Sniper Elite V2, by 505 Games, 2012, $49.99 (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Windows/PC)
It is 1945, and you—an elite U.S. sniper—have been sent into Berlin as the Soviets push into the city. As part of Operation Overcast you are to assist German V2 rocket scientists who wish to defect to the Allies (fact), and to eliminate those who would defect to the Soviets (fiction). The main draws of the game are its realistic graphics and sniper simulation. When lining up shots, your stance, breathing and heart rate affect your steadiness, and wind and distance affect your accuracy. To compensate for bullet drop over distance, aim slightly above your target; to account for the wind, adjust your shot according to such visual cues as how a flag is waving. When not looking through a scope or binoculars, you’re stuck in third-person view, which hinders your ability to spot enemy snipers. But our main criticism is the developer’s unwillingness to fully embrace realism and forgo the typical fantasy run-and-gun action. History offers plenty of thrills.