Tag: budget games

Marine Sharpshooter: One Budget FPS, One Mediocre Game.

I’m convinced no one wants to be the sniper in a video game. Yeah, there’s parts where they show that being a sniper is cool, but most of it involves walking around silently and shooting people at a distance with a bolt-action rifle. The only time I’ve ever really seen it work is something like Call of Duty 4‘s “All Ghillied Up” mission, and even that’s more of a stealth level than a sniping level.

I’ve played several games where sniping is the primary focus, such as Sniper Elite V2 or Sniper: Ghost Warrior, and most of the time it ends up being a fairly basic shooter with needlessly elaborate sniping mechanics. I don’t know why people keep making games based on this exactly, but much like they kept making sequels to the Sniper movies, there must be an audience for this stuff.

Today, I’m gonna look at one of those sniping games, and this time, it’s a bargain bin shooter, which tells me we’re in for some old-fashioned budget jank.

Not endorsed by Jack Bauer

Marine Sharpshooter is a budget FPS where sniping is the base mechanic. Despite having the “CTU” logo on top, you don’t play as Jack Bauer from the hit series 24, but instead a generic soldier dropped into certain exotic locales where you assassinate enemies, usually with sniper rifles.

The developer of this game was Jarhead Games, a master of making budget military FPSes, such as Navy SEALs: Weapons of Mass Destruction and Army Ranger: Mogadishu. The only other notable thing they made was NRA Gun Club, a target range game which is incredibly ironic considering the NRA was lambasting video games as an excuse for a mass shooter. I’ve played only one of Jarhead’s games before — the aforementioned Navy SEALs — and it wasn’t that interesting, so I don’t have high hopes for this one.

Wonder if I can get that skin for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive?

The game starts with a dramatic cutscene and our two heroes: A generic sniper and his spotter buddy, with an M4 assault rifle. They don’t give them names to start, so I’m gonna call them “John McSniperdude” and his teammate “David Spotterguy.” You play strictly as McSniperdude in this case, with Spotterguy being your wingman and occasional distraction.

What a good way to start your game, with a big load of nothing.

After a thrilling introduction where McSniperdude and Spotterguy arrive to Afghanistan by boat, our game begins. Compared to other Sniping-themed games I’ve palyed, sniping in this game is a bit unusual control-wise: You use the mouse wheel to zoom in and out of your scope. It takes a little getting used to, especially since I’m used to many other games allowing you to scope in with the right mouse button. I guess in the days before Call of Duty‘s ironsight modes got popular, this is an okay solution, but also probably difficult if your mouse doesn’t have a mouse wheel.

As you play, Spotterguy will tell you that there’s enemies in a certain direction, also highlighted on your radar above. In some cases, this is what you need to be able to even see enemies without getting shot a bunch. Since he’s your teammate, you have the ability to tell him to either attack only when shot upon, or just to attack anyone he sees. At some point, I just told my spotter to fire at will so I didn’t have to switch between weapons or no-scope enemies that surprise you at close range.

Our spotter is the master of blocking.

You can also have the spotter either hold a position or follow you around. I often played through the game having him follow me, but this lead to problems where he’d sometimes block a doorway, making it impossible for me to progress. Since he’s also your buddy, you have to protect him as well as complete your objective. If he dies, then McSniperdude commits suicide to mourn the loss of his buddy. At least that’s what it looked like, any time I failed the mission, my character just dies.