Rebellion’s Sniper Elite series of third-person shooters has always felt like a bit of a scrappy underdog – though never blessed with the budget of blockbuster AAA games, they’ve always been great fun, with an awful lot of opportunity for creative stealth and unbelievably satisfying sniping action, thanks to the ludicrously detailed, slow motion x-ray kill-cam that kicks in when a bullet penetrates a Nazi. The resulting gore and organ destruction never seems to get old, and has continued to be the big selling point for the Sniper Elite games over the course of four entries – as well as the four titles in spin-off series Sniper Elite: Zombie Army, which often take a more action-oriented, luridly-coloured, Hammer Horror approach to the sniping action.

The newly released Sniper Elite VR (available now on Oculus devices, PSVR and Steam) is definitely on the more traditional side of the fence for the series, however, with a campaign taking place in Italy during World War 2. Having only played the first few missions, I can’t comment on the game as a whole, but I can tell you that the kill-cam works a treat in VR – with options to reduce the motion for comfort, as the bullet tracking familiar to fans of the standard Sniper Elite games could well cause motion sickness for many players in VR, myself included. Not only that, but the more tactile gun wielding and even the physically involving reloading mechanics have been beautifully implemented, making everything feel incredibly immersive. Even just the action of bringing the scope up to your eye to look through it feels so much more involving than it does in the standard games.

The general narrative – with your character remembering his time in the war, and therefore the main action sequences, as flashbacks – isn’t quite so convincing during the sequences I’ve tried, however. Mostly this is due to the fact that your character is rooted to the spot, just disembodied hands and a weird placing of the chair he’s supposedly sitting on breaking the immersion somewhat – and it’s a shame that this is the first thing you experience in-game, rather than the much more tactile and involving action of the main stages.

With eighteen campaign stages, plenty of collectables and numerous difficulty levels to play through, it might be a while before my full review is ready – but it already looks like Sniper Elite VR has got the basics absolutely right in terms of its mechanics – and the Nazi-sniping is just as satisfyingly crunchy and impactful as it is in the standard, non-VR games in the series, if not even more so in glorious, all-encompassing virtual reality. Seeing hearts, lungs, skulls and testicles gorily exploding right in your face isn’t going to lose its appeal any time soon.

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