Concealed within the deteriorating ruins of bomb riddled Berlin, you take aim at the head of a Nazi soldier. He is surrounded by three others, his commanding officer nearby. You realise that if you time your shot correctly, you could take out three of them at once.
You adjust your aim to about three heads above his and two to the left to compensate for the forces of both gravity and wind. You hold your breath, steady your shot – pull the trigger. The the bullet exits the gun in slow motion bullet time as it flies towards the first target.
An x-ray view of his skull appears as the bullet pierces his skull and obliterate his brain; the bullet continues through his head hitting the soldier behind him in the chest, destroying his lung. The third soldier clutches at his groin as you watch the bullet annihilate both of his testicles.
The above paragraphs describe the entire Sniper Elite V2 experience in a nutshell.
The game is touted as a sniper simulator; I somewhat agree with that statement, however I don’t agree with the comparisons that have been drawn between it and the likes of the ARMA and Operation flashpoint series. It is realistic to a point, and overall, a very enjoyable game.
You star as OSS (Office of Secret Services) Karl Fairburne, who has been dumped in the middle of Berlin to try and sniff out some intel on the deadly V-2 Ballistic missile. The story serves as a distraction for those who don’t think that being able to snipe legions of Nazi and Soviet foot soldiers and snipers is enough to justify the game.
The game is broken down into a campaign mode where you can follow the hardships endured by our beloved officer Karl, or you can enter into challenge mode which is much like hoard from Gears Of War or Nazi Zombie mode in Call Of Duty; whereby you choose a map and see how many waves of bad guys you can thin out.
The pre-order DLC “Assassinate the Fuhrer” bonus mission is also worth a mention as it gives you the feel of the campaign mode whilst allowing you to choose additional sniper rifles; including the super long ranged German Korobiner 98k which has an extra zoom level – and of course you get to kill Hitler, and who in their right mind wouldn’t want to do that? Unfortunately it was only available on pre-order.
The slow motion bullet-time kill-cam is hands down the coolest feature I’ve seen in a long time. Is it original? No. However, what it does is combine the coolest effects from Mortal Kombat and Max Payne.
When you fire a perfect shot you will be rewarded by slow motion bullet time – the camera follows the bullet trajectory and it nears the body, it switches into X-Ray mode where you can see the bullet penetrate and destroy some of the major organs.
The graphics are not mind blowing, but they are decent. The kill cam animation is great fun – the level of detail in the organs as they blow up, and the bullet flight animations are both really impressive. As for the rest, the textures are rather bland. That said, the overall tone is more pleasant than the first title in the series. Drawing distance is decent; the maps are well-crafted and this never actually becomes a factor.
The sound effects, both in game and in the cutscenes, are mediocre at best. However, the “mushing” sounds of the bullet destroying your victim’s innards is somewhat rewarding.
Anther notable feature is the ability to have your shots muffled by different environmental noises, such as an intercom or a smelter dumping its contents. As the sound goes off an indicator pops up and your shot can go unnoticed by surrounding guards – very reminiscent of Vassili Zaitsev in Enemy at the Gates.
The multiplayer experience of the game is divided into four aspects, namely:
- Campaign Co-op: Play through the main campaign with one of your mates online;
- Kill Tally: Horde-style wave-based assault where you got to shoot as many Russians/Nazi’s as you can;
- Bombing run: The most interesting mode where you have to scour the map for 6 missing parts which you need to repair your escape vehicle;
- Overwatch: You are either the sniper or the runner completing tasks.
Sadly, developer Rebellion decided to leave a team deathmatch mode out of the console version, and once again due to the lack of online opponents, I was unable to test all of the multiplayer modes.
Overall this is a very entertaining title, there are a few disappointments such as completely predictable A.I. and lack of stealth gameplay. However, if you are a fan of sniping titles such as Sniper: Ghost Warrior or the original sniper Elite, then this is a must play game, especially on higher difficulty settings without any of the gameplay aides.