Sniper Elite V2 is somewhat of a relaunch of the original Sniper Elite from 2005. You start out with a brief introduction to your mission as Karl Fairburne who’s aim is to stop a V2 rocket program. Has Rebellion managed to update and re-launch its previous installment with success, or will is forever be shadowed by bigger titles yet to come.
If you played the original Sniper Elite, then you will probably notice some similarities. You take control of Karl Fairburne within the same time period as the original release, and within the Berlin. Though the games share the same time frame, you take on a new mission and have some interesting and new elements to gameplay.
The game first starts out with an introduction, but this is short-lived as there’s not a whole lot to learn. You will introduced to the weapons and various tools you have at your disposal, but from here, dude to the games simplicity, you’re then thrown into the fight and have to work things out for yourself. Even though there isn’t much to learn outside of how to use the weapons and how the game mechanics work, you can’t just rush into every situation and expect victory. The game teaches you to play while your playing, which is an interesting throwback to older games where you have to learn from your mistakes.
The audio throughout the game is fair, but not the highest production. But considering that the game isn’t set at a full retail price, you get what is expected of the price range. It’s above what you would expect from most arcade games, and below some of the higher end titles. It’s far from bad, but there are times where the audio is a little hit and miss. The story segments between the chapters is a nice break and offers some insight to what you’re doing and why. But there’s not a whole lot that stands out aside from that.
Graphically the game is very crude and has an excessive amount of low res textures, though this doesn’t really detract from the experience, but it can take away from the immersion a little. The game world is detailed to the point where you feel like you’re on the streets of Berlin fighting through groups of enemies. But there are issues with crude draw distances and textures popping in and out as you zoom in to survey the area.
One of the huge highlights is the x-ray kill system. This system activates when you perform a rather skilled shot and hit and enemy in a set way. Which then triggers a gore cam x-ray vision of your kill. This is something yet to be explored by most developers, as they usually just stick to the usual kill cams. But the x-ray cam really shows you the damage your shot has done. This may be a little excessive, but it’s a rather interesting take on the kill cam which should be explored more by developers.
To begin with you won’t know much of what’s going on, but the first cut-scene tells you everything you need to know about why you’re sniping your way through Berlin and various targets. With your progression the story changes direction a little which is also explained through the cut-scene slide show between missions. There’s not much else to say about the writing the dialog in-game is accurate and you do hear mumbles from soldiers as you’re progressing through the game. But the meat of the story and dialog comes from Karl in the introduction loading screens between missions.
These sections are interesting to listen to as the voice acting is convincing, and you want to know what happens, or what your next objective is. You’re just one man in the middle of a war with a sniper rifle and a few other weapons. Knowing your plan of action is a must, but not a requirement as throughout the missions your main goal will be to follow the markers and complete the objective.
To begin with you have your introduction to the game and how the weapons work. If you’ve played any other shooting game you should be familiar with how these items work. From here, you’re then introduced with how to use your weapons and various other tools. You will then be introduced to the focus kill shots and be told about how the wind can change your shot direction and bullet drop. Aside from the usual, these conditions change depending on your difficulty. From here you’re pretty much left on your own with what you’ve been told. This is where the game gets interesting as it has such a simple play style, you can walk away and come back and continue playing as there’s no over complication with what you have to do.
As you start out everything is simple, you only need to worry about sneaking by or removing soldiers that are in your way. Most are simple and just require some patience, but as you progress the enemies get harder to deal with. As you progress you will find soldiers patrolling, as well as other snipers posted up on buildings. With these situations you can use your silenced pistol to kill the odd soldier to try and progress without alerting anyone, or you can use the most direct approach, find a good sniping spot and clear the area.
At times it feels like you’re forced into certain situations which detracts from the stealth side of the game a lot as you will need to fight off groups of soldiers using your Thompson or MP40. You do have the ability to perform stealth kills with your hands, but one thing to keep in mind if your ammo runs out rather fast, and if enemies locate you, they will come in force to try and take you out.
The gameplay is simple, yet effective, but there are times where enemies will spot you regardless. This is more often than not, and it’s usually a sniper who’s seen you even though they’re not looking for you. If this happens, you’re pretty much stuck as you either take out the sniper and alert all the other soldiers, or you try and slip by without being shot down. The A.I isn’t the brightest, so you can get away with quite a lot of things that you probably shouldn’t, but the game could use some work in this department.
As an addition there’s also a downloadable multiplayer mode, one which will allow you to complete against other players, as well as a co-op mode. These modes are a nice addition, though one is the typical multiplayer modes you would expect, and the co-op mode has you run through several mission with a friend. These co-op missions are nice, but it would have been better if you could play the whole game co-op rather than wait for this expansion to come out.
At first Sniper Elite V2 may not seem like a title you want to play, but it has a certain charm that draws you in. It may be far from the best looking game, or offer a Triple-A experience, but the game’s progression is so varied you will find yourself doing different things as you progress. Something a lot of high production titles don’t do. The game is simple at heart, but it offers a lot for it’s lower price point.
If you’re a fan of most stealth games, as well as using sniper rifles and trying to be as low-key as possible, this game will definitely fill that void. It may take a little while to work out the best route through the game, even though it’s extremely linear, there’s many different approaches to reaching your goals.