The number of military action games based on the events of World War II has tapered away during the past several years, with the setting focusing on either current or futuristic storylines. Bucking this trend, Rebellion Games is going back to the tail end of WWII with its upcoming third-person action game. Sniper Elite V2 is the follow-up to the 2005 game Sniper Elite. The developers are hoping that the game's open-ended nature and "kill cam" camera mechanic will set it apart from other games.
Sniper Elite V2 puts you in control of Karl Fairburne, a US sniper. He has been sent to Berlin in the midst of post-WWII conflicts between Nazi and Russian forces with the mission of trying to eliminate, capture, or rescue those involved in the famous V2 rocket program.
The story is spread across 11 missions, but how you approach each mission is where the game's open-ended nature comes into play. Like so many other action games, you can customize your arsenal to best suit your play style. Fairburne is equipped with a primary sniper rifle, a machine gun, and a sidearm, as well as a number of different supplementary items. These include explosive mines and trip mines, which can be set up in locations to serve various functions, such as defense mechanisms or traps.
Even though Fairburne is a sniper, you won't be restricted to playing as stealthy soldiers. The different weapons and items let you approach an area in various ways. With your silenced sidearm, you can slowly creep behind enemies and eliminate them. If you're the kind of person who enjoys running and gunning, then your machine gun will let you play with no regard for your safety.
Still, the primary focus is to snipe enemies and use the terrain to your advantage. Enemies will often be far away, so you can eliminate entire squads before they can react. When sniping, the game features both a heart-rate monitor and breathing bar, which factors into shooting. Holding your breath will allow for a more precise shot, but if you're being fired upon and under a lot of pressure, Fairburne's high heart rate makes shooting more difficult.
Kills with your rifle also showcase the game's kill-cam mechanic. When you pull off incredible kill shots, the game momentarily stops the action and goes into a bullet animation that slowly highlights the bullet's trek from the muzzle of your rifle to its target. Based on where the bullet goes, you are treated to an X-ray animation that points out exactly what internal damage has been done, such as shattering skulls and exploding livers. During our presentation, these animations were shown a lot, but we were promised that the frequency of these moments--which can take you out of the experience--will only happen at key moments.
Sniper Elite V2 is scheduled to hit the PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 this May.