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Sniper Elite V2 puts players in the shoes of Karl Fairburne, a lone American OSS sniper operative deep behind enemy lines in Berlin in April 1945. Vicious fighting engulfs the city as the Soviets topple German resistance on all fronts and move to co-opt the remnants of the Nazi V-2 ballistic missile program. Fairburne must act as the spearhead of Operation Paperclip, a U.S. program to recruit key German scientists and keep them out of Soviet hands—by any means necessary. As the mission unfolds, so, too, does a heinous Russian conspiracy to launch a newly acquired V-2 missile laden with nerve gas against London and spin the incident as a desperate final strike by the Nazis. To stop the attack, Fairburne must become “the first soldier of the Cold War.”

Sniper Elite V2 emphasizes stealth and clever observation as the player constructs a killing field around a vastly superior number of enemies, culminating in a rapid one-man strike that makes use of the game’s various firearms, explosives, and traps. Firefights are characterized by realistic shooting mechanics: the player must account for the effects of breath, heart rate, motion, wind, and gravity on each shot. Particularly extreme shots are rewarded with use of a slow-motion “bullet cam,” which follows the projectile as it erupts from the muzzle of the player’s gun and travels to its target. On impact, an x-ray cross section of the target depicts in grisly detail the re-arranging effects of high-speed rounds on human anatomy. Though certainly not for the faint of heart, the level of detail lends tense sniping moments an engagingly cinematic quality.

Sniper Elite V2 suffers most from repetitive game play, and would have benefited from more frequent—and more entertaining—cut scenes. Despite efforts to make missions unique, most of the game’s objectives can be described simply as, “Move from point A to point B, and kill everything in between.” A few fun game play concepts, like rushing through shattered buildings to provide continuous cover fire for a fleeing defector, are explored—albeit inadequately.

Beyond these flaws, however, lies a solid and enjoyable game, with excellent visuals and a fun but tense multiplayer suite to provide entertainment for you and your sniper friends once you have had your fill of saving the day. Verdict: 3.5 / 5

Sniper Elite V2
Release Date: May 2011

ESRB: Mature
Genre: Tactical 3rd-Person Shooter
Publisher: Rebellion Developments, 505 Games
Developer: Days of Wonder
MSRP: $49.99
Format: Digital Download, DVD-ROM
Play Modes: Single-Player, Cooperative, Online Multiplayer