately, for and for the last two weeks I’ve been playing the demo for Sniper Elite V2. Probably owing to its 2010 release, Sniper: Ghost Warrior falls short of my expectations. The long range bullet tracking was exactly what I was expecting and raises some moments of shock and awe but the overall game feels lacking. 

 

The graphics are dated, even for a two year old game, and the AI are as basic as cardboard cut. When I was checking this game before its release, trying to decide should I buy it or not, I read a review which stated that the AI are so inflexible they could spot you through a hole in a fence at 400 yards even if the AI had no eyes. I was on a ridge in heavy shrubbery looking down on a refinery plant when i noticed a sentry swing round and raise his Ak47 in my direction until i quick scoped a bullet into his virtual brain. 

I assumed since the title had Sniper in it the game would focus around stealth, strategy and lot of patience. This is partially the case, as during few missions you cannot be seen or discovered. However, in others, the mission consists of ‘run and gun’ Call of Duty style gameplay, which I wouldn’t mind if it actually played like a half-decent first person shooter. The controls and aiming system are sluggish and unwieldy, like trying to shoot a rifle with weights attached to your shooting arm.

The heart rate control system was a clever introduction to a sniping game but is far too sensitive to be of any use. You lay down briefly and your heart rate drops to 60 beats per minute, you stand up and walk one foot and your heart jumps to 80-100 beats per minute, which is completely inaccurate and ridiculously stupid.

The multiplayer. Oh the multiplayer. I thought this would consist of huge forest dome where eight-plus snipers are dropped in, forcing you to crawl and carefully plan every inch of your movement. By the gods was I wrong! To start the prone button was disabled! This results in your heart beat being permanently high, reducing your accuracy dramatically. The maps were a lot smaller than I expected and the games are general won by two factors: on the one hand, the first team to set up has the clear advantage as they can see the opposition move into position, while on the other, if you run across to the opposing side you can kill everyone with your pistol without being noticed. 

Overall the game isn’t as bad as most reviewers would deem it but it is close enough. The multiplayer mode is the most enjoyable part of the game and that is flawed to me. I gave the game 4/10 due to the graphical shortfall added to the lack of desire to pick up the controller to continue through the game.

Overall Rating: 4/10

- James Monaghan