One shot can change history

User Rating: 6.5 | Sniper Elite V2 X360
Sniper Elite V2 is a third-person tactical shooter set at the end of World War 2. You play as Karl Fairburne, an American Office of Strategic Services (OSS) officer, who is sent to Germany in order to capture or kill Nazi and Soviet scientists involved in the V2 rocket program. The game takes place from April to May in 1945. The storyline is actually based on two actual U.S. missions during the war: Operation Overcast and Operation Paperclip, in which the Allies planned to recruit defecting Nazi and Soviet scientists. You start out with three different weapons: a sniper rifle, a pistol, and a machine gun. The default weapons are standard Allied weapons from the war. However, you are able to pick up dropped weapons from fallen enemies, though you don't receive much ammo from those guns. As you progress through the game, newer weapons are unlocked and can be chosen before each new mission begins. The game should take an average of ten hours to play through, but depending on your style of play, it could take a shorter amount of time, or a longer amount of time.

The Good
Sniper Elite's realism really shines through, especially on the highest difficulty. Wind, gravity, stance, heartbeat, and weapon affect each shot you take. On the easiest difficulty, you can aim the center of the crosshairs where you want the bullet to hit. At the medium difficulty, gravity plays more of a factor on your shot. The farther away you are from the target, the higher you'll have to aim. On the highest difficulty, everything is taken into account. You have absolutely no help on lining up your shot.
The "kill cams" happen when a particularly nice shot is made. Time slows down as the camera focuses in on the spinning bullet. As it moves closer to the target, time slows down even more. When the bullet hits, an x-ray version of the enemy is displayed, showing the damage done by your bullet. If you lined up a head shot, you will see the skull explode outwards. If your bullet hits the chest, you may see the heart explode. So if you hit a 1000+ meter headshot, you have the satisfaction of knowing exactly what kind of damage was done.
The game really revolves around stealth. It's a nice step-back from the usual "run-and-gun" games that we've had for the last few years. Sneaking past a squad of enemy soldiers and then picking them off one by one is quite satisfying in its own way. However, shooting isn't always the best route. One shot could let the enemies discover your location, making it much more difficult to get good shots. Choose when to shoot, or choose not to shoot; it's all up to you.

The Bad
Like most games, this one isn't perfect. It certainly has its flaws. Learning when to use your gadgets could take some time. If you set a trip mine up too soon, chances are you won't have it to use in a more crucial situation. The AI seems a little omniscient, meaning they always seem to know where you are, even if a shot hasn't been fired. The tutorial tells you that going prone will greatly improve your chances of staying unseen. However, the AI doesn't seem to understand that. It can get quite frustrating when you're sure you have the perfect position to take a shot, and a random enemy starts firing at you before you fire a single shot. Enemies also seem to have eyes in the back of their heads. When you try to sneak past a couple of soldiers, they turn around firing at you. It doesn't happen all of the time, but it happens often enough to get quite annoying.
The killcams are pretty cool when you first see them. But it seems like they happen with every kill. Obviously you'd like to see a killcam when a long-range headshot happens. But it seems that, even with the most basic shots, the killcam is activated. Once you've seen a killcam from every possible vantage point, which totals about five or six, nothing changes the next time you get a critical kill.
If you don't want to be stealthy all of the time, and no one blames you if you don't, you are equipped with a machine gun. However, you are not given much ammo for it, forcing you to go back to your sniper rifle or, as a last resort, your pistol. Yes, you can pick up guns from fallen enemies, but there is very little ammo in the guns you pick up. If you are using an enemies' weapon, you can collect ammo for it by looting their bodies. Unfortunately, you still don't get much ammo from doing that. This game really is meant to be played by people who like the sneaking around style.
The multiplayer is lackluster in its gameplay. It can be quite boring for certain people in certain modes. Come to think of it, it's really not multiplayer. I think co-op is a more appropriate term. That's not to say you shouldn't at least try it out once. Who knows, you may like it. Personally, I didn't really get into it as much as I had hoped. I'll take Call of Duty or Battlefield multiplayer over Sniper Elite multiplayer (co-op).

The Ugly
I ran in to quite a few glitches, some much more frustrating than others. I'll give you an example. During the first mission after the prologue, there was a spot that I came across to hide and pick off enemies. I was in a (rare) intact building, hidden by shadows. I went prone and moved toward a window on the upper level. As I went to a crouching position, a shot rang out, hitting me. I immediately went prone, wondering who possibly saw me that quickly. I moved over to the other window, still prone. As I crouched again, I was hit a second time. By this point, I was getting rather confused. I knew no one else was in the building with me. I went back to the lower level and moved against the far wall. I was able to see out the window, and noticed quite a few enemies walking about, but none of them were moving in a nervous kind of way. So I knew they weren't responsible for shooting at me. I decided to head back up. I quickly went to the window, and just as quickly backed off. As I had hoped, a shot rang out. To me, it looked like it had come from an upper window from the building across the street. I backed up a little, not letting my entire body fill the window. I brought up my scope, zoomed in, and started searching the windows. I didn't see anything. None of the windows were open. Now I was very confused.
I moved further into the building from the ground floor until I came across a spot that allowed me to see the entire street. Again, the enemies were casually patrolling the area, not knowing I was there. I brought up my scope and started searching the ruined buildings further down the street. I noticed a glint coming from the top floor and zoomed in. There, lying prone was an enemy sniper, facing the top floor window I had been occupying minutes earlier. The only problem was that there was a building in his line of sight! It was the same building that I had thought the shot originated from. Basically, that sniper was able to shoot through an intact building and hit me, without actually seeing me. It was one of the most frustrating parts of the game for me. Luckily, those types of glitches are few and far between.
One last thing that kind of pissed me off: the release date fiasco. The game was set to release on May 1st. However, very few stores, if any, received a shipment. As far as I can guess, the company or companies responsible for shipping out the game messed up. It could have been miscommunicated somehow. I don't know. But the game wasn't available in stores until two or three days after the release date. I understand problems happen. But as far as I know, no one has confessed to screwing something up.

Final Thoughts
All in all, Sniper Elite V2 is a nice change from Call of Duty and Battlefield, in terms of single player. The missions are a decent length, although it may get too long at certain points. The multiplayer (co-op) leaves much to be desired, but should be tried at least once. Obviously, this game doesn't have the fanfare of Call of Duty or Battlefield. But it's certainly worth buying and playing through. Once you get the hang of it, the replay value skyrockets. So have fun, enjoy the killcams, and try multiplayer (co-op) at least once.