Review: Sniper Elite V2

May 16, 2012 • Gadgets and Gaming

Almost every first-person shooter game features a sniper or sniper aspect, and many players enjoy the distance shooting and being able to sneak around unheard and undetected. Fighting a war from a distance has been in history for many centuries, with the earliest forms being that of archers.

A screenshot from Sniper Elite V2 (image: Rebellion)

But while many games have a sniper class to play with, there are not a lot of games on the market that cater specifically for this purpose – which is where Sniper Elite V2 comes in.

Set in World War 2, Sniper Elite V2 offers players the role of an OSS officer with a secret and covert mission in Germany.

While this is the second Sniper Elite game, it is considered a remake of the first title, rather than a second iteration – which is not a bad.

Players assume the role of American Karl Fairburne, who is sent behind enemy lines in Germany to capture key German scientists and bring them back to the US.

Naturally things do not always go as planned, and Fairburne uncovers a bigger plot that needs his attention.

Although the graphics are not as jaw-dropping as EA’s Battlefield 3, developer Rebellion has done a perfectly good job at keeping the player engaged with enough detail and small additions.

For today’s standard in game design, the graphics are actually impressive, with small factors making it a bit more believable.

One of the most noteworthy changes to V2, introduced by Rebellion – which ties in with the graphics, is the inclusion of a spectacular X-ray vision mode when enemies are sniped from a great distance or in a significant position.

The highly-detailed anatomical cut-away from an enemy sniper (image: Rebellion)

When the player executes a good shot, the title slows down to bullet-time and the camera pans around the projectile. Once the bullet hits the enemy, their body is shown as an anatomical cutaway and shows in detail how the bullet passes through the affected area.

It is rather graphic, and exit wounds are sometimes clearly visible, but it does lend a certain entertainment value to it as well.

Players of sniper-class soldiers often take pot-shots at enemies, but do not bother to think about the physical impact their shots would have had in real-life. This puts things into perspective, as gamers will cringe every now and again when a bullet rips through an eye socket (disjointing the eye) or completely remove a section of the enemies’ skull.

The most graphic shot we encountered was through the testicles of a German soldier (The shot was accidental). It is actually amazing that Rebellion included an anatomical cut-away for the pelvic area, as the shot (taken from above the enemy at an angle) travelled through the small of the back and proceeded to completely decimate the private’s parts on the other end.

In terms of controls, the game makes use of a fairly simple control scheme which every gamer would have encountered before. The layout is very basic, but the game does go through a short tutorial on where all the buttons are positioned.

Speaking of buttons, when players press down on the analogue controller, Fairburne whips out his trusty binoculars. Unlike in the previous Sniper Elite title, players can now use it to tag visible enemies and keep track of their movements. Being patient and stealthy are two of the most important factors of being a sniper, and being aware of the enemy and their movements are vitally important.

The weapons used in the title are all era-specific and authentic, with gamers causing carnage with the American Springfield rifle, Russian-made Mosin Nagat and German scoped Gewehr 43 (also commonly known as the Karabiner 43). In terms of side-arms, players are equipped with a pistol and a light machine gun (which has limited ammunition).

The plot for the whole affair is not incredibly thought-provoking, but it manages to weave a story strong enough to keep players soldiering on through all the German and Russian troops.

The title does not have any manual save points, and only saves the progress when players reach an objective, which can become a bit annoying at times. This can be even more frustrating because the game is actually very challenging, and requires some careful planning on a number of levels.

In general the title is a good effort as a crack at the sniper-only game model that we have not seen nearly enough of. With all the design elements included in Sniper Elite V2, it will be interesting to see what Rebellion can come up with in the next iteration.

But for this release, they did everything right to the best of their effort, and only faltered on a small number of issues (such as repetitive and predictable enemy movements). For gamers looking at taking on the Russians and Germans alone and cracking some helmeted-skulls in the process, Sniper Elite V2 will be the perfect title.

Our score: 8/10

Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor

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