As if playing a game revolving around sniping isn’t enough, Sniper Elite V2 (or V2) allows you to enjoy watching your Nazi or USSR victims get torn through with x-ray vision. I know it sounds pretty cheesy, but trust me when I say you’ll get more than you expect for $17.99 (or $16.19 for you Gamestop Pro Members). Realism, excitement, and lots and lots of excellent slow motion kills will fire themselves straight into your gaming heart.
You play a lone American sniper crawling through a ruined Berlin toward the end of WWII. The Nazis are all but defeated, and you are desperately trying to keep the Russians from obtaining German intel and assets on their V2 Rockets. Here begins the Cold War, with you on the front lines. Not much of a story, but does it really need to be? Each mission sends you to a different location, sometimes fighting Krauts, sometimes Reds, and sometimes letting them fight each other while you stealthily kill your way to the intelligence you need. There aren’t quite as many missions as there were in the first Sniper Elite, and I was worried that there would be a level of tedium attached to V2 since the story isn’t one of its strong suits. Surprisingly, V2 keeps the play fresh by having widely varying objectives.
The sniping in V2 is just as good as you would expect it to be. There is something strangely satisfying in climbing to a high vantage point, lining up your shot, and pulling the trigger. Then to have that shot shown in a slow-mo cinematic, using x-ray vision to show you every body part destroyed on your bullet’s trajectory, makes it that much more gratifying. Depending on where you aim, skulls, lungs, and hearts explode with cringe-worthy ferocity. It’s not the gore that makes the game fun, but the self-congratulation of being a bad ass.
There is much more to V2 than just scoped sniping. A big aspect of the game is stealth. Not only are you encouraged to remain unseen through most of the game, but you are given a silenced pistol and the ability to kill unaware enemies by hand. I would have liked to have a melee option for those occasions when your stealth goes sour and you’ve got Germans up in your grill, but that defeats the purpose of being a sniper game, I suppose. Besides melee, you are given many options for gameplay. You can toss a rock or two to divert the enemy’s attention or AI path, you can lay land mines in an AI’s path and let them blow themselves up, or place trip mines behind you in your sniper’s nest. V2 lets the gamer play how they want to. If you want to go ‘guns blazing’ in every mission, go for it. Not only do you get to pick your difficulty, you are given 27 customizable configurations to personalize your play-through. Some of these include bullet trajectory, realism options, and wind resistance; whether you like to play more realistically or just want those big, bad kills, there is an option for everyone.
The constant stress of sneaking from objective to objective mixed with the feeling of being one man against two armies makes V2 incredibly intense. Even those playing on easy will be on the edge of their seat and craning their necks as if that would help them see further around those corners. There are moments that are more funny than stressful, though. While V2 is incredibly fun and addictive, it does have its occasional glitches here and there. Once, I shot a soldier in the head from above, and he went “whooshin’ into space.” Sometimes your character will get stuck when crawling past obstacles laying all over the ground. Luckily, there is a pretty generous checkpoint saving system. This makes these little glitches bearable.
The achievements are relatively easy to obtain. I received 430 points on my first play-through – on easy – without really trying. Once you beat the game, you can go back and play the chapters, both to improve your scores and to collect those coveted achievement points. With a little help from a walkthrough guide, you could get most of them with no problem. Here’s the catch: some of the achievements are attached to online multiplayer games. If you’re going to guess that multiplayer games are hard to come by, you’d be right. I spent twenty-five minutes searching for a game, and only came up with one other person to play with. I guess their mom called them for dinner or something, because they abruptly left during the middle of the game. Still, the online play makes you feel like part of a real sniping team. Modes include Kill Tally (survival), Bombing Run (gathering parts to repair your escape vehicle), and Overwatch (sniper is immobile, teammate does the leg work), and a few others are available through free DLC. Those include Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Distance King, and Team Distance King. It’s a little disheartening that there are so many really fun co-operative modes for V2 that are out of reach due to a lack of online community.
Even with very few people playing V2 online, the campaign and single-player survival mode have much to offer. Besides, with a price like $17.99, I’ll bet you could convince a friend to pick it up and become the deadly sniping team you always knew you were.
Sniper Elite V2 is Worth Buying!