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Hands-On With Sniper Elite v2

Nowadays, I find myself getting less and less excited by new releases. That’s because most of the new releases aren’t really ‘new’ at all. The third or fourth installment of title x/y/z is cool, but it’s a rarity to see something refreshing hit the shelves. After scouring the Xbox Marketplace and noticing a demo for Sniper Elite v2, an upcoming remake of Rebellion’s original title for the Xbox and PC, I thought I’d try it out, and I’m glad that I did.

It’s 1945 and you play as Karl Fairburne; an ally Sniper positioned in Germany. The Germans have been secretly working on the V-2 rocket; the first long-range combat-ballistic missile ever created. You’ve been tasked to bring this technology to the allies. The main focus of the game is the recovery of this V2 information, normally retrieved via the assassination or capture of German scientists. Your objective in the demo mission is to plant explosives along a planned route of travel for one of the scientists and to make sure it goes boom.

The demo begins in the upper story of a ruined house. After quickly familiarizing myself with the basic controls, I crouch against a window by tapping Y and begin to zoom in with my scope by holding the left trigger, taking me into first person. Everything ahead looks clear. The ruined streets of Schöneberg look relatively quiet, and then I notice a German Lieutenant just kicking back in the doorway of a building to my right. I hit up on the D pad to zoom in before pressing down RB to hold my breath, which briefly puts the game in slow-mo. Depending on which difficulty you are playing, your actions from here will dramatically change.

From hammering the demo in all three difficulties, I soon notice how different each of my playthroughs were. Cadet scraps the idea of realism and makes the game no different to any other shooter out there. If you’re playing the game in Marksman difficulty, you’ll have to compensate for bullet-drop over the distance of your shots. You do this by paying attention to the mil-dots on the reticle of Sniper Rifle. On the highest difficulty mode, Sniper Elite, you also have to compensate for bullet-drift over distance. This is done by paying attention to the wind indicator at the top of your reticle. Oh, and you also have to take into account the movement of your enemies. Effectively; getting a head shot on this difficulty makes scoring a no scope on COD or Halo, child’s play. Take time with your shots and you'll get a huge feeling of satisfaction.

I’m a big dog and I know no fear, so I decide to play on the highest difficulty. I notice the wind is blowing to my right, so taking account of this and the bullet-drop; I position my shot just above the left of his head. I fire. In slow motion, the bullet roars out of the barrel of my sniper, the camera following the path of the bullet from behind. It makes contact and rips through the guy’s neck, leaving a crater for an exit wound.

Sniper Elite v2 Killcam
I start laughing to myself. Not because of how graphically violent it was (and believe me, some of the slow-mo kills are very graphic) but because I feel like a badass. This game really does make you feel like a king. I lower my weapon and proceed to the bottom of the house via a climb down the ruined ceiling, ending up at two windows. Making my way to the one on the right I crouch down and pull out my binoculars. Zooming ahead, I notice eight or nine soldiers casually patrolling the streets. The cool thing about Sniper v2 is the sense of realism it evokes. Past shooters have come pretty close to re-enacting the simulation of true warfare, but it starts to suck when you realise you can run in all guns blazing and manage to wipe out everything on the screen with little difficulty. Sniper v2 gives a stern slap on the arse to anyone who attempts to play the game this way, it's just not possible. It places you in the depth of the action and requires you to think as if you were truely on the battlefield. You can mark enemies by placing cursors on them via the binoculars. I’ve found the best bet is to wait until an enemy is alone and take them out whilst it’s quiet. I learnt this the hard way; nine soldiers are collectively firing at me after placing a poor shot which resulted in their friend’s bollocks being literally blown apart. This game is awesome.

To be honest, that should pretty much sell it. We’ve all tried shooting a guy in the balls before. It’s crude and tactless but nearly all game engines won’t take into account the true devastation of your actions. Sniper v2 does. I’m awarded 800 points and told I placed a ‘vital shot’. Sniper v2 rewards you for the accuracy and skill of your shots, taking into account distance and other factors respectively. A crude, last minute shot through an enemy’s ankle at close distance won’t score you well, but place a bullet through the forehead of enemy sniper a few hundred feet away and you’ll feel satisfaction like no other.

After seeing to this guy’s friends and making a mess of his buddy sniping me from somewhere off in the distance, (after four, poor shots my kill cam shows my bullet ripping through his foot) I play my way through the rest of a demo. I pull out my silenced pistol to make quick work of some lone soldiers, before placing explosives on the path of a soon-to- be dead, German scientist. The demo finishes by sending the player to the top of a building. As a convoy of vehicles pass through the route you’ve now littered with explosives, you must place a well-aimed shot to send them up in flames. With the aid of the kill-cam, I’m reminded how much of a badass I truly am as I watch the vehicles explode from a distance.

Taking into account that this is a demo, this game has come the closest to any in truly re-enacting the feel of real warfare. Run in like a mad man and you’ll be ripped a new one. Stay back, keep quiet and play the role of the silent assassin and you’ll be rewarded; not only by the hilarious kill-cams but with a realistic, gaming experience unlike any other. Pre-ordering the game gives you the chance to assassinate Hitler himself; you shouldn’t need telling where to place that bullet. This game is shaping up to be something very special. 


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