When translating a popular game to a virtual reality format, you run the risk of changing up how it plays for convenience. Sometimes you have to change the gameplay to make the experience better, like from a smooth-flowing run-around to point-and-click gameplay. That said, Rebellion’s Sniper Elite VR doesn’t work that way.
In fact, some motion issues aside with the demo, what this game presents is much smoother. It’s a game that entirely uses the first-person perspective with movement and gun control, without the need to shift viewpoints. It could take some getting used to, but die-hard Sniper Elite players probably won’t mind the real-life transition.
Gameplay that clicks
Here’s how it works. You use the analog sticks on your virtual reality controls for movement, including going forward, backward, and turning. You still use the headset when it comes to looking at the screen in real-time. But what’s neat is how your sniper rifle becomes involved.
That’s because, when it comes to aiming at targets, you actually lift up the rifle like you would a real model. You then look down the scope in real-time. It’s a little jarring at first, especially if the motion controls aren’t entirely calibrated. However, once it does work, the effect is nearly seamless.
How it works is that you get to a point in the action where you can see enemy soldiers line up. You can see which ones they are through highlight markings. You can then take aim and shoot, or you can use the scope to get a closer look. This is the best way to go, if only because it matches the realism of the real thing. The only slight difference is hitting a button to do the “empty lung” thing, solidifying your aim before taking your shot.
Shooting enemies with Sniper Elite VR is pretty cool, as the X-ray effect makes a return. This is where the bullet zooms out of your gun towards its target. Once it hits, you’ll see the internal skeleton structure of the target, depending on where you hit them. You can then watch whatever you shot shatter from the bullet – be that the heart, ribs, or even, yes, testicles.
We only got to play the PAX East demo for a little while, so we didn’t really get to see many aspects of the story. However, when it comes to gameplay, Sniper Elite VR feels pretty good. Movement is handled well enough, though you can transition to point-and-click if it’s too much. As for aiming, we found it to be pretty spot-on, something that Rebellion has become a pro at with its past releases (like other entries in the Sniper Elite series).
Is it for everyone?
Whether you’ll get into Sniper Elite VR really depends on two things. First, your fandom of the series; second, how much you like VR games. It’s not an over-the-top experience that’ll make you rush out and purchase a headset. However, if you are a fan and really want a game that immerses you into the action, this definitely looks to be it. It’ll make its debut on Oculus VR and SteamVR later this year.