Sniper Elite v2 Review - www.impulsegamer.com -
Sniper Elite v2
Reviewed by
Edwin Millheim
on
Sniper Elite v2 PC Preview. Gamers can try before they buy, with the Sniper V2 Demo out on most plat forms. Or you can take the plunge after seeing so many videos of gory yet oddly cool sniper shots on youtube and reading the reviews.
Rating:
3.4

Gameplay 7.0
Graphics 6.5
Sound 6.5
Value 7.5
Review Date: May 2012
Developer:
Rebellion
Reviewer:
Edwin Millheim

6.8


Sniper Elite V2
(PC Version Reviews - Game Also Available on XBox 360 & PS3)

I was belly crawling through Hell. Buildings all around me lay in ruin, some partially destroyed, some burning, and others fully collapsed inward. Smoke and burning embers moved with the occasional breeze. This was good because I could gauge the wind from this and the movement of the few trees left standing. (So ok, the game does not take the movement of the trees or other objects to show the wind into the consideration…but I am on a narrative here.

I freeze as I see a pair of jack boots walking across the road, the burnt out truck I am crawling behind blocks me from the German Soldiers view. I look around as best I can to spot any of his buddies, no one else in site. Getting up into a crouch and using the wheel of the truck as cover, I steal a glance around the corner. The guy walks past me. Not alert at all. I wait and then move in slow, trying to match his foot falls so the crunching of my boots is masked. Just behind him now, a fast grab at his neck and chin, a sudden sharp jerk and the man is down. I pick up the body and move it behind a half destroyed wall so no other patrols find him. A fast search yields a few more rounds I can use for my gun.

Moving back out and down to the corner, I take out my binoculars. Looking slowly over the scene ahead back one way slowly then the next, I see no other patrols. Moving my view further up, something catches my eye a movement up on the fifth floor of a ruined building. It’s A German Sniper.

At this time I start to hear the rumble of bombs blasting the hell out of some target. If I do this right I can take him out without alerting anyone around.

Taking out my rifle I scope the area again, just to see if I missed anything. Guy Is still there, he changed his position a bit though. I place my cross hairs on him and then up two mil dots, and over left by three. (Through the cross hair playing at this level the game shows the wind effect to be strong and I adjust.) I wait for another round of bombs going off, and send one down range. The bullet leaves the barrel closing the distance and catches the guy in the jaw line spraying teeth and skull and shards of jawbone mixed with gore everyplace. Not the head shot I was going for, but dead is dead. My target is smoke checked so I move on.

Moving up and around more fallen buildings I find a hole in a building and head down. The steps move down to what looks like a basement and I crouch and walk onward. That’s when I make a really stupid mistake. Instead of hugging the wall and checking around the corner first, I enter the room. There big as life are two more German soldiers. They yell out and I try to get my Thompson Machine gun for some close in work. Two more from the back room enter; MP-40’s spitting lead everyplace. This is going to get real interesting I could tell.

Sniper Elite V2 from Rebellion has some minor nicks and battle damage itself coming out of the gate. These issues do not diminish the fun and coolness factor of this game. I will first get those that I have observed out of the way after giving you the gist of the story.

Sniper Elite V2 was developed by Rebellion and co-published with 505 Games. Made for the PS3 and Xbox 360 as well as the PC, the PC version was a self pre order purchase for review purposes a while back and downloaded recently on STEAM. So this review is based on the PC version.

Our hero for the game is Karl Fairburne, an OSS officer who is inserted into Berlin in 1945, during the final days of World War II. The missions are to track down and either recruit or get rid of the Nazi Germany Scientists that have knowledge of the V2 rocket program. Fairburne of course has his hands full since the missions will not only put him in conflict with the Nazi soldiers, but the Soviets who may also be there to find what they can on the V-2 program.

The game does have some slight hiccups. Some clipping that really does not affect the game as far as I could tell. Walking through objects such as street lamp posts in a couple levels was a bit jarring, tearing me from the experience.

There is also something going on that is more of a design choice and not a bug. The designers chose to go with an auto generating health feature to the game. It feels like there is a lot less to lose here and players can be a lot less careful in their stalking if they know they can take a good amount of damage and not have to worry about it.

Some people on the message boards have reported enemy AI KNOWING where they are no matter what once they fired a rifle shot from long range. After a lot of experimentation, I found that there had been times where I thought I was well hid, but they see me. The point here is, that if they just turn around and are looking around then spot you…you are not as well hidden as you think. I then tried shooting from a well hidden spot and scooted around a wall just to see what would happen. The enemy could not see me. So they ran off doing an area by area search. They did eventually find me and put an end to my sniping career. The thing is, they did not just automatically know where I was, the AI put them in a search of all the areas and buildings they could go into, upstairs and down, and they found me just like any real troops would eventually if you stayed in one spot as they searched, so firing from cover and then also hiding behind something a bit more solid will keep you hidden.

The game is a third person shooter, with a heaping helping of stealth mechanics involved. Playing as a Sniper you can make your way past certain areas with patrols if you are extremely patient and take it slow. There are three stances in the game, standing, which you just run when you’re standing. Then crouching, this way you are silent and move with slow purpose. Then there is prone, where your crawl presumably in a stealthy fashion. Some areas I could not really see how to get around without being seen one way or the other.

There are various tools of the trade that you may implement; setting traps here and there by use of trip wire explosives, mines and stones you can throw for distracting tactics. There are bundles of dynamite as well, but I will talk a bit more about those in my section I talk about tanks and explosive kills.

There are enemy snipers afoot so taking them out first may be foremost a priority. As noted in my bit of storytelling in the beginning, there are some levels that have environmental sounds that can assist in masking your shots. Timing your shot and choosing when you take a target out takes some strategy. Because dropping a target anyplace near where another soldier is patrolling will cause the soldier walking near a body to notice.

Battles do not always take place at long range, and you may find all at once things are a bit close and fast happening to depend on the sniper rifle.
There is of course your trusty sniper rifle for long range shots, then a machine gun slot for medium and close in work. Then for close silent kills there is a silenced pistol. You can load out with other pistol and machine gun types, but thus far there is only one silenced pistol.

Difficulty setting do have some impact, the different levels are: (Taken from the games Manual)

Cadet: For players that want to snipe without too much of a challenge and no bullet ballistics applied to sniper shots. All tactical assistance features (Threat Indicator, Tagging, and Ghost Image) are active.

Marksman: For players that want a fair challenge and a bit more realism. Your stance will have an effect on your scope’s steadiness and gravity will affect your bullets. All tactical assistance features are active.

Sniper Elite: For the ultimate challenge. The enemy will hunt you down relentlessly and with brutal precision. Wind will also affect your shots and your heart rate and stance will have a greater bearing on the steadiness of your rifle. All tactical assistance features are disabled.

Custom: Craft an experience to suit you. Choose between 3 difficulty settings for Enemy Skill, Ballistic Realism & Tactical Assistance for your perfect Sniper Elite challenge.
Now I did notice that depending on the level of difficulty, the annoying auto regenerating health takes a bit more time to fill you back up with health, either that or enemy rounds do more damage at higher levels, which of course makes sense. Because trying it out in Cadet and Marksman, I was able to take a massive amount of hits, while in Sniper Elite mode; it took two rounds from an enemy sniper to take me out. I am really divided on the auto health regeneration. I know on the one hand the developers want to make it a game where players won’t get frustrated with their on screen characters dying a lot. On the flip side it would have been nice to have health as one of the things you can control in a more customized mission. With or without health packs it makes it that much more reason to keep it stealthy as possible for as long as possible.

As the game stands if you can find some cover from enemy fire, you are good to go. Your health (No health bar) regenerates. There’s no health indicator, as damage mounts, the world gets gray and loss of colors and sound becomes more and more muffled. If this happens and you do not get out of the line of fire fast enough, you are finished.

Sniping is of course the name of the game, while I would not go so far as to say it is an accurate representation or anything that will make this game a sniper simulator. I would say game wise it is a good representation on a deadly skill of the sniper. Players do have to be mindful of the heart rate, so running about and bringing the heart rate up will result in being less accurate with your sniper shot. You can also empty your lungs of air to become more accurate for a short time. If the heart rate is below 65 beats per minute players can get the focus time effect, this seems to slow time down for a few seconds making your shot all the more deadly accurate.

As noted in the different difficulty levels, at higher levels the game does do it’s best to make wind a factor, by giving us an extra little tick mark in the scope site representing wind effect on the bullet. As well as some bullet drop. I do not agree with some of my colleagues that use the term Sniper Simulator in describing Sniper Elite V2. If it was a Sniper Simulator, we would have a mind boggling amount of things with the wind alone to take into consideration. Deciding which wind to shoot through and which to compensate through for instance. IE, near wind vs. far wind. We would have all kind of Wind and range estimations to work on. For a hard core simulation fan, that niche audience that would be great. I know I would enjoy that. But I must say Sniper Elite V2 is a darn fun game.

I say game because you are not in reality going to stop a tank, let alone cause it to explode with a sniper shot. Rebellion makes this part of the game though, so you can cause a tank to explode, Just the same with some vehicles with a well-placed round on the red indicator of a fuel tank gas cap. It makes it part of the game of skill and timing to get a shot and the results are satisfying. A resulting explosion from a vehicle will take out troops near it, so it is a fast way of leveling the odds a little better on your side.

In the note of explosive kills, you may also throw out bundles of dynamite and hit these as an enemy is near if you want to be particularly brutal in your target take outs. Further, a well-placed shot on one of the grenades an enemy has on their belt will cause an explosive conclusion to the situation. Though the developers did not use anything close to accurate explosive damage on a human body…IE no body parts flying all over the place. I guess is that it was hard enough to get classifications or releases with some of the brutal and pretty accurate depictions of what a well-placed sniper round can do to the human body.

Of course just about everyone has seen in one form or another has seen the new improved bullet kill cam with a twist. Getting a good shot off, the camera tracks the round in a slowdown motion and then sometimes will give you an X-ray view of the target. This view shows the bullet destroying bone and tissue and internal organs in gore-tastic detail. If nothing else it should give just about anyone with no real knowledge of what a bullet can do, a new found respect for this destructive force. The developers have also accurately depicted the round leaving the target, with a mushroomed tip, or fragmented and going into a tumble. The only thing they did not include is the massive air displacement causing a cavitation effect. The temporary cavity may be much larger than the bullet and lasts only a few milliseconds before collapsing into the permanent cavity or wound. Pretty much there are three mechanisms of tissue damage due to bullets: laceration and crushing, shock waves, and cavitation, and this game as stated, shows a lot of this almost unsettlingly well.

That being said, this is a clear case of you better be a parent and educate yourself, if your kid is too young for this sort of thing and you do not want them playing it. Do not let them because it gives a pretty accurate representation of the damage done.

Graphically the game does a good job of taking the player into different locations during the WW2 era, from ruined cities, to Nazi research facilities. All of it looks appropriately grungy as needed. Outdoor areas are well done, and the indoor areas are just as well made graphically. Even with new drivers I could detect some minor ripple graphical tearing, this was minor. Some times while looking at the back of my characters head I could not help but feel like I was looking at a plastic GI Joe Head.

For those wondering about the rig we played and reviewed the game on here are the specs:

AMD Phenom II X6 Processor 3.20 GHZ, 64 bit operating system, 8 gigs of memory, OS Windows 7 Home Premium, with an Nvidia Geforce GTX 570 Graphics card.

Sound is pleasing indeed, from the chatter of machine gun fire to the blast of explosions and the crack of your sniper rifle and the muffled sound of a round going off from your silenced pistol. Foot falls and the crunch of boots on ground and the chatter of soldiers all give it a nice you are there feel. Add this with the music which adds to the tension of events taking place, though it never comes off as intrusive. There are times when I almost forgot a sound track was going on, it sort of melded into everything, but it was there.

Level design for such a game must have led to massive choices on what would work and what would not. Some section may feel a bit linear and forced, while others do a fair job of giving you more than one limited path to go, or at least gives you a few things to explore to make it feel like you have more than one choice. Plus there are some areas where you can decide to make a go at it being stealthy.
It shows some promise for replay ability with different custom difficulty level options, as well as some unconfirmed rumor from an online board post that support was planned, though it was unclear in what capacity.

There are also multiplayer options listed again here from the player’s manual.

Campaign: Play through Single-Player Campaign missions with a friend.

Kill Tally: Waves of enemies are storming your position. Eliminate as many enemies as you can to get the highest possible kill count. Keep each other safe; if either of you die, the mission ends.

Bombing Run: A bombing run is scheduled to take place in your area soon and you need to escape, but your only getaway vehicle needs to be repaired. Search the area for parts the vehicle before the bombs begin to fall. Your presence is unknown to the enemy at the start, but player’s should expect stiff opposition once you’re spotted.

Overwatch: Combine separate sets of skills in these co-op missions, where one of you plays as a Sniper and the other as an Operative. The former only has a Sniper Rifle and has to cover the Operative as he tries to complete varying sets of objectives. The Operative has an SMG and binoculars, with which he can tag enemies for the Sniper to take out.

Sniper Elite V2 is very much worth a go. The game as the title implies has plenty of third person action going on here, with a good dose of sniping opportunities. The kill cam with the X-ray twist is novel but used too much can get actually old fast, used as a reward for a well-placed Sniper shot would have been better. This would have given the player that sense of reward and accomplishments. This does not make the game bad or a major let down in anyway. It is just an observation and my humble opinion.

Gamers can try before they buy, with the Sniper V2 Demo out on most plat forms. Or you can take the plunge after seeing so many videos of gory yet oddly cool sniper shots on YouTube and reading the reviews. I’m Edwin Millheim, I am a Gamer and I am enjoying the heck out of it.

Have fun, play games.

Edwin Millheim
Impulse Gamer

Buy here from Amazon (PC) or Buy here from Amazon (360)

 






 
 



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