No quick scoping allowed.
The sniper class is the one class that most players have a love-hate relationship with. The sniper is a one-man army, a badass in stealth and precision. They know how to cover their flank and patiently wait for the rare and perfect opportunity to eliminate their most wanted target. However, the sniper is also a Rambo, believing he or she can run out into the open and accurately snipe anyone who dares to peek their head out all because they carry a one-shot, one-kill weapon—that is, if you’re playing that one particular game with perks and quick scoping and salarians and whatnot.
Over time, snipers have been heavily misrepresented. It’s not so simple sniping a target 2500 yards away considering many factors like wind speed, breathing, gravity, and your bladder. Most games, though, are lenient and won’t include the finer details of sniping. Sniper Elite V2, however, does focus on sniping techniques, like recognizing wind speed, stamina, and precision.
You play as a US sniper in Berlin during the end of WWII and work your way towards discovering a German V2 rocket program, all while playing cat and mouse with enemy snipers. Yes, this is your chance to be almost like Vasily from Enemy at the Gates. Not for the run-and-gunners, Sniper Elite V2 emphasizes stealth and carefully timed shots. Your precision comes down to how long you can hold your breath depending on how much exertion you put forth moments before.
If you are running across a plaza, then your breathing won’t be as steady as it would be if you were traveling at a slower pace. Distance also comes into play. The further you are from your target, the higher your aim must be. You can also play on the hardest difficulty, which omits aim assist, but includes wind speed as another factor you must consider when aiming down your sights.
These details encourage you to pay attention to your surroundings and it does make the world of difference when sniping. It’s not too difficult to master a perfect shot either and once you do, you’re rewarded with a slow motion animation of what a sniper bullet does to the human anatomy: parts bend, pieces of bone break, and all kinds of gruesome splurt. Stealth can also be used to your advantage. If you choose to run, your footsteps echo loud enough for enemies to hear, but if crouched or prone, you can sneak past or flank them to execute a stealth kill by snapping their neck.
Enemies are fairly predictable, though. They tend to flank as much as they can or at times choose to rush you, which any shooter fanatic would recommend you switch to your pistol, although cycling through weapons is not a smooth transition. This is noticeable when you try to select your silenced pistol, only to scramble when you realize you just alerted every enemy in the vicinity because you accidentally used your SMG instead, and now you're pretty much screwed. The control scheme forces you to change your grip on your controller, in order to select a different weapon or even equipment like grenades. There isn’t an option to change it and you’re never able to adjust to it.
Along with predictable enemies are repetitive missions throughout an average storyline. Your objective is the norm: defeat the enemy, save the world, become the hero. While the game is designed for a lone wolf sniper, there needs to be varied combat situations, terrain, or environmental changes that lessen the stagnant gameplay found halfway through the campaign. At the finale, you feel somewhat accomplished since you took out hundreds of enemies, blown up buildings, and armored vehicles, and you only have one more objective to complete, but once you do, you’re left with an unsatisfying ending.
Past its campaign, Sniper Elite V2 features several different modes that will keep players busy for awhile. Online play includes multiplayer cooperative, no PvP. Kill Tally involves you and one other player to survive against waves of enemies with the difficulty increasing over time: first foot soldiers, then snipers, and eventually heavily-armored vehicles spawn as well as enemies with RPGs. It’s a sniper’s heaven if you and a reliable co-op partner can defend yourselves upon one or two different buildings, and let the enemies rush you as you pick them off one by one. The two other modes include completing objectives and the single-player campaign is also available to play cooperatively.
Sniper Elite V2 certainly includes much more sniping techniques than your normal action shooter, which makes it different and fun to play, but it needs more of a storyline and varied missions to emphasize those features. Despite its sub-par and repetitive gameplay, there is still much to do after the SP campaign is completed, making this game worthy enough to at least try it out and see if you have steady aim.