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Sniper Elite V2 review

This won't be going to number one with a bullet

A single bullet can change the course of history; a single Sniper Elite bullet can change the course of the human urinary system. Rebellion's long-distance murder sim is best known for its X-ray kill cam, following the lead through the human body as skulls crack, teeth scatter, lungs deflate and - with a perfectly judged shot - digital gonads liquefy into mulch. It's as much a Nazi neutering sim as it is stealth thriller; Adolf Hitler's famously singular testicle got off lightly, it seems.

It's exactly the kind of mum-worrying trash that our 13-year-old selves would have begged older brothers to buy for us, but in an age where you can watch YouTubers pop Nazi kidneys from 1,000 yards, why play for yourself? Get over the sick thrill and rooting through the giblets reveals brains amongst the brain matter, such as the way wind speed and gravity affect a bullet's trajectory or the need to disguise the sound of shots behind bombing runs or church bells.

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These latter moments are the game at its best. It doesn't matter how hidden the sound is if a soldier's head explodes in front of his pal, so you're forced to pick platoons off in sequence, timing it so bodies slump out of sight. It takes patience and many restarts, but the act of clearing an arena with five perfectly placed pieces of lead is far more empowering than the pray-and-spray theatrics of COD and friends.

Reich Makes Might?

The problems start when Rebellion veers wildly from its winning formula. Fire your rifle without the cover of sound - as you do for 70 per cent of the time - and every Nazi in Berlin immediately enters a state of high alert. Worse still, these are magic Nazis (our least favourite sort), who can smell your position and turn the most wild-firing SMG into a headshotting game-over machine.

In one squeeze of the trigger the game turns from graceful sniping puzzle to bitter slog. A silenced pistol and pocketful of diversionary pebbles hint at a safer, sneakier approach, but this is scuppered by the useless threat detection meter (jumping from 'all clear' to 'send sad telegram home' in the blink of an eye) and the magic Nazis' ability to see through walls. As sneaking repeatedly broke down into turgid firefights, we ended up legging our so-called elite through more troublesome stretches of levels. Better that than play the damn thing.

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If only we could leg it through forced action beats, too. Trying to survive an ambush in an underground research facility reveals why the game isn't called Close Quarters Elite: our hero is sluggish to get in and out of cover, has no damage indicator to target threats and his SMGs fire all over the shop, despite the Nazis being able to perform keyhole surgery with the very same weapons. It's awful.

Never has a game veered so aggressively from 80 per cent-rated fun to 30 per cent-rated horror, but the same could be said of the 360/PS3 original. Wii U comes with the added sting of having all the multiplayer and co-op options hacked out, leaving only a samey survival mode (fight waves of Nazis in repurposed levels) to pad out a brisk campaign. And no, a touchscreen map and inventory is no substitute for stripped content. Sniper Elite V2 is just about as hit-and-miss as they come, leaving you to vent your spleen when you just want to be venting other people's.

Comments

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  1. marka23 Saturday 27th Jul 2013 at 08:57

    I played this last year at the gadget show live 2012 on the xbox and I thought it was a very good game so I think due to the fact it hasn't got DLC and a multiplayer mode (and how would multiplayer work anyway?) it should have 80%.

  2. ThePsychicExtrem Saturday 27th Jul 2013 at 09:12

    I played this last year at the gadget show live 2012 on the xbox and I thought it was a very good game so I think due to the fact it hasn't got DLC and a multiplayer mode (and how would multiplayer work anyway?) it should have 80%.

    so you think the game should have gotten 80% from a demo you've played?

  3. marka23 Saturday 27th Jul 2013 at 10:08

    It wasn't a demo, it was the entire game

  4. jaco_p Saturday 27th Jul 2013 at 10:43

    It wasn't a demo, it was the entire game


    Yes but i'm assuming you didn't play the entire game, so you're not in a position to give a review score, clearly. Also, you played it on an xbox that didn't have multiplayer stripped out. Like Matthew said, I'd rather have multiplayer/online than a gamepad map or whatever. Lazy.

  5. Richard Bates Saturday 27th Jul 2013 at 10:59

    i got this game on its release date and i love it, ive never played it on another console so was unaware that there should have been a multi-player mode or any extra content, i play it in off tv mode and really enjoy it, 50% is a very harsh score and i agree with the marka22 id be looking to give this around the 80% mark, but if people have played other better versions on other consoles i can understand there disappointment

  6. Fox_McCloud Sunday 28th Jul 2013 at 19:11

    i got this game on its release date and i love it, ive never played it on another console so was unaware that there should have been a multi-player mode or any extra content, i play it in off tv mode and really enjoy it, 50% is a very harsh score and i agree with the marka22 id be looking to give this around the 80% mark, but if people have played other better versions on other consoles i can understand there disappointment

    This is why people are p**sed at current reviews. 80% used to mean a really good game and now you people throw it around to mean "decent".

  7. Argenthor Monday 29th Jul 2013 at 18:07

    i got this game on its release date and i love it, ive never played it on another console so was unaware that there should have been a multi-player mode or any extra content, i play it in off tv mode and really enjoy it, 50% is a very harsh score and i agree with the marka22 id be looking to give this around the 80% mark, but if people have played other better versions on other consoles i can understand there disappointment

    This is why people are p**sed at current reviews. 80% used to mean a really good game and now you people throw it around to mean "decent".


    For me, 80% is a game that will be really quite good - but with a couple of noticeable problems / slightly more boring aspects.

    By and by, these won't spoil the game though.

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