Sniper Elite V2|
Sniper Elite V2, created by 505 Games and Rebellion, is a sequel to one of the better sniper simulations in a fairly narrow subset of the shooter genre. This new installment boasts suped-up, blockbuster graphics, realistic ballistics for bullets, and the ability to play cooperatively online, among other things. Players expecting a perfectly realistic sniper simulation may be slightly disappointed, however, as this game attempts to blur the line between an action-shooter and a more serious simulation. Overall, however, this game provides some of the most satisfying individual kills in any shooter Iíve ever played and creates the overwhelming desire to play missions over and over in order to get the best score and find new and creative ways of destroying the enemy.
Remember how cool the sniper mission in the original Modern Warfare was? I remember wishing there was a whole game with missions just like that. Well, Sniper Elite V2 is just about as close to that wish coming true as you can get. Set in World War 2 era Berlin, you are sent behind enemy lines on a mission to take out the scientists behind the Nazi V2 project. Using all the tricks of the trade, you will stealth-kill and booby trap your way to observation points where you will rain death down upon the enemy from long-range. The difficulty settings are fully customizable, which allow you to select the aggressiveness of the enemy AI, how realistic the bullet ballistics are, etc. On the maximum setting, you will have to compensate for bullet drop over distance, as well as gauge the wind from blowing debris to adjust for how much your bullet will drift over the course of its trajectory. You can enable an aim assist, though, that will give you a better idea of where the bullet will go.
When you let a bullet fly, the game will switch to a bullet cam that makes for some of the most delightfully satisfying and gory kills Iíve ever seen in a game. Youíll even be shown X-ray views of your adversary as your bullet passes through, exploding lungs, hearts, eyeballs, or brains. Each time, it is unique and dynamically rendered, which means each time is just as jaw-dropping and enjoyable as the first. And it makes you want to do it again and again. I canít stress enough how cool the bullet cameras are in this game. They are really what make this game as enjoyable as it is. Without the kill-cam, I really think it would just be another average shooter. But the perfect execution (no pun intended) of the camera shots really adds a level of depth and immersion to the game that put it in a whole other level.
One downside to the game is that the AI is extremely hard to hide from once they have been alerted to your presence. It seems that they have a homing beacon right for your position and will shoot at you with alien-like accuracy almost the instant you start shooting at them. And theyíll hit you, even though youíre shooting at them using a scoped rifle from a prone position from nearly 200 meters, while theyíre armed with a submachine gun, while running. Things like this make the game a little bit frustrating, but the satisfaction that you get from killing the enemy far outweighs this, in my opinion.
On the whole, the controls are fairly smooth and will come naturally to someone who is familiar with most modern day shooters on the console, though I found myself having to press the R2 button a couple of times before my secondary weapons would activate (land mines, trip wires, hand grenades, etc), which caused some momentary panic when I had squads of German troops rushing toward my position. On the flip-side, the hit-detection of the bullets seemed nearly perfect. There were never any of those frustrating moments where I would pull the trigger and think I should have hit the guy when I missed, or where a bullet would get stopped by some invisible wall. This seems all too common in games and I always find myself cursing at my screen saying ďI totally should have hit that guyĒ when I didnít. I didnít have any of that in this game. If anything, there were times when I was pleasantly surprised that I actually hit somebody when I thought it was a pretty unlikely shot. One moment, in particular, I had a guy who was crouched behind a rock a pretty good distance away and all I could see was the top of his helmet. I lined up right over the rock and took the shot and the arc of the bullet actually allowed me to get a nearly perfect headshot on him. I giggled like a little boy. Itís moments like this and many others that you experience that will make you keep coming back to this game for more.
The close quarter fighting mechanics arenít the best as far as most shooters go, but then again, youíre playing as a covert sniper. If youíre running and gunning, this probably isnít your type of game anyway. The handguns and machine guns are really only there to get you out of a bind when your sniper skills arenít enough to keep the enemy at bay. The focus of the game is the sniper rifle, as it should be. And there, the game shines.
No, the ballistics arenít perfect, but theyíre exciting and immersive. The game will even keep track of your characterís heart rate and breathing. If you run hard and then try to snipe someone, you wonít be nearly as accurate as if youíre lying prone and breathing calmly. You can also hit a button to hold your breath and time will slow for a moment and youíll get a little bonus zoom, which allow you to make some particularly spectacular shots.
The multiplayer aspect of the game is not your run-of-the-mill capture the flag or deathmatch type gameplay. It allows you to play several different modes with one other player, including playing through some of the campaign missions cooperatively, as well. It is very cool because youíll get the bullet cam shots that your partner sees when he/she makes a ranged kill, as well, which makes for double the pleasure, double the fun. The Kill Tally mode is particularly fun in co-op because you just have waves upon waves of enemies coming after you both and you really have to pull out all of the stops to keep each other alive. So, if youíre expecting knock down-drag out, sniper vs sniper online action, this isnít the game for that. But you can expect some pretty incredible teamwork oriented playing that adds a new level of excitement to an already intense game.
Ultimately, I realize that this isnít the perfect shooter, but it is an incredibly pleasing sniper game that makes you feel like a complete badass every time you pull the trigger and it switches into bullet-camera mode. Anyone who is a sniper addict, like me, who loves to put someone in the crosshairs and pull the trigger, will definitely love this game. What this game does is put you in the shoes of an elite, hardcore sniper in World War 2, and what it does that very, very well. If that is the kind of character you would like to experience the war as, then this is a game for you. If you want to be Rambo, or John Matrix, then I hear they make games like that over at Infinity Ward.