Sniper Elite V2
Developer: Rebellion Developments
Publisher: 505 Games
Platforms: PS3 (reviewed) Xbox 360, PC
Release Date: May 4 2012
Price: $49.86 Available here
Sniper Elite V2 touted as the sequel to Rebellion Developments highly acclaimed Sniper Elite is more a remake than a second game in the series. The game aims to capture the intensity of covert warfare and the satisfaction of dispatching targets from afar with impunity. Does it achieve this aim? Keep your head down and your eyes peeled for Nazi’s while I give you the Intel.
We reprise the role of long range brain surgeon and American Officer of Strategic Services Karl Fairborne. Deployed behind enemy lines in Berlin our mission is to eliminate or retrieving officers and scientists who were involved in Germany’s V2 rocket project as the US seeks that technology for potential future warfare and has no intention of sharing.
Sniper Elite V2 captures the desolation and bleakness of environments torn by war, tanks burst through walls, its rare to see a structure that isn’t Swiss cheesed with numerous holes and rubble lines the streets providing much needed cover. Soldiers are faithfully represented and with the game’s x-ray bullet impact feature including bullet cam so we can watch our special delivery in flight, soldiers are realistically and viscerally depicted with excellent damage models, rag doll physics and depending on where the shot lands the player can be treated to a full body x-ray view of a spine shattering or vital organs imploding (particularly wince worthy for the guys as there is something blood curdling about watching a testicle or two explode)
The Audio is part of what makes Sniper Elite V2 the perfect balance between building-top long range god and sweating bullets, nail biting, heart pumping stealth em up. When perched and ready to strike we scope up and instantly you’ll hear the deep breath’s of Karl Fairborne (you) trying to line up the shot, then as we hold our breath to steady our aim a heartbeat starts to pump and the controller vibrates in time and slowly gets faster as it becomes more and more difficult to hold that breath. Music is subtle and sets the tone as you sneak but get discovered and the music becomes as frantic as we are. Shots ring out loud and proud and German’s or Russian’s bark commands as they search for you. This is intense immersive audio at its finest.
The game aims to make you live and feel what it is to be a sniper and it delivers, find a perch and expertly dispatch your enemies and you feel a sense of untouchable godhood but start to miss or fail to scout the area with your binoculars beforehand (marking every soldier in the area for future reference) and “oh that’s just 5 guys” can turn into “omgwtfsomanyarrrrrrrrrrgh” and you’ll find you’re just a frail meat bag like the rest of us.
Sniping is the primary aspect of the game but there are times where you’ll have to move to different objectives by throwing rocks to distract guards, sneaking up behind enemies and dispatching them with a quick snap of the neck or prep areas with explosives on bridge supports or roadside rubble to set off later when the tanks or convoys arrive. My personal favourite aspect other than sniping was rigging land mines to bodies for that special are you ok buddy? KABOOM or stringing out tripwires so that anyone flanking or sneaking up behind me had a nice trip and learned to fly the hard and in a million pieces way.
Missions are very thinly briefed with your character Karl Fairborne talking about his next overall objective, the level begins and we’re in another bleak war torn town or city with a single objective which once completed yields a checkpoint and will reveal the next objective. Other than your mission the game encourages “appropriating” gold bars and wine and lists how many you can find in each mission and in some missions you’ll find new weapons to replace your sniper rifle, assault rifle or silenced pistol.
Sniper Elite V2 can be played on numerous difficulties and each ramps up the realism of using a sniper rifle and enemy reactions going from take a breath, point, press button and win to taking into account gravity with an indicator to show where the bullet will go, to taking all the training wheels off and dealing with windspeed, gravity, distance and enemies that realistically spot and eliminate you with minimal misses.
If you don’t fancy the lone wolf experience the singleplayer campaign can be traversed co-operatively and allows for you to revive one another and trade off between spotter or sniper. Other multiplayer options include: fighting waves of enemies in the survival-style Kill Tally, Bombing Run in which you recover parts to rebuild your escape vehicle before the whole area is bombed back to the stone age and Overwatch which has one player handling sniping duties from afar while the other runs around at ground-level calling out enemy locations and pushing forward to reach checkpoints. These missions require a lot of teamwork and co-operation but when it works it’s cause for celebration.
Sniper Elite V2 aims to capture what it is to be a lone wolf sniper and it captures this beautifully, the deep breathing heart pounding audio sets the scene while the bullet cam and x-ray bullet impacts provide a deep satisfaction to a well aimed shot that makes you keep coming back. The flip side to this is that being a lone wolf is never easy and Sniper Elite V2 is far from it, careful planning and aiming are paramount to success and while failure is regularly an option the satisfaction of precision aiming and a plan coming off flawlessly drives that “Just one more go” urge.
Their are a few issues with the AI most notably tanks spotting you from great distances even when prone or in shadows (or both) and shooting at some enemies makes them stand still with their back to the direction the bullet came from which only detracts from the realism of the game much like destroying tanks by shooting their fuel tanks which have been unusually moved to the outside of the heavily armoured vehicles to allow for this option.
All in all the sniper experience is captured in all its intensity and brutality like never before and its not something you want to miss!