Sniper Elite v2
Some of the most enjoyable aspects of the more popular FPS titles is the ability to take on the role of the sniper and take out the enemy from afar. Sometimes this role is frowned upon as it's seen as less than sporting especially in online modes.
Despite this there are many who enjoy the skills involved with the sniper role and this was highlighted with the success of Sniper Elite a few years ago. Sniper Elite v2 has tried to take this same concept and polish it up to become a more rounded and weighty game.
The concept is fairly simple. You are an American soldier at the closing phases of World War II who has been sent deep behind enemy lines to ensure that the Russians don't reap the spoils of war and scoop up all the Nazi scientists. Being on your own obviously has its drawbacks and things don't always go to plan.
The playing environments are very well done and the bombed out villages and towns are well replicated. There are loads of advantage points and bottle-necks to exploit and the whole game is kept running smoothly with some excellent cut-scenes and voice acting.
Like any lone sniper, your advantage lies in how well you can remain hidden right up to the point that the killing starts. Each of the missions start out the same as you try and get into position without being detected. You are armed with a rifle, sidearm and sub-machine gun and although there are additional weapons to unlock the differences are minimal.
What does become important are the auxiliary explosives that you have at your disposal. In order to advance through the more tricky parts of the game you will need to deal with advancing enemy soldiers that will rain down on your position or set counter measures that will protect you from being flanked.
You have the ability to use grenades, trip-wires, dynamite and land mines. Each provide their own unique blast radius and you'd need to choose which to deploy for different scenarios. Managing this part of the game is essential to deal with large groups of enemies quickly.
But as the title suggests, this game is all about you and your rifle. You are rewarded with head or torso shots as these will normally kill the enemy outright. You can hone your sniping powers by exhaling before you shoot as this slows down time and slightly improves your zoom level.
One of the cool elements of the game is the camera shots that accompany a true kill. The bullet will be tracked by the camera and you'll get to see first-hand the effect of your kill. Sometimes the shot will show the entry and exit path of the bullet and the gruesome effects of that or you'll get to see the wonderful X-ray shot where the internal path of the bullet is tracked and its effect on internal organs etc.
The problem with Sniper Elite v2 is the enemy is sometimes too dumb for their own good. Their movements are predictable and sometimes erratic. Also, enemies will spawn in areas that you have already cleared and this can feel a bit deflating especially in later levels where the game is tough enough.
The difficultly levels are also a little off. Normal level is a little too easy as you are kind of protected with a little more resilience to enemy fire and foes are often easier to kill. Hard level goes to the other extreme where enemies are very proficient and the smallest error can cost you the game.
There are some fun online co-op modes that can bring a different element to the game but on the whole the game is much better when you are in control and the only thing you need to worry about is yourself.