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Sniper Elite V2 Review

by Diogo Miguel June 2, 2012

The market is steadily becoming saturated with shooting video-games. So it’s easy to miss out on some of the ones released during busy times. Sniper Elite V2 would probably fall under the radar, if it wasn’t for the developers in charge of it.

Rebellion is well known for various video-games, including the one that this remake is based on, Sniper Elite. But what exactly sets it apart from similar shooting video-games already out?

As the name implies, Sniper Elite V2 focuses on the art of sniping. It’s a style that many favour in other shooters, but it’s an essential way to go about playing this one. Using the sniper rifle is not just about aiming and shooting though. It’s difficult to spot targets when really far away, so it’s a good idea to use the binoculars.

It’s incredibly handy to use them since it’s possible to mark enemies. Shooting a sniper gun requires precision and steady hands, so it’s fantastic to see Rebellion taking these elements into consideration. The player is able to make the character hold his breath. This will make it possible to shoot targets with better accuracy. It’s all about doing it at the right time, since it only lasts for a few seconds. This literally enhances the senses, and makes it seem like enemy movements have considerably slowed down.

Later stages introduce the possibility to take out enemies under the cover of loud noises. It’s another idea that adds to the experience. It’s easier to eliminate each enemy by taking advantage of noises, such as a bombs exploding in the background.

Finally, it’s also important to take weather conditions into consideration. What is so fascinating about the sniper mechanics is that it doesn’t require a lot of skill. Anyone with some experience in the shooter genre can easily get used to Sniper Elite V2. This is because it has different settings that cater for various skill levels. Anyone that wants a realistic experience can turn off some of the visual aids, such as the binoculars tracking feature. There’s a certain sense of accomplishment that comes from successfully neutralising an enemy.

Obviously some players are not so patient and will most likely get found by enemies. It’s because of this that close range weapons are included. Using these is not as easy and their accuracy is somewhat limited. The sub-machine guns in particular aren’t very subtle because it takes a few rounds to kill an enemy. But these weapons provide players with a way to get rid of enemies that come too close.

Other tools are available to ensure enemies don’t sneak up on the character. Such items as trip mines, will make it harder for the character to get shot, while using the sniper rifle. The number of items in each mission is limited. It just makes it more exciting, since players will have to think what they will benefit from carrying, before going into each mission. The tools are all useful and will even out the odds when facing the many enemies in each mission.

One of the best features of Sniper Elite V2 is the X-Ray kill cam. This feature is activated when the player manages to hit certain enemy body parts, with the sniper rifle. The camera will focus on the bullet trajectory until it penetrates the enemy in a specific area.

A headshot will most likely result in the player being treated with a cranium being cracked by the bullet. This should logically get repetitive after a while, but it’s the complete opposite. Each X-Ray kill feels different to the previous one. It’s all thanks to the various conditions that affect the trajectory of a bullet, and the possibility to hit different body parts.

Movement and use of secondary weapons takes place in the third person view. It’s fairly easy to get the hang of the various controls, when everything is under control. The only slight problem comes from not being able to quickly change stances and weapons, when under attack. It’s often the case that enemies will mercilessly shoot the character dead, while the player is trying to change to the running position, or even equip one of the secondary weapons.

The story is set during World War 2, and follows the adventures of OSS Officer Karl Fairburne. It references certain operations that happened during the war, but it doesn’t attempt to fully recreate events.

The story is told in a subtle manner, which makes for a pleasant experience. It’s somewhat refreshing to sometimes even listen to enemies casually talking about their hopes and dreams, after the war is over.

This makes it somewhat difficult to shoot them, but they won’t hesitate to kill the character, if they spot him – reminding the player that there are no pleasantries in war. The war torn streets of Berlin provide some unique sights, throughout the adventure.

Each mission opens up a new area for the player to explore. It’s difficult to get lost because of the handy way point system. There are multiple ways to go towards the next objective.

It makes it possible for each player to go about completing a mission, in a different manner. Some will try to snipe enemies without being caught, and others will probably go on a rampage. It’s what makes it so appealing, since there isn’t just one right way to complete each mission. But it’s always best to move away from a location when spotted, since enemies will search that area thoroughly.

Campaign mode is fairly short, but it’s extremely fun while it lasts. Each mission has different kinds of objectives to complete, such as destroying a bridge when some tanks are going over it. It does get repetitive towards the end, with objectives becoming similar to ones found in earlier stages.

One of the incentives that might get players to replay missions is the scoring system. A score is given out based on bullet distance and also if the enemy was killed with X-Ray kill cam. These scores are uploaded to an online leader-board.

The usual different difficulties and collectibles will also provide skilled players with more challenges. Different difficulty settings include increasing enemy awareness and change how ballistics are affected by certain conditions.

It goes to show that Rebellion thought about making Sniper Elite V2 accessible to different kinds of players. There’s also challenges, where the player needs to survive waves of enemies. Those willing to try the online modes can play the campaign with someone else, or even take on such modes as Overwatch.

Overwatch involves each player taking on a specific role. It’s interesting to see a shooter that doesn’t resort to just using typical online multi-player modes, such as deathmatch.

Sniper Elite V2 is a shooter that will entertain players with its engaging campaign mode. Rebellion has also hit the jackpot by successfully gambling on a few risky ideas, such as the X-ray kill cam feature.

It’s a shame that it feels somewhat short and lacking towards the end, but there are many wonderful features that more than make up for it.

Sniper Elite V2 is a must buy for anyone that wants to try something somewhat different, from the typical shooters released every year.

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