2 Shots, 4 Kills
Sniper Elite V2 brings a mix of historical authenticity and shooter thrills.
Published: April 20, 2012
Even your characters breathing and heart rate play a role. When you look down scope, you see an indicator of your heart rate. The higher it is, the shakier your aim will be. Actions like running, mantling and being discovered or shot at raise it. Keeping it low also helps regenerate and extend the duration of your focus ability, which causes you to hold your breath and greatly increase your accuracy for a short time. Tim showed me that on lower difficulty levels, fewer factors played into the simulation, making spectacular shots a breeze. But on the highest difficulty setting, it's a full simulation with no extra indicators or assists – for true snipers only. AWP monkeys need not apply.
For as much effort went in to creating a believable setting and a realistic sniping model, the game isn't afraid to take liberties for the sake of fun. After all, a game where you play a lone sniper with nothing but a rifle, sitting around waiting for one target, while realistic, wouldn't be very enjoyable. So to keep it engaging, there are a bunch of spectacular things you can do that make it possible for a lone sniper to handle extreme combat scenarios. For instance, it's possible to strike an enemy's grenade satchel, causing them to explode and bring down a bunch of their buddies with them. Somewhat more realistically, you can maim an enemy soldier instead of killing him outright in the hopes of drawing one of his allies out of cover to save him. Quite a bit less authentic however, is how armored vehicles all have conveniently exposed and brightly colored gas caps, which upon shooting, cause them to go up in a fiery ball of death. This pushed my suspension of disbelief a bit far to be honest, but then again, I like my games more boring and realistic than the next guy so who am I to say. My favorite part was when the gentleman driving the demo took up a high powered 7.76mm based rifle and killed 4 Nazi soldiers with 2 pulls of the trigger, owing to the extreme penetration of the round at the range he was standing. Good times.
We closed out the session with some co-op play where I took on the role of the sniper while Tim kindly spotted for me. In this mode, the spotter uses a set of binoculars to “paint” targets for the sniper, who takes up a fixed position and supports the spotter as he completes a series of objectives. It led to some great moments, the best of which was when Tim was caught reloading on the third floor of a building across the courtyard from mine as an enemy rounded the corner on him. Focusing and taking aim, I put one right in the back of his head and dropped him before he could open fire. It was like one of those sniper movie moments you always see but (usually) don't get to be a part of. I can see this mode extending the life of the game considerably.
So that was all the time I had with Sniper Elite V2. I didn't expect to find it as atmospheric and engaging as I did. Whether those qualities will hold up to an entire game experience as opposed to a directed demo, are for our own Aram Lecis to determine. He'll be providing the full review sometime around the game's May 4th release date. As for myself, I sincerely hope the game lives up to the potential I saw. While it occasionally spins out into the spectacular, it's an altogether more grounded, methodical experience than military shooters have come to be, and as a person who enjoys thinking just as much as shooting, I quite enjoyed my time with it.