TF2: the Sniper

January 3rd, 2008

Now, back to the Sniper. Sure, everyone wants to play the Sniper. It's a class designed for the antisocial gamer. Sit on a hill, line up the scope, and nail someone who never saw it coming from half-a-mile away, right?

Not in this game. Most of the maps have you moving quickly, and at close-quarters. The Sniper's usual methods are actually a liability here. He needs to get solitary and keep his distance, and that's a hard thing to do in TF2.

Unlike most of the other classes, the Sniper doesn't seem to have a complementary class. That's because his most dangerous enemy is other Snipers. He comes in handy (and he can do a number on enemy sentries), but he'll find that most of his time is spent duking it out, Enemy at the Gates style, with other Snipers bent on taking him down.

The Sniper's life becomes not one of smug satisfaction, but of sheer paranoia. First off, he's got to use the scope, which means losing peripheral vision. I don't know how many times I was a split-second from a great kill-shot, only to die because I didn't hear a Spy coming up behind me. Dying that way stinks.

Then again, so does getting killed by the enemy Sniper you didn't see, after which the camera pans to his character waving and saying, "thanks for standing still!"

Sure, the guy's useful, but like everyone else, he's got his limits. As with most other videogames, the Sniper is devastating at distance, but not so much at close range. The subgun you're given as a backup is fairly underpowered; stick with the knife, as it's quite effective. Still, there's no reason you should be engaging within arms' length. There are other classes for that.

While we're talking about the Sniper, let's get one last thing straight. You only need one. Count 'em: one. More, and you've got guys with no targets looking for something to do. They get bored and they decide to go on the offensive. We all know what happens then.

Remember, high places and the battlements are the Sniper's feeding ground.

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