I am happy to say V2 builds on the highlights of its predecessor with the addition of a new 'X-Ray Kill Cam'
Ask any army general and you will be told that a well placed sniper is the army's deadliest weapon, capable of changing the direction of the war at the cost of just a few accurately fired shots. Relating that viewpoint to the world of digital gaming, ask any avid FPS (first person shooter) gamer and they will tell you that a sniper rifle is THE Holy Grail. Easier said than done; A real sniper will tell you that it's not as simple as aligning the cross-hair of a rifle scope on a target's head and expecting 100% accuracy with every shot. Back in 2005, developers Rebellion and Ubisoft proved just that and broke new ground in the way gamers handled a high powered sniper rifle. Using real world physics, Sniper Elite on PlayStation 2 revolutionized FPS gaming by making the gamer calculate where the bullet will hit, before squeezing down on the trigger.
On starting up the game, I was expecting Sniper Elite V2 to be the highly anticipated sequel, with V2 indicating part 2. However, it turns out that this game is more of an altered re-make of the 2005 version, but developed for the PS3/Xbox 360 graphics engines. The single player campaign and built-in story takes us back to the last days of World War II, or specifically, "The Battle of Berlin". American OSS officer Karl Fairburne is inserted into Berlin to track and eliminate Nazi scientists assigned to the V2 Rocket Program Germany's last ditch attempt at winning the war by using long range ballistic missiles aimed at allied targets within Europe.
Having played the original game and loved its very realistic sniping mechanism, I am happy to say V2 builds on the highlights of its predecessor with the addition of a new 'X-Ray Kill Cam' mechanism. Bringing back two of the original game's selling points Bullet Cam and Ballistics Trajectory, the X-Ray Kill Cam adds that much more eye-candy in rewarding the player with a perfectly timed kill shot. Let me explain; Call it an FPS gamer's wet dream, Bullet Cam tracks the path of a bullet from the moment it exits the rifle's muzzle till it enters the enemy's body and the blood splatter it creates on impact, all in spectacular slow motion. X-Ray Kill Cam does all this with exceptional detail, and then some. Not only do you see the bullet spin during its flight path, you get to see the gory details as it enters the body and pierce vital organs or shatter skull and bones before it makes a bloody and gaping exit wound. Now imagine two enemy soldiers patrolling an area, or marching in formation where one soldier is a few meters directly behind the other. Line up your rifle, fire, and watch what one bullet does to two enemies. Phenomenal!
Now all this is really sweet with the game's difficulty levels set low. But if you are up for a real challenge, try playing the game with increased difficulty levels that benefit from real world physics, including the Bullet Trajectory mechanism. For an accurate hit, the player now has to compensate for 'bullet drop' or the downward gravitational pull on a bullet, while also gauging for wind strength and direction, and the shooter's heart and breathing rate. In other words, a steadily poised shot is near impossible if the shooter has a BPM (blood pressure monitor) over 60 counts.
If you prefer running and gunning, the Call of Duty franchise is always a superior option. But like a real sniper, if you like the thrill of a hunt equipped with skills of stealth, patience and a calculating mind, nothing currently out there beats the game mechanics of Sniper Elite V2. Combining third-person perspective for movement and first person perspective when sniping, this game offers the best of both modes. Although the choice of firearms are limited to only three rifles, each varying in muzzle velocity, scope magnification, clip capacity and rate of fire, the player can also choose between one of three sub-machine guns for close quarter combat or when caught up in a sticky situation. There is also the single action Welrod, a suppressed pistol for silent kills along with the much louder grenades for snuffing out multiple enemies.
On the negative side, I found enemy AI to be inconsistent. For instance, enemy snipers will fire at you from almost half a kilometer away but sometimes they will be oblivious to your shooter even as close as 100 meters away. Perhaps this was because I first played the game with the easiest settings. Having turned up the difficulty a couple of notches, I found enemy soldiers will go to the extent of flushing you out of your vantage point once they are alerted of your intrusion. Then again, there is always the option of covering your tracks with strategically placed booby traps comprising of trip-wires, land mines and sticks of dynamite KABOOM!
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