Sniper Elite V2 | Zombiegamer Review

In short

A shooter with the emphasis on ‘sniping’ will reward the more patient shooter fan. The sniping mechanics are simply better than any other sniping game, but the rest of the shooting is a bit bland. What I loved is the different approach taken with Sniper Elite V2 in a genre that is dominated by Hollywood-like blockbusters.

Developer: Rebellion
Publisher: 505 Games
Distributor: Apex Interactive
For fans of: Sniping, tactical slower-paced shooters
Reviewed on: Xbox 360
Also available on: Playstation 3, PC
If we had to give it a numerical score: 7.5/10

Overview

Sniper Elite V2 is a remake of 2005 Sniper Elite and takes us to Berlin in 1945, in the final parts of World War II.  The V2 Rockets with deadly nerve gas are ready to launch and you are faced with an army of Nazi troops. You are Karl Fairburne, an American naval sniper tasked with the solo missions, requiring stealth and sniping to get through the various areas of conflict and achieve various objectives.

What I loved

  • X-Ray Kill Cam!
  • Great weapons and gadgets from the era
  • Some well designed gameplay aspects
  • Control mechanics
  • Visuals in the distance

Not so much

  • Shooting outside of sniping was boring
  • Bland visuals up close
  • Somewhat clumsy movement animations

Gameplay and features

The gameplay shines for the most part and then there were some design elements that didn’t quite execute as well as the games main feature, and actually the veering from the main feature was a little frustrating at times. The sniping bits are absolutely brilliant, best I have experienced, but then the normal shooting bits let me down somewhat.

Sniper Elite V2’s ace is the brilliantly designed and executed sniping, and the X-Ray Kill Cam that goes with it. My first snipe was a real “oh cool” moment, something that does not happen often in a shooter. While the sniping-mechanics feel familiar, they execute nicely and feel realistic. You can first line-up your enemy with your sight, or scope the area with brilliantly-working binoculars and mark the enemy you are aiming for. Once you have lined up the target and adjusted to the distance, you fire. The camera goes into slow motion following the bullet to the target. The awesome X-Ray Kill Cam then gives you a slow-motion view of the impact and the body part you shot. I could not get nough of watching the bullet piercing a lung or the cranium – all so stylishly portrayed in a gory manner. You can kneel or lie down to not only help with accuracy, but to stay out of sight. There’s plenty of cover to be found and sneak around. The only design aspect of the cover-system I found a bit off was the fact that you don’t just peer out of cover. When in ‘proper’ cover (not just hiding behind an object) you can come out of cover by hitting a button. This is great when you are just machine-gunning your way through a level, but doesn’t make sense for sniping as you are then will then be in the sight of the enemy.

I enjoyed the sniping so much that the rest of the gameplay seemed to get in the way. There is the normal gameplay that shooter fans are used to and quite a bit of stealth. Again I was surprised by some of the weapon choices and how they executed. There are some real crafty mines as opposed to regular grenades, and when used properly, really elevates the tactical side of the gameplay. The stealthy bits could have been more developed as could the shooting mechanics. The stealth lacked depth while the shooting mechanics felt very amateur.

What I loved about the gameplay is the tactical design. The areas have optimum spots for sniping which are clearly marked in a sub-menu map. From there you can clear out the area or level in the manner you wish. You are not always forced to clear the levels in a corridor-styled way, and so tactics and patience pay off.  Your arsenal of explosives and gadgets were designed to further this theme and further elevate the ‘tactical’ nature of the game.

The singleplayer mode includes the story or campaign and once you have cleared the levels you can play through them in hope to achieve a higher point tally. Your points increase by accuracy in shots or by the distance which you hit your target from. You also get bonus points for a few side-tasks like finding and shooting bottles that are scattered around the levels or areas. Your points tally can be compared with leaderboard online to compare your skills with other snipers.

Players can also play online in the multiplayer mode where you can co-op with a lobby of four players. Rebellion needed to include some sort of multiplayer to give the game more value, and while co-op is good fun, a multiplayer versus mode would have been welcome in vast maps suited for sniping.

Sound and visuals

The presentation is stunning, modern looking, well designed and a breeze to navigate. The visuals were again outstanding when it come to the primary feature of the game – the sniping – but a little underdeveloped in other areas. The landscape in the distance and the pre-rendered bits were stunning, but then the scenery up close was a little muddy and a little simple looking. A little more would have been welcome. Then there were some really under-developed bits like not being able to shoot through windows. More destructible surroundings are something that I expect out of a modern title. Fortunately as often as I would get a little disappointed, I would snipe someone in the head and watch pieces of shattered bone exploding in slow motion, and the grin would be back on my face.

The animations are great on the surface, the way you crouch and move around looks great at first, but then shuffling around at times just looked awkward. The facial animations were acceptable in the pre-rendered bits, but again fall short here and there.

The scoring was boring, suited to the era, but did not stand out in any way as did the sound effects for the most part. Like most of the game, when it came to sniping, the sound effects were great. There’s the echoing caused by the slow-motion and the shattering or splatting of the targets body parts – all very well designed and sounded great.

The quality of the overall audio and visual experience falls somewhat short, especially for those used to the big-budget regulars in the genre. There are touches of genius, particularly with the sniping bits, but it was definitely not the highlight for me.

Closing comments

Fortunately for me I had no expectations when Sniper Elite V2 arrived. I get the appeal of sniping, but it isn’t exactly what sells me on a shooter. So I was not too disappointed that V2 wasn’t packed with all the glitz and glam that the major shooters are known for. Some of the gameplay aspects could have been better as could some of the visuals, but I went in with no expectations and enjoyed Sniper Elite V2, for if anything, for the fact that it did not follow the same old formula.

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