Monday, May 15, 2017

It worked for me and that is what matters

I promised to talk about Sniper Elite 4 and now I finished it and I don't want to say about it. It has been years (YEARS!) since I attempting to write up honest reviews. One site folding and another just kicking me to the curb tends to dampen one's enthusiasm. In defense of the second site, I went back and read some of what I wrote for them and it was all shit. I deserved to get kicked to the curb. Due to either lack of skill or discipline I am not much for long form, in depth, 'informative' reviews. I am more of a hot take kind of guy (lazy) and have much more fun picking on bad games than extolling good ones (asshole).

This means that when I come across an OK game, a serviceable one that passes the time without raising my blood pressure, I don't know what to say about it. Sniper Elite 4, more so than its predecessors, is exactly that kind of game. The previous games managed to wear out their welcome before ending and this one did not. It was precisely the correct mix of sneaking and shooting, at least on the Normal difficulty, and was entertaining all the way to the end. That's good, right?

Okay, I am at work with nothing to do so I will force myself to dig deeper. Why did I enjoy Sniper Elite 4, an admittedly average game, and so quickly gave up on Hitman, an excellent one? Because Sniper Elite 4 let me play the way that I wanted to and when I fucked up, which was often, forced me to deal with the fallout and gave me the tools and leeway to do so. Hitman wanted me to play it like Hitman and when I was not good enough to play it as Hitman it killed me. No leeway, only death.

Hitman let me fail all over the place. It encouraged it. It even mocked me by extending a helping hand in the form of opportunities. The difference is that, when I made a mistake, the game ended. 47 cannot, be design, hold his own in a firefight. It is not that kind of game and will tolerate absolutely no foolishness on the part of the player. Learn by dying, noob.

Sniper Elite 4 had the same kind of hand holding in the form of targets on the map, only when I made a mistake, which was often, and all of the nazis in a quarter mile radius were alerted to my position, I was able to change genres, from sniping to third person cover based shooter, and deal with the mess that I had made. The game wanted me to play one way but allowed success in another just by making the shooting work (let's me honest, the actual shooting in Hitman is not very good) and by making the hero a little more robust.

This is a video game after all, not an assassin training simulator.

Hitman is a very good game if you want to play Hitman. If you don't want to play Hitman, or if you are not very good at playing Hitman, it could not care less. Sniper Elite 4 is a good enough game that will meet the player half way.


Viking is also good enough in that I have not played a Diablo-clone in a while. All mediocre games, all the time!

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