Sniper Elite V2 Review
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A satisfying tactical shooter that takes you on suspense-filled ride.
- Tense, exciting and challenging
- Chaining together carefully placed headshots and then watching the grisly cinematic is great fun
- Strong level design makes for some tactical encounters
- Enemy A.I. can be erratic
- Hit detection issues occasionally surface
High on the top floor of a dilapidated building, with chin pressed to the ground, not moving a muscle, the silent but deadly hero of Sniper Elite V2 surveys the heavily-guarded area below with his binoculars before he glares down the sights of his Springfield M1903 rifle.
Executing a carefully placed shot, from a 180 metres away, he shatters the knee-cap of a Nazi soldier, but the sound of the bullet leaving his firearm alerts the other guards, who scatter for cover. His position is blown but he remains totally calm and in control, focusing on his breathing and steady aim as he watches their every move, waiting patiently for the one chance he might have to pick them off one at a time and send a bullet whizzing through their skulls.
With every precise hit, a cinematic cut-scene kicks-in showing the trail off the bullet in slow motion as it makes its way through the air and penetrates graphically right through the body of the guard. In an era of gaming where we’re inundated with fast-paced, run-and-gun shooters, Sniper Elite V2’s stealth-based gameplay is a breath of fresh air.
Rebellion’s tactical shooter is all about taking your time and making the right decisions. In the role of Karl Fairburne, an OSS officer inserted into the heart of Berlin during World War II, each mission begins with a piece of Intel informing you of your target as you make your way through the dangerous streets and enemy encampments seeing off Nazi and Soviet opposition before seeking out the primary target. This is a one man sniping machine up against incredible odds.
It’s this sense of being isolated and alone, with such numbers against you, that creates the tension and suspense that you feel as you sneak around the city streets slitting throats, laying traps and creating diversions. Lying prone on a roof-top, waiting patiently for the opportunity of a clean kill, there’s a brief moment of nervousness that kicks in as you line up the target reticule and release the trigger.
Part of the reason why Sniper Elite V2 musters up these kinds of feelings is because to be a successful sniper you need to concentrate intensely. Consequently, you become totally engrossed in the role of this elite soldier as he sneaks around picking of enemies while trying not to be detected. Gameplay, for the most part, is deliberately slow and relies on you seeking out the best cover spots and vantage points from where you can get a clear shot of the enemy. Run haphazardly into an open area, and you’re finished.
Though sniping is the star of the game, players also have other weapons and devices they can call upon, including trip-mines, dynamite and grenades. It would have been nice if there were sections where we felt we actually needed to use some of these other items in the game - largely we played through the entire game using just our sniper rifle and silenced pistol - but the opportunity is there to experiment and it is good fun switching things up by laying down a trip wire, throwing a rock to encourage guards to come your way, and then sitting back and watching them get blown to smithereens.
In your arsenal, there’s also a submachine gun, which occasionally comes in handy in close-quarters encounters, particularly when you’re sneaking around the indoor environments where a group of enemies may appear around a corner at any given moment. Indeed, Rebellion has done a good job at keeping the tension at a high throughout the missions and encouraging players to always sit back and observe before rushing in.
The one thing you can be certain of when playing Sniper Elite V2 is that you will die if you don’t use stealth. The game therefore encourages sneaking around with features such as sound masking, where you might hear a voice bellowing through a loud speaker while infiltrating an enemy camp. This gives you a few seconds of opportunity to let a shot off without being heard.
The scoring system also encourages stealth play by awarding you with more points if you play like a true sniper. With each shot, you’ll see a score flash up ... (continued on next page)
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