Sniper Elite V2 is a pretty self-explanatory first person shooter that’s more of a reboot than a sequel. I personally haven’t played the older game so I always wondered how games like this got by with such an emphasis on just one gameplay mechanic. Turns out quite well actually.
As you may have expected, Sniper Elite V2, puts you in the boots of a sniper and your goal – in the demo at least – is to kill every German unfortunate enough to cross your path. Since sniping is the driving force of this game, special care has been taken to make this mechanic seem as visceral and authentic as possible, while keeping it enjoyable of course. At lower difficulties, pulling off headshots is relatively simple but as you bump up the difficulty, you’ll have to take factors like bullet drop and wind into consideration as well.
Pull off a nice shot and the camera quickly switches to your bullet as you’ll be able to see its trajectory in slow motion from the time it leaves your weapon till it enters and exits someone’s skull. Certain kills are showcased in a glorious manner as the game slows down, switches to an X-ray mode and shows you the visceral damage your bullet causes as it shatters bone and cuts through flesh. Thankfully the X-Ray kill cam animations are not canned and they will keep changing depending on where you shoot your opponent. Shoot him in the skull and your bullet will crack his head open, puncture his brain and exit from the back. Shoot him in the groin and well, you get the drift.
If enemies get too close for comfort, you can take them out with your pistol or rifle and during these times, the game switches to a conventional third person cover based shooter. It isn’t the most refined shooter on the block but it gets the job done. Unfortunately there’s no blind fire and every time I wanted to take a shot, I had to expose my entire body to a hail of incoming bullets to take an enemy down.
Maybe because this was a demo but Sniper Elite V2 felt very linear. Not that it’s much of a deal breaker but I personally would have enjoyed more freedom to explore the environment, planning the perfect attack. Like Splinter Cell Conviction, if you get spotted, you have a few seconds to get out of that particular area leaving nothing but a ghostly apparition in that vicinity. This mechanic too didn’t seem to work as well as it did in Conviction so I’m a bit worried about this game’s stealth factor.
Other than that, I really took to the demo. Plus it felt nice to head back to World War II after such a long break. If Rebellion do manage to tweak the game a bit before it ships, Sniper Elite V2 could be the sleeper shooter of the year especially since the final version will ship with co-operative play as well.