Yes, the core sniping mechanic still rings triumphant, as piercing through the part-crunchy, part-gooey interior's of skeleton-men NPCs is fantastic and hugely rewarding. The writing's on the wall however, as this one trick pony can’t sing a symphony with one note alone.
Poor, poor Sniper Elite V2. Here was a game that couldve been great, innovative, or at the very least noteworthy. Unfortunately however, what Sniper Elite V2 actually is, is 11 linear corridors full of stupid AI Nazis. Its bland, awkward, strangely barren to the point of feeling like a HD update and ultimately very, very short. Yes, the core sniping mechanic still rings triumphant, as piercing through the part-crunchy, part-gooey interior's of skeleton-men NPCs is fantastic and hugely rewarding. The writing's on the wall however, as this one trick pony cant sing a symphony with one note alone. Re-reading my preview for Sniper, written just over a month ago having had hands-on time with the game, I think it was fair to say that I was smitten. And thats because Sniper makes a great first impression, thats if you skip the awkward and confusing tutorial to get your teeth sunk into the first gory kill cam of the match. Because simulating realistic ballistics and emergent destruction is what Sniper has down to the letter, its just the rest of the game that stinks so badly. Whether its constantly forcing you into claustrophobic interior stealth sequences where your cookie cutter character just isnt mechanically equipped to succeed (being, you know, a sniper) or forcing you to watch low-res, poorly produced cut scenes at the end of each level, theres just so much the game does to actively stop you from enjoying it. When youre out in the open, looking for targets, racking up the body bags and counter sniping, the game is fantastic. Who cares if a video game is short and the story is purely perfunctory? If the mechanics are genuinely fun, then youll always find ways to amuse yourself. And thats really why playing Sniper is such a heart breaking shame: because the mechanics are great, theres just not enough room to really sit and enjoy them. In the rare moments of freedom where youre able to tackle a goal as you see fit, the game shines. Unfortunately however, this new insistence on linearity means youll be walking down corridors, watching NPCs spawn in the same places every time you play. Using advanced tactics, like employing trip mines to cover your flanks, are useful but only once. On a second playthrough everything is so familiar theres no element of surprise you have to account for. By that stage you know where the enemies will be coming from and youll be lazily trying to score a few more moving headshots. I finished the game in just over six hours and then finished it again on Sniper Elite, the hard mode that asks you to account for wind as well as gravity, in just under another six. Theres multiplayer here, with some few interesting modes like kill tally (horde mode lite) and a co-op campaign option, but what with the AI being so dumb, theres no real finesse or shelf life here unless you can find a partner as willing to commit as you. All in all Sniper Elite V2 passes through quickly enough. Its a polite guest not out-staying its welcome, and yeah youll have some laughs as the game does have one or two really great moments, and yes itll piss you off with his boorish ways, but ultimately you wont even think about this game come a month from now.
Sniper Elite V2 is released on PC, XBox 360 and PS3 on Friday 4th May.