Reviewed: November 12, 2002
Released: September 17, 2002
Before we get started here, let's make it clear that my job is to provide a non-biased opinion formatted into a concise, comprehensible run-down of the schematics of a game. I myself am a very big fan of the FPS genre. That said, I will now proceed to tell you everything that is wrong with Sniper: Path Of Vengence (hereby referred to as "Sniper: POV" and/or "Frisbee" and the reasons you should not touch it. Seriously, do not even touch the box.
Let's go ahead and review the story and setting of this game. You are a hitman known as "The Sniper". You're super-hardcore and you're one of the best in the industry. Except we sort of have a paradox, because you would be mildly shocked at how much sniping you don't do. You could easily be like other snipers and take time to formulate plans and not be seen, but instead The Sniper just sort of annihalates everyone within sight. Instead of just killing your target, you take out like six to eight policemen right along with him. Hey, might as well have used up all those extra bullets anyway, eh?
After viewing that little spectacle of what appeared to be Smurfs with guns you get caught by the Five-o, tossed in jail, and sedated with a drug. Five minutes later a guy flops onto a guard with all the ambition of a dying fish and calls it a riot. Semi-hesitantly, you grab the gaurds nightstick and just leave. Something is wrong though, because there appear to be eight guards for every prisoner, and none of your fellow convicts want to help you. They don't shake you, however, because after all, you can snipe them with a stick. Perhaps if I had been wielding a cardboard tube things would have been more diffucult.
The rest of the game moves along in quite the same manner; you bolt through constricted, legoesque environments butchering your adversaries with a few more scripted moments transpiring, but not any as amusing as the one-man prison riot. Taking your Path of Vengence requires very little thought apparently - this is by no means complicated gaming. No real puzzles exist or even try to exist.
Run into a room, clear it out, laugh at the AI that runs right at you with a stick while you blaze an automatic weapon at his eyebrows. This continues to be the pattern for beating the game. They do make up for it though, with their ghostly ability to walk through walls, doors, and other solid objects without batting an eye. You'll be quite suprised when that happens, I assure you.
I had assumed we were passed the idea of goofy items in an FPS, but this game pays homage to side-scrolling action games of the past, providing you with chicken drumsticks and vodka as power ups. What can you gather from this? Sniper: POV attempts to be serious with its massive violence level, but remains a silly, feable attempt at innovation in the market.
The one thing I can like about it was the idea of the point-skill-system. For instance, the more you use a weapon the more accurate you get with it. It's a nice attempt, but fails to have any impact because you're going to use a given weapon for a given situation and not keep a conscious awareness of your skill level.
This is the part I just don't get. Mirage used the Lithtech Jupiter engine. Older Lithtech games kick Sniper: POV's lilly ass in the graphics department. The original Half Life using the Quake engine even beats this garbage. No One Lives Forever was done on an older Lithtech engine, and it was nicer.
Supporting details are as follows: Textures are bland and tiled over and over, water acts like gelatin, character models look like second-grade level artwork - that is, very strange and very blocky - animation is choppy, the colors were all out abused and neglected, and finally, the obscene amount of clipping in this game was frustrating to the extent that it will be responsible for the murder of several monitors.
Blood, oh the magical blood that hangs in suspended animation as if being held in place by imaginary shelves. The only visual feat accomplished in this game was that weapon models and the appendages touching them looked suprisingly decent.
Let's cover a final check on my grocery list of problems with this bi-polar shooter. Fifty percent of game characters get lip-synched while the remaining half get to talk through closed mouths. The ones that did get the treatment are terribly done...think of hearing a voice, and five seconds later the lips move. That bad, oh yes.
This brings us to the audio effects of this little gem. Voice-overs begin to touch on being decent, but poorly scripted and poorly acted lines make for cheesy action movie dialogue. You couldn't specially educate skills into these characters, I swear to you. "Drop that weapon". "What was that about a widgeon, officer?" Just like that.
Weapon sounds, shmepon sounds the developers said. You get a nausiated feeling of using a paintball marker in a firefight when shooting at things, and it gets a little discouraging to hear your full auto machine gun make pelting noises.
Music takes twists and turns, and the plot does not. This game's music gets intense and electrifying when nothing is happening. Fast beats while you reload in an otherwise empty room make for an awkward pause to try and rectify at least some sort of logic as to why the music is thumping while you twiddle your thumbs. Not an Oscar winning score either I guess.
It's low budget, and low fun. Yet another failed attempt to gain a name in the oversaturated FPS market, following in the footsteps of the recent Gore. At least Gore impressed the guy with spikey hair on Tech Tv. I wouldn't advise paying for this...I wouldn't advise taking it for free either. If you do feel the need to play this, I serverely doubt that you will feel the need to play it twice.
Put the box down, back away to the other end of the shelf, and pick up Deus Ex or something if you want an RPG element-injected first-person shooter. At lest it was innovative; still is actually.
I take back what I said about taking it for free. It would make an awesome Frisbee. I might have been less harsh had they used a relevant name. Tell me good sir, where I can find sniping in this title when it is so well camoflauged by running and gunning?