Sniper Elite V2
AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200
AMD Radeon HD 3870
Sniper Elite V2 follows in the footsteps of Sniper Elite and promises to focus the gameplay down to the things players enjoyed in the first title, while improving on everything that players hated. So does Sniper Elite V2 hit the mark or has the gun jammed on this game?
Slowly but surely the crosshair settles just above the lookouts head. The wind blows and I shift slightly to the right. There, that's it. I steady my breathing and wait for the next explosion on a near battlefield to overtone my killing shot. I don't have to wait long as I hear a Stuka making its shrieking decent. I count the seconds and fire. It's a long shot and the bullet curves its way to the target to impact with a gory mess. Another perfect kill.
Players of the first Sniper Elite will be familiar with these tense moments and while the story is not connected to the first installment, you'll feel right at home. Sniper Elite V2 story quickly kicks off with a tutorial mission. This is quite nice as the tutorial is not always integrated into the story but is usually a separate entity entirely; well not so in Sniper Elite V2. The tutorial teaches players the basics of the gameplay and also introduces the first parts of the story to the players. From the tutorial the story simply continues on. This is something I would like to see done more often in SP games. It quickly becomes apparent that the German’s are up to something that could potentially end the war for the west and thus it is up to you to stop it. I will not get into too much detail about it, as to not spoil it however; I can say that the actual title of the game is completely linked in to the main plot of the story, which again is well done.
One shot - one kill!
The story will have the player go through decently sized locations, though I never really felt like I was in a big city. Everything always felt small and limited in area, size and potential. Since you play as a Sniper/Commando, sneaking around in small areas and being given specific spots to do your business is not as fun as being given a big game world to play around in and find the spot you want to use. Obviously though it is a lot to ask for but the game definitely suffered from this, as it is a sniping based game, yet the levels all felt small to me. Additionally, the game is linear and usually the player will enter and exit the map at the same or similar point.
Even though the game is called “Sniper Elite”, the gameplay is that more of a Commando, where you, as a sole person, have to infiltrate an area or a base and do a certain set of objectives. These objectives include sabotage, assassination and information retrieval. The gameplay is varied and players have a certain amount of freedom as to how they approach their objectives. The game can be played entirely stealthy or all out action shooter, even at the harder difficulty levels. The player is also given plenty of freedom with which path to take to accomplish the objective. I never felt forced to take a certain path that I did not want to and often found myself planning which path looked ideal. The one thing I will say about gameplay design repetitiveness is that after finishing all the main objectives the gameplay would always take a full on action turn. This forces players to use machine guns or fast sniping skills to take out many enemies fast and sprint out of the area to the exit. While I did not particularly mind this, players expecting to go full stealth will perhaps be disappointed by this.
The game’s main weapon as one would expect is the sniper rifle, as such I would expect the gun-play of the sniper rifles to be top notch and indeed I was not disappointed. Sniper Elite V2’s strongest element is without a doubt the way the sniper rifles shoot. This is enhanced by the slow motion bullet cam with x-ray vision, so you can enjoy each kill shot. The developers obviously know their fans, as they even included bonuses depending on what organs you hit, and yes, each organ is shown in great detail in the kill shot. This even includes the round parts of the male productive organs, that’s right, the human balls! I am being serious, there is even a bonus for shooting the balls! The “nutshot” bonus is gained by sniping out your enemies’ balls and during the x-ray bullet cam you can see the bullet cause the nuts to explode. A definite gore factor here and every time I accidentally pulled off a nutshot, it made my whole body cringe.
Beyond the bullet cam for sniper rifles, which never gets old, there is nothing special for the other weapons. This however, does not mean that the other weapons handle badly. While there is nothing special to the way the other guns handle, they all handle differently and are still satisfying to use, though obviously, nothing beats the x-ray bullet cam. The stealth mechanics are nothing unique, and all work as one would expect. The main thing to watch out for are enemy snipers as they will spot you from afar, as you try to sneak up onto unsuspecting soldiers below. Players are given binoculars to spot enemy snipers and realistically so, I often struggled to find them. I would not call this a bad thing as it makes the game feel more realistic and adds to the challenge of the game.
Hmm... I wonder where should I hang this in my living room?
Graphically speaking the game actually looks really good, the details on the weapons and scopes are solid and different from rifle to rifle. The details in the maps and characters are also really good and to make it all even better, the game performs really good. The sound effects are as one would hope, top notch, and really bring all the weapons and weather effects to life. The voice acting for all the characters is decent enough. The main strong point of the voice acting is on the Russian and German troops, it definitely sounds like native Germans and Russians were hired to do the voice-overs for the normal troops. The main weakness in the sound department is the soundtrack, it is decent but nothing to really remember.
Overall, I really enjoyed the single-player; mostly due to the variety in gameplay through the switching between stealth and action moments and due to the great sniper mechanics. After the though I was not yet satisfied and was hoping to find more in the multiplayer and co-op. The game does also have SP challenge maps and a DLC map which offers you the chance to kill the dreaded overlord known as Hitler. The DLC map is really fun addition but the challenge maps are not so fun to play. Thus, this just left me with the multiplayer and co-op. The co-op is well made and a fun addition, but sadly not actively played by random people. So if you do not have a friend to play it with, it is highly unlikely you will ever get to play the co-op, which is disappointing.
That bottle never knew what hit it!
I was hoping that the multiplayer would really hold me for the long run, but sadly, it does disappoint. The multiplayer has both player hosted games and dedicated servers. Surprisingly the dedicated servers suffer from as much lag as the player hosted games do. This usually means a poor net-code implemented by the developers. Every single game I played in multiplayer was full of frustration and irritations, regardless of the mode I played and whether on player hosted or dedicated. The multiplayer suffers from many issues. As one would expect many people camp. This normally means though that if you are good at sneaking around you can take out all the campers. The game developers included trip mines and other equipment that make it difficult to do just that.. Fortunately, some servers have disabled certain weapons, including trip mines, but these are hard to find. To make the MP multiplayer even worse, there are balance issues. the The developers did not adjust the gameplay at all for the multiplayer and thus simply took the SP single-player guns and put them in the multiplayer as is. As a result, the strongest snipers in MP multiplayer are the ones least affect by bullet drop and wind. Indeed these are the most popular on MP in multiplayer and those not using them are usually at the bottom of the scoreboard.
The controls are the same across single-player and multiplayer . They are fully adjustable and work as one would expect from a shooter. The game does suffer from some bugs, both minor and game-breaking but nothing too significant or too frequent that everyone will encounter them. The game also features DLC, one which has the Kill Hitler mission along with two sniper rifles and another two DLCs which have maps for the MP.
It is not surprising that the multiplayer was not supported by the players and was dead within a week. Thus if you purchase Sniper Elite V2, it will have to be just for the single-player alone, which is really fun and well worth playing once but there is no replay value here at all.
- Single-player campaign: A solid story with a variety of objectives and levels.
- Sniping: X-ray bullet cam that never gets old.
- Stealth: Solid stealth mechanics that are both fun and challenging.
- Co-op: Only viable if you have a friend to play it with.
- Music: Nothing to really remember.
- Multiplayer: Was never active and suffers from many issues.
- DLC: Paid content for a dead multiplayer, seriously?