Fans of the SNIPER ELITE-franchise have been craving new content for the excellent SNIPER ELITE 4 for many months. A new map for coop would be appreciated just as much as a new DLC. But instead, Rebellion gave us the remastered SNIPER ELITE V2. Having come late to the franchise I was, of course, thrilled. Which is why I played it over the course of two days, the second of which saw me glued to my couch for four hours straight, right to the finish.
It has been a while since I played SNIPER ELITE 4, which is why I chose the easiest difficulty, Cadet, for my first playthrough. A wise decision, as it turned out. I am, of course, already on my second playthrough and have yet to try coop mode.
The story is like any other of the franchise: Nazi-Germany is trying to avoid the looming defeat in WW2 by crafting nasty weapons, Karl Fairburne, expert sniper and highly capable commando, has to prevent catastrophe, using sabotage and assassination. In contrast to SNIPER ELITE 4, which brought some humanity to the franchise, SNIPER ELITE V2 is pure sniping fun. Which means that the story is of no real importance. In this case, that is fine with me. Some games are not played because of their story.
Now, in this game, set in the ruins of Berlin, Karl Fairburne has to eliminate five scientists, who worked on the ominous V2-project, before they fall into Russian hands. Each mission will lead him to another location in this vast city and it will involve explosions, enemy snipers, tanks and waves of foot soldiers coming at him.
The further I progressed, the harder I found the missions, which is just how I like it. The most memorable where the ones at the museum and the one pitching Fairburne against a tank and a team of Russian snipers amidst the ruins.
Apart from being aware of vantage points where a sniper might lurk, quick reflexes and a steady aim, you will need serious stealth skills when infiltrating some of the facilities. That’s what I like about this franchise.
Karl Fairburne is outfitted with a silent Welrod handgun, a Thompson machine gun and his trusty sniper rifle, starting with a Springfield, though during the game he will acquire a Gewehr 43 and a Mosin Nagat rifle. Machine guns of different types can be picked up when dropped by enemy soldiers, but good luck finding the ammo for those. I stuck with the Thompson and actually used the rifle almost exclusively. Unfortunately, you cannot upgrade your rifle, which is something I really enjoyed in the later games.
Apart from the main missions, you can also accept a few additional challenges, like sabotaging an outpost or assassinating the Führer. They are also great fun. Also, Survival is called Kill Tally here.
There are a few different enemy classes, but what you really have to keep in mind is that keeping your distance is really key, since they are extremely deadly and certainly better shots than you are, even when using a machine gun across a pretty long distance.
There are foot soldiers, which are the easiest to kill, and they come in two varieties, one is using a rifle that packs a punch but takes time to reload, the other uses a machine gun. There are heavy footsoldiers which are pretty hard to kill, most of them use a machine gun. Also, foot soldiers will man stationary heavy machine guns, which are devastating.
The harder the difficulty, the more snipers will be thrown at you. They blend in extremely well into the environment, and, of course, some will appear only at a given point of the mission to make things more difficult for you. Also, do not count on them appearing in the same sequence or in the same spot when you have to repeat the mission due to dying before finishing it. There are two mission where you will encounter a fixed number of snipers, both times Russion sniper teams. The first one will see half of them mobile and actively seeking you out, the other one stationary at their respective high vantage points. Make sure to keep on the move yourself. The second mission will have them confined to specific spots, but you will not have much cover and frequently find yourself caught in the crosshairs of two or more snipers at once.
Tanks and vehicles can be destroyed by blowing up their fuel tanks. They will be highlighted in red. Needless to mention that the tanks are incredibly deadly. Plus, they move, making it harder for you to hit your mark.
What’s different in comparison to the newer games
In SNIPER ELITE III and SNIPER ELITE 4 you can pick up mines and trip mines you have placed previously, allowing you to use them in another spot. That is not an option in SNIPER ELITE V2. Meaning you will frequently find yourself short of mines. It’s a challenge, but illogical.
Also, do not count on the shadows or the night to conceal you when in hiding. Enemies will locate you immediately, no matter the distance. Which is also illogical, but also a challenge.
SNIPER ELITE V2 is just what I expected. I find it incredibly satisfying to be able to alternate between stealth and sniping skills and combat mode. The missions are tense, there are a few surprises and the maps allow for some freedom of how to approach a mission. Not much, but that’s alright.
Keep on playing!