Sniper Elite V2 (2012)

Slow-Mo Surgery With a Bullet.

As far as I can recall, this is actually the first time I’ve ever taken a request for a video game review.  The problem with taking reviews for video games is that video games are expensive and I don’t get paid, nor do I get video games sent straight to me so that they can benefit from my reviews.  I don’t know why as my integrity is so flexible that I would give a game a positive review if it were sent to me for free by the company that makes it.  WINK WINK.  The reason today’s video game was a manageable request to grant is because Phil, the requester, delivered the game to me for a week in order to review it.  Let it be known, if you want me to review a game, give it to me, even if only for a week.  Well, let’s see how this one went as I review Sniper Elite V2, developed by Rebellion Developments, and published by 505 Games and Ubisoft.

You play as Karl Fairburne, an OSS sniper in 1945 Berlin, nearing the end of World War II.  He goes in to shoot a few people.  Then he finds out about the development of the V-2 ballistic missile, which will probably mean bad times for the good guys.  So he has to stop that.  Then he must shoot a few more people.

You could probably have guessed by that last paragraph that the story of this game is nothing to write home about.  What’s more important is that it doesn’t really matter, but we’ll get to that later.  The story is super basic, and takes us back to the WW2 period that I had started to think we had escaped.  There was a period of time when WW2 games seemed to be 90% of the games that were being released.  At the time, I could feel myself getting sick of it along with the rest of the world.  But now that the games feel almost gone, I admit that I kind of missed it.  There is nothing in the world that I can think of that I like shooting more than Nazis.  I am not a fan of those guys.  And really, there’s nothing that I can think of that’s easier on the psyche to shoot.  Even aliens might not be all bad.  I am comfortable shooting any Nazi.  Or German.  Or person, for that matter.  I kill lots of people.  I probably shouldn’t be admitting that.  Anyway, the story is super basic and nothing special.  I might not even really know what it was!  I was a guy who was a good sniper, and I went to various places where I had to kill Nazi’s and Soviets until I reached a place where I killed one main guy that I was sent to kill, or I find some rifle or information, or I shoot a rocket, and then I kill a lot of Nazi’s or Soviets on my way out.  That’s really it.  I don’t think I even took a single note on the story of this game it was so basic.  Does that mean it’s not worth playing?

Nuh uh.  The game play is super satisfying.  What you can probably guess from the title of the game is that you’ll have the opportunity to do some sniping.  What you can’t tell from the title is that is my favorite part of a shooter.  It’s just more satisfying to me to shoot someone that’s running from 100+ yards away than shooting someone in the trenches with a machine gun.  And you know what makes it even more satisfying?  Sniper Elite V2 does.  It’s watching the bullet in slow motion as it flies towards the enemies and pierce their skull, then turning to X-Ray so you can see the impact on their skull and internal organs.  You’d think that would get repetitive and annoying if you’re a good enough sniper to hit headshots or shots to vital almost every time (as I am), but it never did.  If you play on Cadet (Easy) difficulty, you will snipe as in most shooter games.  When your sights are on the enemies’ head, that’s where your bullet will go.  But if you want it to be slightly more difficult and easily more satisfying you can go up to the normal difficulty, where you have to factor in gravity and wind’s impact on the bullet so that you’ll have to aim above the enemy, depending on how far away they are.  It’s more difficult, sure, but when you get the hang of it that head shot means so much more.  The game is played in third-person and you can use cover, but their cover mechanics weren’t that smooth.  Your best bet is to try your best to stick to stealth until you get to a good sniping perch, where you can surround yourself with landmines and trip wire explosives and snipe away, using background explosives to mask the sound of your gun.  The alternative is using the machine gun you brought with you, but that’s not a good alternative.  Ammo can be pretty scarce for it, it doesn’t aim particularly well, and one clip will take out maybe two enemies and you only carry maybe two clips.  I started to get annoyed at one point by how poor their machine gun mechanics were when their sniper mechanics were so good, but then I remembered that the game wasn’t called Machine Gunner Elite V2 and just stopped using the machine gun altogether.  When I needed stealth, I would either stealth kill them by hand or with my silenced pistol, but you have to be careful if you’re trying to be stealthy.  If you set the enemies off looking for you, it can take forever for them to stop.  It’s quicker to just kill them all.  As a small gripe, I found it annoying that you had to change your loadout before each mission, even if you just wanted to keep the same weapons as you ended the last mission with.  And it would’ve been nice to have a few more weapon options other than just three sniper rifles, three machine guns, and three pistols to choose from, but not a super big concern either.

The graphics in the game are pretty hit and miss.  The settings are usually collections of various types of rubble and debris, surrounded by blown out houses that keep your path fairly linear.  The people are unconvincing for the most part, usually pretty generic designs with hair that seemed plastic, but this too wasn’t a real concern of theirs in making the game.  All of the stuff from watching the bullet up close, seeing it spin and reflect the backgrounds off of it before hitting the brainpan of the enemy all looked good.  It’s hard to talk shit about that kind of thing because they did what they wanted to do very well, and everything else they didn’t waste a lot of time on.  I guess that kind of makes sense.  Also, this game’s protagonist is your typical raspy hero type that you may have seen in every other game ever.

Despite it’s super basic story and hit and miss graphics, I still managed to take a great deal of enjoyment out of my brief time with Sniper Elite V2.  The often linear and rudimentary story is easily made up for with some of the best and most satisfying sniping in video games of recent memory.  Mediocre graphics be damned!  I can watch bullets go through lungs!  It’s a short game, and probably not worth the full $50, but if you can find it for about $30 or less, it’s definitely worth it.  The greater majority of the achievements can be worked out in a week, but I wasn’t going to bother with the online play to find out how long that takes.  Sniper Elite V2 gets “Right through the fuckin’ eyeball!” out of “My hair is also made of plastic.”

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