Quick look: Sniper Elite V2
Team Fortress Classic was released in 1999 as a mod for Half-Life. It's a port of the Team Fortress mod for Quake. It contains nine classes: Scout, Sniper, Solder, Medic, Demolition, Heavy Weapons Guy, Pyro, Engineer and Spy. Of those, only one stood out for me: the sniper. Equipped with a crowbar, railgun, assault rifle, and, of course, a sniper rifle, it was my go-to class of choice. I constantly played defense, hiding whereever I could and sniping the enemy. The longer you held down the attack button, the stronger the impact of your shot would be. If fully charged, the enemy would explode when shot, raining down a pile of blood and bones.
I was hooked.
From there, I tried sniping in a slew of games: Call of Duty, Medal of Honor, Battlefield, Silent Scope.. none of them ever felt as easy and satisfying as the sniping class from Team Fortress, so that's what I stayed with. Thirteen years later, I'm still playing as the sniper class in Team Fortress, and no other experience has ever been as satisfying.. until yesterday.
When the first Sniper Elite game came out, I was excited. A full game dedicated to sniping? Sign me up! The game, however, just wasn't fun. The graphics were muddy and dark, often leading to frustrating deaths. Needless to say, I was a little hesitant when the demo for Sniper Elite V2 popped up. I'm glad I gave it a shot.
You play as an officer for the American Office of Strategic Services, out to capture or kill the scientists involved in the German V-2 rocket program. You're equipped with WWII-era weapons: a standard sniper rifle (you get an upgraded rifles later in the game), a handful of machine guns, a silenced Welrod pistol, and several secondary weapons like dynamite, grenades, tripwires, and land mines. You even have rocks that you can throw to distract an enemy. It's all pretty standard issue stuff, but the thing that sets Sniper Elite V2 apart from the competition is the gameplay.
As I mentioned above, you have many ways to dispose of enemies. If you're a decent player, though, you'll never need these, as you'll rarely be spotted. Once an enemy is killed, you can search their bodies for ammunition, you can take their weapons, or you can pick up and move their bodies so other enemies don't run across them.
Stealth, as it should be, is a heavy focus on this game. You're encouraged to move silently. In a few of the levels, there will be loud sounds - from explosions, loudspeakers, machinery, etc - and you will be able to run for that brief period of time. You can also take a shot without worrying about other enemies hearing your gun.
You're equipped with binoculars as well, which help you survey each area. You can "tag" enemies, leaving a red mark above their head. If you focus on the enemies when they're tagged, it will tell you a bit of information about them, including how far away they are from you. This helps out tremendously, and you're able to stop and think about which order you want to take the enemies out in (you obviously want to take out the furthest ones away out first so other enemies don't notice the body).
There are a number of things to factor in before you take your shot. The game accounts for bullet drop across distance, how the wind will effect the bullet, and the effect of holding your breath to steady your shot (ProTip™: Do it, it's effective). In the easier difficulties of the game, you don't have to worry about bullet drop distance or wind speed and direction.
That brings us to the best part of the game - the kills. As I mentioned before, I'm spoiled by TFC. I'm used to seeing enemies explode when I get a great shot. That doesn't exactly happen in Sniper Elite, but two awesome things happen when you get a great shot - the camera follows the bullet, or you get an X-Ray shot. I'll explain both.
When the camera follows the bullet, it's exactly as it sounds. The camera follows the bullet from your sniper rifle to the point of impact, usually swirling around the bullet a few times.
For the X-Ray shot, it can start off exactly like when the camera follows the bullet, but when it gets to the enemy, you get to see a skeleton with internal organs and the point of impact.
(Warning: Kind of graphic)
This leads to all sorts of crazy shots, but my favorite, by far, are the trick shots. So far, I've sniped two people at once (went through one guy's head and hit another, also in his head), I've shot the fingers right off of a guy, I've had a bullet literally go through the enemy's sniper scope and through his eye, and my favorite, the grenade shot.
(These aren't my videos)
This game hasn't had a large release. It took me a week to track down a copy, but it was well worth it. I'm still making my way through this game and I'm only on the fifth or sixth level.
This is, by far, one of my favorite games this generation. If you have any interest in sniping at all, give this game a shot. If I had to rate it thus far, I would give it fifty thousand Schrute bucks out of five Stanley nickles (that's a 5/5).
Sniper Elite V2 is now available for the XBox 360, PS3, and PC, with an MSRP of $49.99. The game features a single player campaign and a co-op portion, of which you can co-op through the single player missions, a horde mode, a "bombing run" mode (where you have to find parts to repair a vehicle so you can escape before the bombs fall), and an overwatch mode, where one person plays as a sniper and the other plays as an operative who can tag enemies for the sniper to take out.