Sunday, November 27, 2022

First Play Review - Sniper: Art of Victory [2008]

I heard good things about Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2 even as a relatively lower budget game than I'm used to and was waiting for it to go on sale to purchase. I was fortunate enough to get it and it's two predecessors Sniper: Ghost Warrior and this game bundled together for €0.95. While I'm not expecting much from Ghost Warrior, I was expecting even less from the very first game in Polish outfit City Interactive's long running series. I do look at other reviews for games before I buy them just to get a vibe but as this was essentially 32 cents, I simply installed and tried it before reading anything.

What was not promising was wherever video intro technology being used to display the opening logo or cutscene didn't show for me. I heard the narration but I got a 1024x768 blank screen before the main menu. Not a good start, but the game was made for Windows XP so... Changing the resolution involved editing a config file in the game's directory. Once that was done I was on the right track and I can safely say I has no other technical issues beyond that. All the issues I did have were with the gameplay itself.

Sniper: Art of Victory is clearly a low budget FPS which favours the sniper rifle as the base weapon and puts you in the shoes of a Red Army sniper tasked with various missions on the Eastern front in WWII. The graphics would have already been dated looking in 2008 when compared to the likes of Far Cry 2 or Battlefield: Bad Company 2 that were released in the same year. City Interactive however, were only just then trying to level up from the bargain bin low budget games tier at the time of release so I was willing to ignore graphics if the gameplay was good. Spoiler alert: It wasn't!

The actual sniping was neat enough, the game takes account of wind, your breathing, bullet drop etc. which is certainly not the norm in most FPS. Unfortunately the enemies you are actually shooting at are are what ruined the experience. The AI was shockingly bad, they were either dumb as a brick and stood motionless as shots were going off nearby or they were magically endowed with the power to see you even if you were prone or in cover. I was on board with the fact that you alert a camp full of guards once you fire the first shot, but I was not on board with the entire camp firing accurately on your position (with machine guns that should be relatively out of accurate range) before anyone could have seen your muzzle flash? No! Absolute nonsense! The credits list four play-testers who I must conclude were drunk while testing.

I shot this Kraut several minutes ago...

The sound was generic and passable but the voice work was a shambles. Your character doesn't speak much but when he does your voice is that of an American sounding stock voice artist reading the lines emotionlessly, not even a fake Russian accent attempt. I stuck it out for about 90 minutes before I got stuck in scenery and was then killed jumping off the roof of a shed. Something I've done in real life without injury, but a death sentence for a Red Army sniper apparently.

There was only a handful of good shooters out in 2008. Far Cry 2, Battlefield: Bad Company 2 and Call of Duty: World at War. Actually I didn't even play World at War because I was still playing some Crysis, Half Life: Episode 2 and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare from the previous year. All games mentioned I have and will gladly play again today. But if Sniper: Art of Victory had somehow found it's way to me then I can safely say I wouldn't have been installing it today.

Final Verdict: An interesting idea that was seemingly done better three years earlier by Rebellion with Sniper Elite. Just because this can still be played doesn't mean it should be. So don't. Ever!

Technicals: 1.5 hours playtime through Steam using a Nvidia 3070Ti @ 3440x1440 @ 175Hz with max settings on Windows 11. A DirectX 8 game, it forces 60FPS as a cap. Windows HDR provided no enhancement.

Bugs: Blank screen on startup until menu. Resolution needs to be manually edited in config. AI is just incompetently coded as opposed to bugged.

Sniper Art of Victory is only available from Steam for €2.99 when not in a sale. Review copy purchased from Fanatical (with both Sniper: Ghost Warrior and Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2) for €0.95 in December 2018.


  •     Sniper: Art of Victory [2008]
  •     Sniper Ghost Warrior [2010]
  •     Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2 [2013]
  •     Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 [2017]
  •     Sniper: Ghost Warrior Contracts [2019]
  •     Sniper: Ghost Warrior Contracts 2 [2021]

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