As a VR user and a Sniper Elite enjoyererer, I’ve been genuinely looking forward to the upcoming Sniper Elite VR. Immersing my face into a decent open-world stealth game has been a dream of mine since VR started, and the previous two Sniper Elite games have been excellent examples of that type of game. So, yes, I will watch 12 minutes of it in action, thank you very much. I need to know just how much excitement I’ll allow myself to feel.
UploadVR shared their recent play session, showing off a mid-game mission. The setting is fairly typical for the series: blue skies, brown everything else, and Nazis everywhere.
Unsurprisingly, sniping is the main feature. There’s no mention of any comfort settings to make things easier for the player, so either they don’t exist, or the player chose to go in hard. That does mean that there’s the fairly typical wobbly aim other rifley games have, which looks like a wasted opportunity to me. Getting it right isn’t just about presenting it accurately, but making it feel right. I worry that a lot of the action will be fighting how tough it is to line up VR controllers while also dealing with the challenges of using the 3D scope. There aren’t many missed shots in the playthrough at least.
A lot of what makes the recent games in the series so good is the large, complex levels, which do seem simplified in the footage above. I did spot a crane with a dangling crate that would be perfectly placed for an environmental kill in other games in the series, but it goes unsniped. Interactions are a mixed bag. You can use stealth to approach NPCs and take them down with a swipe of a gun (even if it looks pretty lightweight), but you also have a throwing arc for a grenade. I get it: grenading in VR works in theory, but in practice there’s a bunch of variables in how players swing their arms and release the grenade. But stripping it all the way back to a button press seems to be missing the point to me.
This might be the only Sniper Elite game where I turn off the gruesome killcam. It’s a great reward in pancake gaming, but I really don’t want to be snapped out of my own viewpoint to see a bullet splitting some pancreas 100m away. I’d like to know what, if any, comfort options exist in both the sniping and the player movement (walking from place to place is good in theory, but it’ll make a lot of players ill).
As much as a VR game in the series makes sense to me, there doesn’t seem to be a lot in the playthrough that makes me think that this is a perfect marriage. I’ll still play it. I’ve played the last three games a lot, and really enjoyed the mixture of stealth and shenanigans they present, which is enough for me to give it the time of day, but I'm lowering my expectations a bit.
We're only a few weeks from launch. It's out July 8 on Steam, and supoorts Vive, Valve Index, and Oculus headsets.