You find yourself behind enemy lines, you spot the glint from an enemy sniper rifle on the roof of a church, spotting an old abandoned war torn building you think to yourself “that’s a great vantage point for sniping” you make your way to the roof. You go prone, lying next to a dead soldier you shot from behind with your silenced pistol, you line up your shot, aiming slightly above your target to account for bullet drop, you also take into account wind direction and strength. You wait for the loud bang of thunder to hide your position and gently squeeze the trigger, your target drops dead, his comrades unaware they have just lost a member of their squad.
That paragraph pretty much sums up Sniper Elite V2. However, that doesn’t mean to say that the game is bad, not by any means. In fact, its a very good game.
Sniper Elite V2 sees you playing as an American sniper during the closing days of WW2 sent in to Berlin to stop the Russians recruiting top Nazi scientists. Obviously things don’t go to plan (they rarely do) and you’re forced to improvise as the mission changes. The story plays out very well, moves along nicely and evolves at a nice pace, never feeling far fetched or getting boring – in fact I’ve gone through the game twice now and I’d happily go through it again – the level design helps though, as they are all brilliantly designed with improvised barricades, blown up tanks and half destroyed buildings all giving you a real sense of being in war torn Berlin and of course providing excellent cover and vantage point’s for a lone sniper.
Each level starts off with you deep in enemy territory with a rifle, a sub machine gun and a pistol, to begin with you just have a relatively basic and weak set of weapons, but as you progress through the game you’ll unlock more powerful and longer ranged weapons. However the genius lies in the explosives you can carry, which includes things like trip mines, land mines and dynamite which you can use to aid your escape in a tricky situation or booby trap dead bodies so that when an enemy soldier walks over to check that his comrade is dead, he will blow up too. However that’s not always a good idea as it produces much unwanted attention so what you have to do is be stealthy which is what the games about anyway. Sniper Elite V2 rewards you for being stealthy and pulling off amazingly long ranged headshots – in fact when you do get that 250 metre headshot or any headshot or shot to vital organs your treated to a slow-mo of the bullet leaving the rifle heading towards your target and then an X-ray shot of the bullet entering, shattering the skull/arm/spine/leg going through organs like lungs, heart or kidneys and exiting the other side, and if your good and they’re lined up properly, into the head of the person behind! These kill-cams are brutally visceral and very satisfying but best of all, never get old.
The levels can at times feel a little slow paced just because your forced to walk slowly through each level – speed is a killer for the lone fragile sniper – luckily though, enemy guards move in fairly predictable patterns for the most part, and you can always lure them closer by throwing a rock, then pick them off as they go to investigate. And if you mask your gunshots with the sound of thunder or a bell ringing, you can pick off an entire squad without ever being seen.
However it’s not all long range shots and moving quietly here. Sometimes (when things go wrong) your forced to get up close and personal with the enemy soldiers as they storm your position and throw grenades towards you, and it’s here that the game becomes much less enjoyable as the enemies are deadly accurate with their guns at close range and they seem a bit spongy often needing the best part of half a magazine of bullets to bring down each guy, and as ammo for your SMG can be difficult to come by you’ll find yourself running away in that situation so you can live to fight another day. So I often found myself restarting checkpoints again and again just so I wouldn’t have to deal with enemies close up.
The AI is also not great when they’re forced to get up close and shoot you, especially as enemies seem content to just keep using the mounted machine gun (which can be a formidable foe in the right hands) despite the ever increasing pile of dead bodies hanging over the sandbags in front of the gun, or watching an enemy soldier walk over to a dead soldier – who he’s just watched get shot in the face – and just stand there wondering what’s going on, which ruins some of the realism, but if your good enough and stay hidden, you won’t have to deal with this too often.
The campaign is fairly lengthy, coming in at around 8 hours and the whole thing can be played co-operatively online. There is other online modes too including a horde type mode called kill tally, bombing run which sees 2 players working together to retrieve vehicle parts so you can get out of the area and Overwatch which is probably the most interesting mode of all and sees 2 players working together, one “spots” enemies while the other plays the sniper and picks them off one by one. However leaving out any form of competitive multiplayer I feel is a bit of a mistake as I think it would have been fun to have teams of snipers all trying to flank each other and not get seen.
Sniper Elite V2 is a game best enjoyed alone, laying low and picking off enemies stealthily is a lot of fun in this game, however poor AI when things get up close hampers the enjoyment a little but not enough to put me off playing it again.
Review Score : [starreview tpl=16] Title : Sniper Elite V2
Format : 360
Developer : Rebellion
Publisher : 505 Games
Release Date : May 4, 2012