One of the big AAA virtual reality (VR) titles to arrive this year for major headsets was Rebellion’s Sniper Elite VR. It’s now a couple of months since launch and the development teams – which includes Coatsink and Just Add Water – have released the first major update for the shooter adding new features and plenty of refinements.
The new patch has arrived today for Oculus Quest, PlayStation VR and PC VR headsets, rolling out quality-of-life improvements that players have been requesting. Some of the standout additions include custom difficulties allowing snipers to select options to turn on and off aim assist, bullet drop and bullet wind.
New vignette options provide refined tweaking whilst the ability to adjust weapon alignment means that players should find a setup that suits their particular play style. On the subject of guns Sniper Elite VR now has official support for ProTubeVR gunstocks plus if you want to make the gameplay even more immersive bHaptics’ Tactsuit X40, Tactosy for arms and Tactal for head all work.
PC players also get a range of visual improvements with extra graphics options added for FXAA, MSAA, SSAA and Lens Flares. These will all affect performance so you’ll need a high-end PC to use them. To see all the improvements the changelog can be found over on Steam.
Reviewing Sniper Elite VRback in July, VRFocus said: “So was Sniper Elite VR worth the anticipation and wait? Most definitely. It’s not without issues trying to find that balance between being a fun experience for all whilst giving VR veterans a videogame they can really get stuck into. When you do get into it though, Sniper Elite VR becomes a thoroughly engrossing VR shooter.”
VRFocus will continue its coverage of Sniper Elite VR, reporting back with further updates.
When it comes to a lot of virtual reality (VR) shooters the tendency is to go big or go home, making you feel like you’re Rambo running around a jungle with a massive 50 calibre machinegun on your hip – and that’s even with realistic physics. That can be plenty of fun, yet if you’re looking for something a bit more intense where you’ve had to dive for cover because you’ve missed a shot, alerting the enemy and are now fumbling a reload on your bolt action rifle, then Sniper Elite VR is where it’s at.
Rebellion’s Sniper Elite series is well known for its action-focused gameplay with a dabble of realism thanks to its WWII setting. And Sniper Elite VR is no different, this time dropping you into Sicily as an Italian resistance fighter trying to free his home from the scourge of the Nazi’s. So the entire single-player campaign is one long tale being reminisced by this unnamed sniper as if he were reading a story to his grandchild.
Of course, this means you’re going to be doing a fair amount of sniping, taking your time to line up shots and whittle down the enemy forces whilst trying to remain a ghost. Developed by Just Add Water, it’s easy to tell the studio has put significant effort into the sniping mechanics, from the ballistic physics to the manual reloading the sniper rifles are certainly the star of the show. They all have the same blot action to them which can be finicky at first but you do get into a rhythm after a while. Even so, this does mandate a particular tempo to the gameplay because you’re not running in guns blazing, picking your spot and carefully selecting each target, really immersing into the experience.
All the other weapons felt very much secondary, whether that’s the SMG’s, the shotguns or pistols. They all maintain those realistic reload mechanics and when particular levels get a bit enclosed and narrow can come in use, but even then the temptation to use the rifle remains. Unfortunately, whilst there are a number of sniper rifles to play with they all feel virtually the same. The only one which stood out was a silenced version available later on, taking all the challenge out of being as sneaky as possible.
Immersion is key to all VR titles, especially if you’re WWII with realistic weapons and physics. Sniper Elite VR, however, toys with this aspect in such a way that at times you can become truly engrossed then jolted back to reality mostly by the settings you select. There are a wealth of options available and it can take a little while to settle on a nice balance, setting up Sniper Elite VR to be as realistic as possible or a complete arcade-style experience.
For instance, right out the box, the HUD settings can get real annoying, completely distracting you from the gameplay. During missions you’ll get objective markers pop up, a noise indicator to muffle your gunshots or the save location. They are useful if you really need them but having white icons constantly appearing does feel quite antiquated. Thankfully they can all be switched off. Another feature you can increase or decrease is the iconic X-Ray Kill-Cam the series is known for. Utterly brutal and visceral in the standard flat game, the VR version ups that by a factor of ten, as you can lean in and briefly look around during the few seconds it runs. When you’re nestled in a tower picking off enemies it can get a bit much on the higher settings, constantly pulling you in and out. It is completely comfortable though.
There were some other aspects that didn’t always sit right for VR. The manual save points were great yet they’d always swap to a separate saving screen which became quite disjointing. And the body holster became way too busy once fully loaded with two weapons over each shoulder, two on the chest and then an assortment of grenades and other explosives, occasionally grabbing the wrong one during a firefight as they are fairly close. With all the physical gameplay built into the guns and holster system, the environment itself didn’t provide much in the way of interaction. Apart from ammo to pick up and explosive boxes, all the bunkers, offices and bases had lots of items to set the scene without having that all-important presence.
Sniper Elite takes place across 18 missions which offer the usual selection of protection and infiltration style objectives. Most of the maps tend to be of a decent size with some of the larger ones allowing you to be a bit more creative. For the most part, their linear structure means that most have key positions to move between so don’t have complete flexibility when it comes to hunkering down. There’s also some notable repetition and padding to the gameplay structure, as earlier levels are used later on, just from a different perspective. You also need to unlock later missions by collecting enough stars, forcing you to replay previous levels rather than being able to run through the entire campaign in one shot.
Another nod to its arcade-focused gameplay, each level can award you three stars. These are gained by completing mission-specific parameters or simply scoring enough points. So you’re not just killing and then moving on, as you’ll gain bonuses for headshots, distance, remaining unseen and killstreaks. In addition to the stars, there are also numerous collectables hidden within each stage, increasing that replay factor for those that like to uncover everything.
A quick note when it comes to the PlayStation VR version. While most of the review was on PC, testing the PlayStation VR edition of Sniper Elite VR did bring up some interesting variances. These were all due to the controller input. Suffice it to say the DualShock 4 controller was less than adequate, just don’t even bother as it ruins the experience. PlayStation Move is supported so you can manually reload. However, movement is via the face buttons which aren’t great for stealthy wandering through Nazi fortifications. If you’re picking up Sniper Elite VR for PlayStation VR you need the Aim controller. On the downside it automates the reload process making rapid killing very easy, whilst the upside is a far more dependable control method.
So was Sniper Elite VR worth the anticipation and wait? Most definitely. It’s not without issues trying to find that balance between being a fun experience for all whilst giving VR veterans a videogame they can really get stuck into. When you do get into it though, Sniper Elite VR becomes a thoroughly engrossing VR shooter as you read the environment, study enemy movements and take that vital long-range shot. Doing that continually over the 7+ hour campaign seems very repetitive but lining up that perfect shot never is.
As one of VRFocus’ most anticipated virtual reality (VR) titles of 2021, expectations for Sniper Elite VR have been high since its unveiling back in 2019. A combined effort between Rebellion, Just Add Water and Coatsink, this week they’ve announced that the iconic sniping franchise will be heading to most VR headsets next month.
Sniper Elite VR has been built specifically for VR rather than porting one of the previous editions over, whilst the narrative stays within the franchise as it’s set prior to Sniper Elite 4. The 18-mission, single-player campaign places you in the shoes of an Italian partisan during WWII, helping his fellow countrymen deal with the Nazi’s. Each mission is told through the recollection of his harrowing memories.
Just like the rest of the series, Sniper Elite VR has been built for action as well as realism with an arsenal of weapons at your disposal. While you can always choose to have a sniper rifle by your side, missions also allow you to mix things up with SMGs, pistols, shotguns, grenades and explosives depending on the situation, all authentic to the era. Naturally, this wouldn’t be a Sniper Elite videogame without notorious X-ray Kill-Cam, adding a visceral view of your devastating shots.
The teams have ensured Sniper Elite VR should be as comfortable as possible for most players by providing a suite of locomotion options. From continuous locomotion for the most immersive experience to the ever comfortable teleportation, you’ll be able to tweak the settings to comfortably outmanoeuvre enemy troops and vehicles.
It seems like a long time ago since VRFocusfirst demoed Sniper Elite VRtwo years ago during the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) 2019, suitably impressed by what was shown so early on. Just like the demo, the PlayStation VR version will support the PlayStation Aim controller for natural rifle-wielding as well as PlayStation Move which will provide realistic weapon reloading.
Sniper Elite VR will see a multiplatform launch for PlayStation VR, Oculus Quest and Rift, HTC Vive and Valve Index on 8th July 2021. Check out the new gameplay trailer below, and for further updates on the title, keep reading VRFocus.
There were a few good virtual reality (VR) games at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) 2019 last month, and one of VRFocus’ favourites was Sniper Elite VR. In development by Rebellion – the British studio which owns the franchise and the team behind VR title Battlezone – Sniper Elite VR is currently in an early stage of development so VRFocus caught up with Assistant Head of Design Steve Bristow to find out more.
Three months ago Rebellion released a video featuring CEO Jason Kingsley, who made several announcements regarding the Sniper Elite franchise. The VR version will be similar in design to Sniper Elite 4 (the most recent installment) set in the same Mediterranean conflict in Italy. Rebellion is working with indie studio Just Add Water (Oddworld, Gravity Crash) on the project, with the title getting its own unique storyline.
Set to feature new maps and an array of authentic WWII era weaponry, from sniper rifles to sub-machine guns and pistols, Sniper Elite VR will also include a famous staple of the series, the iconic X-Ray Kill Cam sequences. VRFocus managed to see some of this in action thanks to Rebellion taking an early demo to E3 2019, showcasing the title on PlayStation VR using a PlayStation Aim controller (the videogame will also support Oculus Rift and HTC Vive headsets).
In VRFocus’ initial assessment the preview noted: “From start to finish Sniper Elite VR certainly impressed, from the gun handling to the movement and visual design. It honestly didn’t feel as early in development as Rebellion was claiming it was, which certainly bodes well for the final product.”
After the demo, Bristow was on hand to answer a few questions regarding the development of Sniper Elite VR and what fans can expect to see (spoiler, he doesn’t mention a release date) including the various other control methods outside of PlayStation Aim (which felt very natural).
Rebellion’s Sniper Elite series is a fairly iconic franchise, sending players back in time to World War 2 to sneak around battlefields and war-torn cities picking off enemies with precision accuracy. The prospect of a virtual reality (VR) version was certainly an exciting one when the studio revealed development plans a few months ago. With the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) 2019 taking place this week Rebellion brought a very early, pre-alpha build along for attendees to demo, and VRFocus can confirm it’s already looking good.
Generally when a studio pre-warns that a build is very early – possibly too early for demonstration – VRFocus usually expects to find a bug filled experience that’s extremely rough around the edges. This just wasn’t the case when it came to Sniper Elite VR, actually surprising how comfortable and smooth the 10-minute demo in fact was.
Demoed using PlayStation VR, Sniper Elite VR fully utilises the PlayStation Aim controller and felt like a natural fit for the videogame. Rebellion has confirmed the title will also support PlayStation Move and DualShock 4 – as well as the relevant controllers on other headsets like Oculus Rift and HTC Vive – but for a first-person shooter (FPS) like Sniper Elite VR having a gun peripheral certainly helps that sense of immersion.
The brief demo featured a sequence involving a roadblock in an Italian town, with enemy forces tending to control most of the lower ground with a few sporadically place higher up. Naturally, as a sniper the gameplay involved being positioned on the top of walls or in the remains of attics, peering out through roof debris. Visually, the environment was suitably packed with details, crumbling houses, destroyed vehicles, bomb craters and more. This once peaceful, idyllic town was now a battlefield and impressively felt so.
Movement was completely free locomotion, offering wide-ranging options as to where to place yourself when firing off a few shots. Crouching behind walls or steel sheets, after one shot the enemy forces soon know your location, making subsequent shots all the more difficult.
If you’ve ever played any of the Sniper Elite series then the VR version will feel right at home, just even more realistic. Popping heads – where else are you going to aim for? – isn’t too difficult yet made all the easier thanks to a focus mode which zooms in that little bit further whilst painting a red diamond around the enemy’s head.
But this wouldn’t be Sniper Elite if there weren’t the X-Ray Kill Cam sequences. They are well and truly in there and are even more brutal (and satisfying than ever). Rebellion was keen to ensure these sequences weren’t jarring in any way, and seem to have effectively done so. The X-Ray Kill Cam actives randomly, pulling you out of the first-person character viewpoint and into a brief close up for a couple of seconds, all very smooth and suitably graphic.
From start to finish Sniper Elite VR certainly impressed, from the gun handling to the movement and visual design. It honestly didn’t feel as early in development as Rebellion was claiming it was, which certainly bodes well for the final product. Sniper Elite VR is definitely on VRFocus’ list for top VR titles of E3 2019.
It’s the first day of the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) 2019 and Rebellion has begun revealing details regarding Sniper Elite VR. First revealed back in March alongside a bunch of announcements regarding the Sniper Elite franchise, Rebellion has released the first trailer for the upcoming title.
Sniper Elite VR has been developed in partnership with Just Add Water, taking players to Italy during World War 2. Set prior to the events of Sniper Elite 4, the VR experience will feature a brand new story for fans of the franchise to enjoy.
A pure single-player experience, you fight for the Italian resistance to rid Sicily of the Nazi U-boat menace, taking on missions across brand new Italian maps. With an array of authentic World War 2 weaponry to hand including sub-machine guns and pistols (not just sniper rifles), you’ll have complete freedom of movement to employ stealth and tactics as you see fit.
The series is known for its realistic bullet physics and those same features will return in Sniper Elite VR. As will the iconic X-Ray Kill Cam sequences which showcase some brutal deaths. These have been entirely rebuilt for the VR version Rebellion has confirmed.
Initially confirmed for PlayStation VR with support for both PlayStation Move and PlayStation Aim controllers, Sniper Elite VR will also support Oculus Rift and HTC Vive headsets, available through SteamVR and Viveport.
As the trailer showcases Sniper Elite VR will be completely in first-person, and not on-rails (the segment shown using PlayStation Aim demonstrates teleportation mechanics). Environments include airstrips, underground bunkers, and picturesque Italian villages.
Even though the studio is famous for the Sniper Elite series, when it comes to VR Rebellion made a significant impact back in 2016 with the release of Battlezone. Since then the studio also helped to publish Dream Reality Interactive’s stylish puzzle title Arca’s Path last year.
Rebellion hasn’t suggested when a launch window may occur, but during E3 2019 this week the studio will be giving select attendees a chance to go hands-on with the title. VRFocus will, of course, be one of those, so look out for our coverage later in the week.
Don’t forget, if there wasn’t anything that took your fancy this week there’s always last week’s listings on The VR Job Hubto check as well.
If you are an employer looking for someone to fill an immersive technology related role – regardless of the industry – don’t forget you can send us the lowdown on the position and we’ll be sure to feature it in that following week’s feature. Details should be sent to Peter Graham (email@example.com).
We’ll see you next week on VRFocus at the usual time of 3PM (UK) for another selection of jobs from around the world.
British developer and publisher Rebellion has a wide selection of videogame IP’s under its belt, best known within the virtual reality (VR) industry for its tank shooter Battlezone. Another of the studios’ famous IP’s is the Sniper Elite series, of which Rebellion is working on four new projects, one that just so happens to be in VR.
In a wide-ranging announcement that covered four titles, Rebellion’s CEO Jason Kingsley, briefly mentioned that the team are working on a VR version similar to Sniper Elite 4, the most recent release in the series, set in the same Mediterranean conflict. Being developed in partnership with indie British studio Just Add Water – known for their work on the Oddworld and Gravity Crash series – the title (at present) looks like its being developed exclusively for PlayStation VR and the PlayStation Aim controller.
From the looks of the short video clip, development seems to be well underway, with Kingsley refraining from revealing any further information. More details he said would be released later this year.
As for the other announcements, Rebellion is now working on a sequel to Sniper Elite 4, with more details to come in 2020. There’s going to be a Sniper Elite V2 Remastered version coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC and Nintendo Switch in 2019, with enhanced graphics, 4K resolution and HDR display, new playable characters, a brand new photo mode, expanded online multiplayer for up to 16 combatants, as well as all the content ever released for the title.
As an added bonus for Nintendo Switch fans Sniper Elite 3 Ultimate Edition will be coming to the console, with the entire videogame and all of its DLC in one package, plus Switch-exclusive local wireless multiplayer and motion controls.
That’s is of course if Nintendo Switch owners can tear themselves away from the new Nintendo Labo: VR Kit which is due to arrive next month. Turning the portable console into a VR viewer through the magic of cardboard, the kit is due to launch on 12th April, for £79.99 GBP.
As more details are released regarding the VR version of Sniper Elite, VRFocus will keep you updated.
After covering Dream Reality Interactive’s debut virtual reality (VR) Arca’s Path VR fairly extensively since its first reveal in May, VRFocus is now glad to see that launch day has arrived and with it a shiny new trailer showcasing the puzzle platformer.
Supporting PlayStation VR, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and Oculus Go, Arca’s Path VRtakes the gameplay style of classics like Marble Madness and updates it for VR headsets. Featuring a dark storyline where you play a girl tricked by an evil witch, you’ve been turned into a ball and must navigate levels in a bid to free yourself and return home.
There are 25 labyrinthine levels to cross, each inundated with various paths, platforms and other obstacles to navigate. To do this, Dream Reality Interactive has employed a gaze-based control mechanism, meaning you just need to look where you want to go. This allows for not only intuitive gameplay but easy control and a comfortable VR experience for those new to the technology.
As you’d expect from a launch video the studio has saved the best to last, displaying a greater range of levels and the puzzles that players will encounter. While the screenshots make Arca’s Path VR look like a serene puzzle experience the video demonstrates that isn’t the case, with some hectic looking moments trying to navigate the ball in the right direction.
Arca’s Path VR is available now on all the relevant headset stores. For any further updates in the future, keep reading VRFocus.
Tomorrow will see the launch of Dream Reality Interactive’s Arca’s Path, in conjunction with Rebellion. To celebrate the big day VRFocus has 10 codes available for our lucky readers to win, so you can enjoy the puzzle madness that the studio has in store.
If you’ve not been following VRFocus’ coverage of Arca’s Path then continue reading. The videogame is a dark fairytale puzzle experience set within crystalline landscapes, where players control a ball through 25 labyrinthine levels, using only their gaze to intuitively lead the character’s sphere through the maze and out the other side.
Last month VRFocus released its second preview for Arca’s Path, finding that: “The videogame has been designed to be challenging but in enjoyable bite-sized chunks. dRi is ready to accept that VR hasn’t yet matured to the point where a mass market audience would happily spend hours at a time wearing an HMD, and while Arca’s Path will most definitely be enjoyed by the core videogame demographic it’s clearly positioned as an experience that anyone can enjoy.”
And so onto the competition. VRFocus has 10 codes available, 5 for Steam (compatible with HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and Windows Mixed Reality headsets, and 5 for PlayStation VR (European codes only). All you need to do is Follow us on Twitter and Retweet this tweet stating which platform you’d prefer. The competition will be open for 24 hours, with winners notified once Arca’s Path has launched.