The Germans are done for.
The strength of the 3rd Reich has been broken, and every day the Russians are pushing further and further into Berlin, reducing the once grand capital to rubble. The son of a diplomat, it's the city that had occupied your youth, and now you return as a member of the OSS to see it in ruins. Dressed in the uniform of a German soldier and clutching a sniper rifle close to your chest, you return not to help bring the second World War to an end, but to prevent a new war from beginning. The Cold War.
The story is essentially you as a lone sniper behind enemy lines working to prevent the Russians from getting their hands on the atomic bomb the Germans have developed...and that's about all that's simple about Sniper Elite. This is not a game for people looking to run around and shoot enemies that blindly charge towards them with no thought to their own welfare. The soldiers here will hobble away if you shoot them in the leg, halt the flow of blood if you nick them in the arm, and even rush in to rescue a fallen ally rolling around in pain after receiving a lead enema. At the lowest difficulty setting, these enemies feel as if they graduated from the storm trooper school of precision aiming, but they'll still duck and cover, attempt to outflank you, and make best use of their surroundings to keep themselves alive. At the highest AI setting, a lone gunman is all it takes to send you back to loading your previous save.
Saving is handled similar to the Hitman series, where you can mark your progress anywhere and at any moment, but you only allowed to save a set amount of times per mission, depending on your difficulty level. When each mission has multiple objectives and sub-objectives, you're better off hording your saves until you pass through a trial you don't want to brave a second time. On the PS2, saving also takes long enough to make a cup of coffee, throw together a sandwich, and watch an episode of Red vs. Blue. Loading is far quicker, which you'll be doing plenty of, though don't always expect for enemies to appear in the same places or follow the same patterns. Most have multiple spawn points to keep things interesting.
The trick to staying alive is not getting shot.
Audio is more important here than in Dance Dance Revolution. Enemies can't move without a sound. Even unfriendly snipers will make a bit of noise when they're on the slither, sneaking up behind you flat on their stomachs, forcing you to glance around frantically to spot them before they line up their shot. Regular troops are noisier, while tanks are about as quiet as a pride of hungry lions in the middle of a feeding frenzy, but even they're possible to miss if you're busy making too much noise yourself. Crawl on your belly as you move from cover to cover, often wooden barriers and wreckage conveniently left in the streets, while leaning out with binoculars in hand to scan your surroundings in case of silent, stationary soldiers. Make sure to keep a secondary weapon ready for up close gun battles, and you just might survive.
Putting a bullet in someone's skull before they can get a shot off also helps. Rebellion gives you the option to put as much realism in your sniping as you can handle. It can be a simple matter of lining up the crosshairs and pulling the trigger, or you can adjust for gravity, wind, and even the beating of your heart before squeezing off a shiny messenger of death. All of this is done by adjusting a few notches on your targeting reticule, perhaps aiming a little high at far away enemies to counter the force of gravity, or a little to the left when caught in the midst of a heavy wind. It only takes a few seconds, but it isn't as easy as it looks under a hail of enemy gunfire. Quick and calm is the key to the perfect shot that will kick off an Enemy at the Gates inspired bullet cam straight to your opponent's brain case. Deadly crotch shots are also included.