Capcom vs. SNK 2 EO Review
By Todd Allen
I must say that with the past weeks' events I was a bit hesitant to put my name on anything with the word sniper written all over it. After playing Sniper: Path of Vengeance, though, my attitude changed a bit. Even if there wasn't a sniper incident splashed across our headlines I wouldn't want to be associated with this game. There isn't any room in the world of first person shooters for this title; the gameplay lacks originality and is just plain awful.
The sniping business hasn't always been this bad, though. I'm sure several of you have spent large amounts of money at your local arcade playing Silent Scope and its sequels. The idea for a game in this vein has merit and a quality title would surely gain much attention. I mean what's more satisfying than sniping bad guys and what's more frustrating than getting sniped? Unfortunately, the only thing successfully shot down by this game is players' hope of a quality title.
Everything about this game screams 'generic' and the story is no exception. The main character, known only as "The Sniper," is one bad man. Apparently several folks have it out for our beloved hitman, though. It seems a crime war has erupted and the sniper has been double crossed and framed. Now it seems that murder is the only option left for the, umm, murderer as he must find out who wanted him out of the picture so he can, uh, murder him. Just about every aspect of this game is painful.
The opening sequences find our hero walking down a dark street in search of a job. As a side note you'll run into a hooker outside a bar as you cruise the streets. When you walk up to her she'll ask you whether you'd enjoy her company or not. At this point you are given several choices about how to answer her, which I found positive in building a unique story. Disappointingly, though, she didn't really react differently to any of the things you can say. Moreover all you have to do is walk away and come back to start the scenario over, erasing any accountability for your choice of action. After passing by several poorly rendered police, the sniper finds his informant and learns that the mob wants a nearby squealer rubbed out. Subsequently you get your hands on a sniper rifle with laser sights and set out to kill this guy who happens to be hanging out with a bunch of cops at a gas station. First, you've got to kill the cops. Shoot the suckers in the foot, leg, arm, or whatever. It doesn't matter, they'll fall dead anyway. Personally I didn't know that the police had major organs in their legs, but hey, I'm no doctor. At this point you don't have any aspirations of playing any further. Imagine a game centered on the sniping profession that has one of the worst setups for the scenario. It's OK for you to laugh, but I'm crying on the inside.
Sniper does attempt to create some depth to its gameplay by letting you customize your player's attributes. You can alter stats like stamina and health. Stamina relates to just about all the actions of your player from running to jumping to shooting. Altering your health stats can make it possible for your player to gain additional health as he progresses. You also can alter your weapon skills, which basically filter down to your accuracy, damage caused, and the effect of recoil on your shots. As you progress you will gain levels, which basically hand you more points to spend on your skills.
Sniper also allows players to carry multiple items besides the weapons they may find. You can carry various items like food and medicine to heal yourself in tight spots or painkillers, which lessen the damage you incur by getting shot. One thing that holds water is the amount of weapons you'll come across during the game. Your sniper's armory will include ten different weapons ranging from nightsticks to silenced submachine guns. While this isn't exactly praiseworthy, it is about one of the only aspects of Sniper: Path of Vengeance that is on par.
Graphically the game is surpassed by several PS One games. In an era where games are constantly pushing the boundaries of reality, the visuals of Sniper will leave you with a sour taste at best. Characters lack detail and personality, even the main character appears non-descript for all his menace. Several times during the rainy opening sequence I saw raindrops hitting surfaces that didn't exist, creating pools of water quite literally in midair. The interface is very difficult to come to grips with, begging for customization.
While this game could have been very successful with what was a unique approach to the first person shooter genre, it falls flat on its face. Sniper: Path of Vengeance lacks any redeeming qualities that would merit a purchase, even at a bargain price. At best the game meets standards set and surpassed years ago. I can't recommend this game to anyone. All you masochists are better off with Britney Spears' latest release.