Shatter Bones and Splatter Testicles in Sniper Elite VR – E3 2019 Preview

Whenever I think of Sniper Elite, the first thing that comes to mind is those signature Rebellion slow-motion bone crunching x-ray kill cams. The path of the bullet traced right into wherever you shot it, whether it’s shattering a femur, rupturing a spleen, or reducing an enemy’s testicles to something the consistency of a smoothie. When I heard that Sniper Elite was headed to VR, I just had to try it out. That immersive medium paired with what the series is easily best known for? Sniper Elite VR proves that the formula works, even if it took some tweaking to get it just right.

Sniper Elite VR isn’t a rehash of any particular game in the series, but a new one all its own. Armed with the PSVR’s Aim controller, I was able to hop right in and get to sniping. Set up on a small overpass above a city street, waves of Nazis poked out from alleyways, buildings and debris. I carefully took aim at each one of them and let loose a barrage of sniper fire. Feeling the connection between where I was physically aiming and the reaction of the enemy soldiers really created this visceral impact for each bullet. Headshots immediately incapacitated. Sending shard of metal into someone’s thigh sent them tumbling to the ground. Blasting their arms left their limbs useless. And yes, nailing that small testicle bullseye was exhilarating even as I could sense their embarrassment.

Sniper Elite VR E3 2019 Preview – A Virtual Sniper Scope

It puts its best foot forward to be just like those arcade shooting galleries with the screen set into the sniper scope. I smiled as I lined up each target, looked down the scope, and connected the shot, knowing that it was my own aiming skills that were making each pull of the trigger count. You don’t have to have an Aim controller to play though, and I was told that both the DualShock 4 and Move controllers work surprisingly well to still give that immersive feeling of being a sniper.

Sniper Elite VR is laden with tons of comfort options to make sure that players with any kind of VR legs can play. Can’t stand free movement? There’s a teleport system for you. Want that far more immersive feeling? You can turn those comfort restrictions off. VR developers are getting really smart about opening up their games to more people through these options and I was impressed at the suite of comfort options available just in this small demo session.

Of course, we can’t forget Sniper Elite’s main selling feature: that sweet slow-motion x-ray kill cam. Occasionally, you’ll get to watch as your shot tears apart the innards of that Nazi. Hit the head and you’ll see their skull fracture into little bits. Shoot their leg and you’ll see the thickest bone in the human body bend, crack, and shatter. Shoot them in the testicles, and oh boy, it’s a disturbing and cringe-inducing delight as those dangly bits are reduced to paste. It took some tweaking of how this mechanic works in the normal games, but the VR version still gives you that same exciting perspective without the nausea that might come with flying around the bullet as it takes flight.

I played the demo a couple of times, and the harder difficulty actually put some restrictions on me, like having wind and bullet falloff impact where my shot would land. It seems like the final game will have a lot of reasons to play, replay, and replay, not the least of which will be that satisfying splatter and crunch as the Nazi forces fall beneath your scope.