This review exclusively covers the PC version of the game. An Xbox 360 Review is here.
Sniper Elite V2 players might not remember Sniper Elite: Berlin 1945 that came out on Xbox, PS2, and PC. Rebellion hasn’t made an exact replica of that game, it follows the same mechanics as it’s forebearer. Rebellion has also remade the Alien vs Predator games over the years in similar fashion.
The game’s premise is believable and entertaining from start to finish. You are an American sniper sent to stop the construction of the V2 Rockets by taking out key members instrumental in its creation. You are placed smack dab in the middle of World War II while the Russians and the Germans battle it out. You’ll be sneaking by patrols, silently taking out infantry with your pistol or in a takedown move, and planting explosives for detonation by a bullet at long range.
Sniper Elite V2 on the Sniper Elite (hardest) difficulty isn’t very challenging. The reason for that being, is you are quite powerful, as a sniper should be. You have the supernatural ability to slow down time to make your shots exact. Do this properly and you’ll control your heartrate to where you are pulling off headshots every time. In doing so, the enemy will not be able to get close enough. Should a few slip by your scope, you’ll be bombarded by a group of enemies with MP40′s looking to take you down. You do have secondary and tertiary weapons to aid you, like the Thompson and a silenced pistol – but these are last resort weapons at best.
Before you start your sniping assault, you have the ability to lay out land mines and trip wires to take out approaching forces as well alert you to their proximity. Though sometimes enemies spawn out of places you’ve cleared prior and kill you almost instantly. Though you can do this after, you may not have ample time to deploy them. This results in a few trial and error attempts that can get frustrating due to the widely spaced checkpoints as there are no hard saves to rely on.
On my PC, the game looked phenominal and loaded levels almost instantly. There was some texture pop-in and not everything looked as good as it could have, but its grim and destroyed world paint the picture that war is hell and has its costs. The sound design compliments it by having near constant gunfire and explosions off into the distance. Often times right in front of you that you must sneak past. Music is weaved into action scenes, and fades away once an area has been cleared is a nice touch.
Gameplay is fantastic. Getting those long-range kills as the camera follows the bullet as it makes it’s way to your enemies body and you can see the real-time ballistics as it makes it’s way through them as if you were looking at an x-ray. You get points for every kill based on multi-kills, and location of kill. You get most points by getting headshots, which are relatively easy to obtain.
Though the game claims to be a “true sniper experience”, it does have a few faults. There are a few too times where the situation goes sour and you have to fight like Rambo to survive. Usually snipers take out one target and leave the position. You’ll be tasked with defending positions several times or confined to a certain location until you clear enough enemies to progress. With that said, ammo isn’t at a premium. Ammo stations and looting dead bodies can refill your ammo to max almost every time. I never had a situation where I was low on ammo, even on the highest difficulty.
You’ll be told frequently to shoot the gas caps off of vehicles to destroy the vehicle. Keep in mind, this is the only way to do so. You’ll never get your hands on a Panzershreck or anything of its kind to remove a tank from the field of battle. Shooting gas caps on just doesn’t work that, and they didn’t exist on WWII tanks like that either. A contrivance used one too many times, but is rewarding to watch the slow motion camera do its thing.
Sniper Elite V2 is best enjoyed on higher difficulties for the ballistics (wind, bullet drop, etc) and for challenging AI. As it is they just stand out in the open waiting for a bullet to excavate their cranium. Each level lasts about 30-40 minutes, and doesn’t overstay it’s welcome. This is a game that you’ll be happy to return to World War II for.
Editor’s Note: There is a PC-exclusive multiplayer component to the game. However, I was unable to play this mode for review. All versions of Sniper Elite V2 feature co-op, the console versions do not have the competitive multiplayer.
Retails for: $49.99, recommended purchase price: $39.99
A Steam code for the game was provided by Rebellion for Review purposes