Sniper Elite V2 is visually appealing, but once the eye candy wears off, you are left with a bad taste in your mouth.
I had high hopes for this game because there are very few true pure sniping games that are on the market and I love playing as sniper classes in most shooters. Of the few that are out there, the first Sniper Elite was head and shoulders above the rest, so this game had me longing for that authentic sniper experience. My favorite sniping experience in any game was the mission "All Ghillied Up" in COD 4 MW. A close second is the sniper vs sniper battle in MGS 3: Snake Eater.
If you enjoyed the demo, I don't blame you. It was very short for a reason. Any longer, and you might start to discover some serious flaws within the game that would lead to you not purchasing the game. Let me share some of the game's major hiccups so that you don't have to waste your hard earned money on this console to PC port.
Really all this game has going for it is the kill cam animations. Watching where your bullet impacts the body in x-ray vision is something that I wish more games would implement. It never gets old watching a well placed shot wreck organs and bone. The graphics are good but nothing to write home about even at max settings. The environments are well portrayed as having been through war, and bombed buildings look convincing enough but the level design is not anywhere near what it could be, and quite frankly should be.
Being a sniper gives you the opportunity to pick the best vantage point to survey an area and take in your surroundings. However, in Sniper Elite V2, you are often forced down certain alleyways or specific vantage points due to the game's linear play. There are countless times when you want to climb up inside of a building that is not accessible, and some buildings that the developers took the time to make accessible, offer nothing but a few bookshelves and tables, but no line of sight to any part of the level that contains enemies. It seems that they wanted to make the game feel more open than it really is by offering these various useless buildings to explore, other than perhaps to hide a gold bar from plain view. There are hidden gold bars that you can collect, not unlike intel items in modern warfare. There is no jump button, only the ability to climb specific things and some windows. Even the smallest rubble pile that could easily be scaled makes you go around it like it is a massive pillar. When you get several objects close together, it is impossible to go prone, and if you can go prone, you will not be able to maneuver enough to line up a shot, or scurry back to cover. Coming out of cover leaves your entire body exposed as you round the corner with a pivot instead of just leaning only the rifle and your head out which makes you an easy target.
When the level comes near it's end, you are often asked to climb to "the" vantage point, not one of your own choosing. Often times the explosive traps that you have been saving in your inventory can be utilized very well at these times, but there is no way to know where to place them unless you play the level for a second time because there is no real warning as to where the threats are going to come from. Most of the time, you will end up either placing them in spots that seem intelligent at the time, only to find that no enemies ever come from that area, or you won't be able to use them at all because the vantage point overlooks an area you cannot access anyway.
The levels are a bit congested which doesn't allow for that 1000m shot that you so badly want to pull off. Nearly all of your shots will be within 200m. The accuracy of the rifles are great, but the pistols and sub machine guns, now that is a different story altogether. The targeting reticle for both is a broken crosshair of sorts that is spread apart and offers a 2-3 foot guessing game as to where in that gap the bullets will randomly go. I know that perhaps they make it hard to aim those weapons to discourage run and gun tactics, but when you take away the player's options, it can never be a good thing. The grenade and rock throwing arc is very questionable as well. The arc doesn't have a very definitive landing area unless it is really close to you or is aimed at a wall. By the way, there is wind INSIDE of buildings.
Enemies can sometimes spot you behind cover, and can even hit you while behind cover at times. The enemy snipers spot you instantaneously in most cases, and even if you know where they are due to a 2nd playthrough or reloading a checkpoint, they will get a shot off before you 95% of the time. This is especially true on Sniper Elite difficulty which by the way is the only difficulty worth playing on because of how stupid the AI is. You can customize the difficulty to your liking rather than just selecting from one of the 3 presets which is a nice feature that more games should adopt.
The bottom line is, the game just feels like a rush job after they finished honing the kill animations. It is too linear, feels like a console game (aside from aiming rifles), and the story is uninspiring. There is much left to be desired such as more open levels with greater option given to the player, better accuracy on supplemental weapons, and better AI. You can get all of the kill animations in the demo, and that is the game's only real selling point. Just play the demo over and over because you aren't missing much otherwise.