Don't let the name "Sniper Elite" fool you. The sniper rifle won't be the only ingredient in your arsenal. There's a silenced pistol for quiet kills, a selection of machine guns for when enemies rush in too near for an easy snipe, grenades to flush out stubborn foes, tripwires for laying deadly traps, time bombs for taking out pesky tanks and other obstacles, and even a rocket launcher for those hard to reach areas. Bandages and medkits will help you live through the effects of stray gunfire, but they won't make you bulletproof. Even lugging around all this army surplus, the most important equipment is still your own mind.
Offline or online, Sniper Elite isn't a game you have to play alone. Split-screen co-op allows you to experience all the missions of the single player campaign with a friend to watch your back, or watch your sniping skills close up if you put on friendly fire. If that wasn't enough, deathmatch supports up to eight online snipers in something that's different enough from the usual FPS fare to make it more than a simple distraction. Just like the other modes, the level of realism can be adjusted to make it a happy headshot fest, or a true test of the sniper elite.
"...the most realistic sniping system ever."
It's an intriguing advertising hook, and also something of a curse. Until we end up jacked into a simulated world controlled by computers using us as batteries, true realism in videogaming will never be a reality. Yet the more the developer offers, the more the player will expect, and the more discouraged he will be when it comes up short. Personally, I like the fact that a tank shell can't even put a dent in a wooden barricade when I'm the one hiding behind it. I'm not as thrilled by the fact that all enemies have eyes like eagles, and a soldier with a machine gun too far away for me to spot with the naked eye can kill me in three seconds. If that isn't annoying enough, if you miss a shot on an enemy, they might take cover and stay concealed for several minutes at a time. I've never been in a war, so I'm not sure if it's realistic or not, but one thing I know for sure is waiting that long for a chance at a shot is boring.
Sniper Elite is also a bit glitchier than I expect from console games. While the enemy AI is usually sharp, sometimes they just seem to forget what they're doing. Like a hostile tank rolling right past you, or a soldier who hurriedly takes cover with his back to you, so close you could tap him on the shoulder with the barrel of your rifle. Grenades don't quite follow the path of the throwing arc, and can even get stuck in walls. I've even seen the rare missing polygon, or gotten stuck on objects a few times, forcing me to wriggle my character around to get free. The low poly environments with their brown on brown low resolution textures don't help matters, especially when brown is the color of choice for the fashion conscious enemy soldier.
The sharp focus of Sniper Elite makes the ultimate decision an easy one. If you like sniping, buy this game. You'll enjoy it. Your friends will enjoy it. You'll make bets on who can snipe from the furthest away, or who will be the first to score a two for one (two heads, one bullet). If you've never been a big fan of zooming in just to take fire at the digital approximation of someone's noggin, then you're better off just passing on this one no matter how well put together it is. This one is for the sniper elite.