Back in 2005, Sniper Elite put players into the shoes of an elite sniper during the final days of World War II. Players found a unique simulated sniper experience unlike any other for the time. Rebellion is back once again to bring this sniper experience to next-gen platforms in Sniper Elite V2. As a reboot, Sniper Elite V2 provides a different plot, tweaked gameplay, and expands on the original idea of the Sniper Elite game. Therefore, does Sniper Elite V2 hit all its marks or will it miss completely?
Following the returning hero from the original Sniper Elite, Karl Fairburne, his mission sees him facing both Nazi and Soviet soldiers as he finds key individuals who are involved in the development of the V-2 ballistic missile. Karl is sent to prevent both sides from either gaining or eliminating evidence of the V2 project. The story might sound interesting at first, but in reality there is little to find interesting in this dry story. Most of the storytelling is told via loading screens as Karl Fairburne monologues his plans, actions, and personal insight for the current mission. There are small instances of cutscenes that explain the plot to a small degree, but most of the time those cutscenes end in an enemy ambush and a key person dead. It is a simple and safe plot that that flows to the very end, but doesn’t offer much of a unique or exciting experience.
While the story isn’t as great as other World War II games, gameplay is solid – for the most part. Sniper Elite V2 is a third person shooter with a major focus on stealth and tactical options. Using a variety of WWII-era weapons; like Springfield M1903, Welrod pistol, and the Thompson to name a few, along with booby traps like tripwire and mines, Sniper Elite V2 offers you a nice historical armoury to experiment with. It also uses realistic ballistics that factor into every shot made with a sniper rifle. Such factors involve bullet drop, wind strength, and heart rate – something you will have to take account in every situation before firing the first shot.
Every situation in Sniper Elite V2 is unique and fun to become involved in. Sniper Elite V2 will takes you across many locations within Berlin, Germany. Destroyed cities, top-secret bases, strongholds and more are just a few locations that you’ll visit, adapting to each environment and looking closely before making your next move. There are also some great set pieces, such as assassinating a Nazi general to destroying a top-secret base. You’ll find plenty of variety in each situation.
The most interesting mechanic in Sniper Elite V2 has to be the X-Ray kill cam. The kill cam activates when an extreme shot is made – such as hitting bones or vital organs. The bullet goes into slow motion and, once it hits the target’s body, the human anatomy is shown while the bullet makes its merry way through the body. This brutal X-Ray kill cam shows the damage it causes to organs and bones in an interesting, and particularly awesome, fashion. There will be times when unexpected, yet awesome X-Ray cams happen, such as shooting the balls off a Nazi soldier or a bullet passing through two enemies and hitting a grenade that kills five more. This feature is like a sniper montage waiting to happen.
There are also four modes of online co-op play for those snipers who wish to team up. Campaign allows you to play through the story with a friend; Kill Tally is a survival style mode where waves of enemies storm your position; Bombing Run is a race against the clock as players search for vehicle parts to repair a vehicle before a bombing run happens; Overwatch sees you and another player working together as a sniper and operative, The sniper will provide covering fire, while the operative does the objective. Sniping with a friend really does make Sniper Elite V2 a better experience, especially on the sniper elite difficulty setting when communication is needed.
While Sniper Elite V2 offers a great simulation sniping experience with interesting bells and whistles, like the X-ray kill cam and co-op, there are some frustrating and annoying problems. On the lower difficulties, the enemy AI is downright dumb. So if you want that stealth and tactical aspect, play on the sniper elite setting. In co-op, the x-ray kill cam is disabled, which sucks because it would have been great to do a sync shots with your friend and view the brutal damage that you and your partner caused. There are a limited number of co-op maps to play with Kill Tally, Overwatch, and Bombing Run which makes these modes a little stale after a few runs.
Presentation wise, Sniper Elite V2 is ok in graphics and sounds. Graphics look outdated from both an environment and character model standpoint; weapons on the other hand look great with impressive detail, along with every bullet shot during the x-ray kill cam. The VO is ok with Karl sounding bored during his monologue speech during the loading screen. The soundtrack offers orchestral tunes during both stealth and action sequences, but does little to change the variety of tunes so get ready to hear the same music over again.
Between Sniper Elite V2 and Sniper: Ghost Warrior the two sniping games of this generation, Sniper Elite V2 is so far the best simulation sniping game on the market for sniper enthusiast. Offering players a great variety is missions during World War II with interesting features like the x-ray kill cam feature, co-op, and realistic ballistics. Sniper Elite V2 is a full package for those looking for a realistic simulation sniping game. There are problems to be found, like dumb AI on the lower difficulty settings, disabled x-ray kill cam during co-op, limited maps for co-op play, and a story is not as interesting as other titles. Overall, Sniper Elite V2 will please those who are looking for a realistic simulation set during World War II.
Final Score: 3.5/5