Sniper Elite, the story of the Rebellion series

Sniper Elite, the story of the Rebellion series

Sniper Elite

The history of Sniper Elite begins in 2005 with the publication of the first chapter on PC, PS2, Xbox and later Wii. Developed by the English team Rebellion, the game takes up the mechanisms cleared up to that moment by the shooter genre, but giving us a third-person experience characterized by stealth elements and the possibility of making precision shots from a distance.

It is no coincidence that the protagonist of the adventure is an infallible sniper of German origin, Karl Fairburne, an OSS agent during the Second World War and charged with acting undercover, posing as a sharpshooter of the Nazi army to move through the streets of Berlin during the final stages of the conflict and prevent Germany's nuclear weapons from falling into the hands of the Russians.

A feat that is anything but simple, but not the first for the character created by Rebellion, stereotype of the determined soldier and impassive. The narrative of his career starts from what is practically the epilogue of the war, the battle of Berlin in 1945, but is reworked for the second episode and then proceeds backwards.

In Sniper Elite 3 we find, in fact, Fairburne struggling with the African campaign of 1942, while in Sniper Elite 4 the sharpshooter arrives in Italy to fight alongside the partisans in 1943. The last chapter of the series, Sniper Elite 5, instead tells of a mission to France in 1944 to prevent the Nazis from carrying out the mysterious Kraken Project. In the middle, the alternate history of the spin-off Zombie Army, now in its fourth iteration.

The origins

Sniper Elite, Karl Fairburne moves through the streets of Berlin When it made its debut, Sniper Elite introduced a plausible interpretation of the lone hero, which can do the difference in a world-wide conflict thanks to his extraordinary range of shooting skills and the ability to act silently on the battlefield, disguising the firing of his rifle in the chaos of bombing and blending into enemy ranks.

The level design of the debut chapter often appears too open and Karl "dances" in it, moving very quickly from one place to another and thus betraying an almost FPS setting. Those were the years of the first Call of Duty, Battlefield and above all of Half-Life 2: classics that inevitably influenced the work of Rebellion, which nevertheless managed to give its product a different and alternative personality.

Merit of that sniper rifle from which the protagonist never separates, which allows him to hit targets even from a great distance, but whose shots in this debut episode are not yet valued as we will see happen later: the camera follows the bullet trajectory when the shot is deadly and well placed, but the technologies available to Rebellion in 2005 are still immature.

Sniper Elite V2

Sniper Elite V2 Remastered, the protagonist lurking on of a palace As mentioned, on the occasion of the second episode the developers wanted to reinterpret the story of Karl Fairburne and the events that occurred during the battle of Berlin, eliminating the eriments to the Russian army and even the camouflage of the character among the German ranks. Thus, the adventure remains set in the capital of Germany during the final stages of the conflict, but sees the protagonist intent on eliminating a group of scientists responsible for the V-2 program: a missile that could change the fate of the war in extremis.

This is a plot that the franchise will resume on more than one occasion, playing the card of the mysterious backstories and situations that could have distorted the outcome of the war conflict, but of which an unknown hero, the whose feats are not recorded in the history books, he managed to take care of in time. Fairburne responds perfectly to this description and in Sniper Elite V2 he appears even more resolute: a war machine that moves like a shadow in the streets of a devastated Berlin, ringing spectacular shots from a distance to weaken the ranks of the Nazis and reach its own goal.

Released in 2012 and returned in 2019 with the remastered edition Sniper Elite V2 Remastered, the game undoubtedly has the merit of giving the shooting mechanics a renewed depth thanks to the introduction of concentration, which allows to make the aim more precise for a few moments and automatically adjust the shot to the distance and incidence of the wind, and to the spectacular X-ray Kill Cams, which show the dramatic consequences of the impact of the bullets on the body of our victims. >

Intermezzo in zombie sauce

Zombie Army 4: Dead War, a horde of zombies Several works, including in the videogame field, have tried to explore the esoteric implications related to the Third Reich of Adolf Hitler, who according to some rumors would have conducted research and experiments aimed at identifying any war resources in the world of the supernatural, see for example the fixation of the Fuhrer with the Holy Grail and the powers that the cup would have given to those had found it again.

Having a solid and well-tested third-person shooter system, in 2013 Rebellion therefore decided to explore the horror narrative genre and in particular the zombie theme, to give life to a disturbing spin-off of his series, Sniper Elite: Nazi Zombie Army. Set in an alternate timeline, the game sees Hitler resorting to a cursed ritual to bring his slain soldiers back to life and thus create an unstoppable army of the undead.

The saga, initially designed to the only PC platform but then also landed on consoles with the Zombie Army Trilogy and later with Zombie Army 4: Dead War, reinterprets the Sniper Elite formula including numerous tower defense-style situations, in which you have to defend yourself from endless hordes of undead using various weapons and explosives, accompanied by a synth-based soundtrack that pays homage to the horror classics of the 70s and 80s.

Sniper Elite 3

Sniper Elite 3 , Karl Fairburne in the background of a desert scenario The narrative space linked to the final phases of the Second World War with the first two episodes is exhausted, Sniper Elite III rewinds the tape of Karl Fairburne's exploits and takes us to 1942, with the American sniper who joins British troops in an attempt to stop the German commander Erwin Rommel and the Afrika Korps as part of the African campaign.

Again there is a mysterious plan involved that could change the balance of strength, but the game structure becomes more airy, in a sort of anticipation compared to the open maps that we will see from the fourth chapter. Hence, in the scenarios there are various objectives, mechanisms to be used to mask shotgun shots, sections in which to advance silently, knife in hand, and so on.

The spectacular X-ray Kill Cams find further space, becoming even more realistic and gruesome, while the gameplay can draw on a greater sense of freedom than in the past, which allows you to adopt different approaches and therefore eliminate enemies without ever being identified, indulge in some more lively sequence or proceed with weapons leveled, showing however the side to mechanisms from this point of view a bit uncertain.

Sniper Elite 4

Sniper Elite 4, the protagonist points the rifle towards an Italian town The expedient narrative of the Nazi secret plan is revived in Sniper Elite 4, but the setting in this case moves to Italy in 1943 and sees Karl Fairburne collaborating with the partisans in order to impose xing of documents relating to a very powerful German guided missile, thus preventing it from ever being launched against allied troops.

If on the narrative front the series does not make substantial progress, different is the discourse relating to the mechanics, which find full expression within much larger and more open scenarios, which alternate different situations and therefore allow you to make the most of the mechanics of long-range shots, but also any alternative approaches to missions, in particular the stealth element.

From this point of view, new characteristics related to climbing and the use of the knife are introduced, while some suggestive glimpses are the background to the action sequences and there is a further enhancement of the X-ray Kill Cams, true and its distinctive trademark for a series that, when it stays on the tracks that suit it best, is able to exploit its full potential.

Among strange b stripes and virtual reality

Strange Brigade, the four protagonists of the game Before publishing the last chapter of Sniper Elite, Rebellion has enriched the narrative universe of the series with two new spin-offs, namely Strange Brigade and Sniper Elite VR.

In the first case, the experience is that of a classic third person shooter, thus lacking the precision shots that made the saga famous but with adventure elements and environmental puzzles to solve. Among the protagonists of the game, set in the 1930s, we find Frank Fairburne, Karl's father and also an ace with a rifle.

As for Sniper Elite VR, this is the first virtual reality experiment for the series, developed by Just Add Water and with a different character: an elderly partisan who remembers the battles fought against the Nazis during the Second World War to free our country.

Sniper Elite 5

Sniper Elite 5, Fairburne moves a corpse in the background of Mont Saint-Michel Finally, let's move on to recent history with Sniper Elite 5, the latest chapter of the saga, published just a few days ago on PC, PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X | S and Xbox One. The scenario is the France of 1944 and we return to talk about Nazi secret weapons, in this case the Kraken Project: Karl Fairburne is tasked with finding out what it is and thwarting the new threat, but to succeed in the enterprise he will have to face nine missions particularly complex.

The idea was to further enrich the open formula of the fourth episode, thus introducing larger maps and with optional objectives that we can identify simply by exploring the levels far and wide, eliminating the enemies from the great distance using the usual expedients or shortening the distances to use the silenced pistol, the knife or, at worst, the machine gun.

Beyond the ziplines and the new surfaces on which to climb to access the buildings defended by Nazis, the most relevant innovations of this last adventure are structural: from the cooperative mode to the possibility of invading the games of the other players playing a German officer, passing through survival to be faced alone or with friends and the renewed competitive multiplayer challenges.

Variations on the theme that do not revolutionize the brand but have the undoubted merit of enriching the experience and its replay value ... waiting for the next mission.

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