Sniper Elite V2
|Sniper Elite V2|
|Genre(s)||Tactical shooter, stealth|
Sniper Elite V2 is a third-person tactical shooter stealth video game developed by Rebellion Developments and published by 505 Games. It is a sequel/remake of its 2005 predecessor Sniper Elite, which takes place in the same timeframe and location—the Battle of Berlin in April–May 1945—but with an altered narrative. The game's story follows an American Office of Strategic Services officer who must capture or eliminate the scientists involved in the German V-2 rocket program while the Red Army invades. A prequel named Sniper Elite III was released in 2014 for current and new-generation platforms.
Sniper Elite V2 is a third-person tactical shooter that emphasizes a less direct approach to combat, encouraging the player as a sniper to use stealth and keep distance from enemy soldiers. Many of the single player levels allow multiple routes for the players to take, including multistory buildings and side streets to get vantage points and avoid direct firefights. Set in World War II, the player character utilizes appropriate weapons for the era. The sniper rifle is the primary weapon throughout the game, though additional side arms are available including submachine guns and pistols, silenced or not depending on the situation. In addition to hand grenades, the player can deploy them as tripwire booby traps, land mines and dynamite. Binoculars can be used to tag enemies in view, displaying their position and movements to player. When using the sniper rifle however, certain elements can determine the outcome of a shot, taking realistic ballistics into consideration including wind direction and strength and bullet drop potentially altering the shot through the scope. Bullets can ricochet off surfaces or targets and strike others. In different postures such as crouching or lying down on the front can also steady a shot, however the player character also has the ability to take a deep breath to further steady a shot and from their perspective slow down time. Another ability is when the player character is spotted, their last movements and position to the enemy is shown as a white-outlined figure, potentially allowing the player to escape that area and avoid further detection and alarms being raised.
A major feature of V2 is the “X-Ray Kill Cam” where upon a successful and skilled shot will in slow motion follow the bullet from the sniper rifle to the target where upon impact will show an anatomically correct x-ray style reveal of the body part being hit and the damage the bullet causes to the organs and bones. Sniping can also be used to shoot the enemies’ own grenades triggering an explosion. This method can also be used against military vehicles by targeting fuel tanks and valves. The game will also measure notable shots by briefly displaying distance and other factors like whether it was a head shot or moving target.
V2 supports online multiplayer where players engage in cooperative play in a series of game modes. Kill Tally is a mode where two players fend off increasingly numerous and difficult waves of enemy soldiers and vehicles in an enclosed environment with an infinite supply point of ammunition and explosives. While players can compete for higher kill counts, both must keep each other alive and work together. Bombing Run is a mission based mode where players must search the environment in order to repair a truck to escape before the entire area is bombed. The third mode is Overwatch where two players take different roles to complete an objective with one player as the operative who undertakes said objectives, armed with short range firearms and binoculars that can be used to tag enemies for the second player who takes the role of a sniper who covers the operative throughout. In addition to these separate game modes, missions from the single player campaign can also be played with two players. The Wii U version of the game however omits multiplayer, leaderboard and co-op modes.
The main character is Lieutenant Karl Fairburne, an American OSS officer and skilled sniper who is inserted into Berlin in 1945, during the final days of World War II. It references Operation Paperclip and its predecessor Operation Overcast, the plan by the USA to recruit the scientists of Nazi Germany. Fairburne comes up against both Nazi and Soviet opponents as he tracks key individuals involved with the development of the V-2 ballistic missile.
The campaign begins with Fairburne sent into Berlin to first assassinate German Major-General Hans von Eisenberg who was attempting to defect to the Soviets. Shortly after, he is given the mission to eliminate Doctor Gunther Kreidl, a Nazi scientist who is being led out of the city in a convoy. After laying an ambush, Fairburne escapes with the doctor's personal documents revealing further information about the V-2 rocket program including the location of other scientists. As the only American within the region, he is sent to the outskirts of the city to infiltrate a V-2 production facility in search of another scientist, Dr. Schwaiger. While the scientist is absent, Fairburne learns that he originally made plans to defect to the United States, before sabotaging and escaping the facility. US intelligence then sends him into Opernplatz where the Soviets are in full invading force. As the Soviets and Germans engage one another, Fairburne slips by and saves Schwaiger from being executed by Nazi officers after his plans to defect were discovered. However, in the ensuing firefight, Schwaiger is mortally wounded and in his dying words states that "Wolff has a plan" and the unknown word "tabun". Following these events, Fairburne continues to track and eliminate the remaining scientists, assassinating Doctor Müller in his command tower during a series of bombing raids on the city.
With no location of the V-2 launching site, Fairburne infiltrates and searches the Soviet HQ. There he finds that documents revealing that tabun is actually a nerve gas that is to be carried by the V-2 rockets. As a last act of revenge the remaining scientist Doctor Wolff intends to launch them at London. With only the information that location is somewhere outside Berlin, Fairburne goes to Wolff's offices within the city to find more information. However, by the time he arrives the office has been already destroyed, yet Fairburne is able to find a ripped notebook and learns that Wolff is about to escape from an airfield. Fairburne retrieves a map detailing V-2 storage facilities and sets out to destroy the rockets before they can be launched. With only Wolff left, Fairburne goes back to the Brandenburg Gate, where he had assassinated von Eisenberg few days earlier. Fairburne climbs on top of the structure and, as Wolff is about to escape in a car, shoots and kills Wolff, causing the car to lose control and flip over. Fairburne remarks that World War II is over but the Cold War has just begun, in which he has acted as the first soldier.
In 2011, Rebellion announced that it was co-publishing the title with 505 Games. Due for release in May 2012, the game was described as a "reboot" of the original Sniper Elite, rather than a sequel. The initial announcement however only referred to a release on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, absent a PC version. Following a strong response from PC users, Rebellion announced it was to self-publish a PC version through shops and via the Steam online games download retailer to be released at the same time as the console versions. On 5 February 2013, Rebellion announced a version for Nintendo's Wii U console is in development.
Following the initial release, a second retail version of the game was released for the PC only called the "High Command Edition" on 12 October 2012. This version included an updated version of original V2 game, the previous pre-order bonus "Assassinate the Fuhrer", new multiplayer maps and mode updates and a then previously unreleased new single player mission and weapons. Many of the features would be later released online separately. The PC version was released for a third time on 15 March 2013 as part of the "Collector's Edition", this time including the original game, all downloadable content released up to that date (both single and multiplayer), an audio soundtrack, printed full color artbook and the original Sniper Elite game. In the same month the PS3 and 360 console versions were re-released as the "Game of the Year Edition" in Europe and the "Silver Star Edition" in North America that only include the downloadable content.
Originally bundled as a pre-order bonus download with the main game on its release, the first piece of downloadable content is a self-contained single player mission separate from the main campaign, titled "Assassinate the Führer". The mission involves an alternate historical scenario where Fairburne is sent to Salzburg to intercept a convey in order to assassinate Adolf Hitler before he escapes the area via train. Following the game's release, the DLC was released to non-pre-order players across all platforms on 5 June 2012. The second DLC mission is "The Neudorf Outpost Pack" was released on 20 September 2012 for the PC and on 18 December 2012 for consoles. The mission concerns the demolition of a German-controlled fuel dump in the Harz Mountains and includes two new exclusive weapons. The third DLC mission is the "The Landwehr Canal Pack" was released on 18 October 2012 and includes three new weapons. The mission required multiple German generals to be assassinated as they meet in night-time Berlin, thus being challenging and requiring planning. At the same time a new multiplayer mode was released for free through Steam called "Dog Tag Harvest Mode", where players collect points only after a fallen soldier's dog tag has been collected. The fourth DLC missions is "St. Pierre" was released on 6 February 2013 and also includes three new weapons. The missions involves the assassination of "General Rodebrecht", a rising star in the German army whose death could turn the tide of the war for the Allies.
On 7 November 2012, Rebellion released a "Multiplayer Expansion" for free on PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The new online multiplayer modes support competitive play between players including traditional deathmatch and team deathmatch modes while introducing "distance king", both solo and team based where players' success is measured by the distance of shots. Another mode is "No Cross", a variant on the other modes where teams are separated to two sides of a map, requiring long range firefights only. In addition to the new game types, six new maps for use in multiplayer were also included. At the same time, a paid piece of DLC was also released involving a new selection of weapons.
Nazi Zombie Army
A separate stand-alone title called Sniper Elite: Nazi Zombie Army was released following V2 on 28 February 2013 as a standalone game/expansion; it was initially available as a digital download through Steam and was supposed to get a retail release but with no publisher for the title, meaning it has not been released on consoles yet. The game is also developed by Rebellion and built from the same engine and template as V2, features the same mechanics and gameplay yet presents completely separate game modes (both single and multi-player). The premise is that during the final days of World War II, with the German army close to defeat, Adolf Hitler deploys a last resort plan to raise the fallen as zombies through occult rituals and turn them against Allied forces, causing Germany to be overrun with the undead. The game features a series of campaign missions that can be played in single-player mode, or with up to four players in online co-op. The level structure has been compared to the Left 4 Dead series, involving missions with specific objectives requiring players to fight their way through levels containing various types of enemy zombie. Checkpoints break up each campaign with safe houses, allowing players to stock up on weapons and ammunition. A sequel named Nazi Zombie Army 2 was released on 31 October 2013 where the player(s) have to find the fragments of the Sagamartha Relic, the key to controlling the zombies while facing newer, deadlier enemies. Another sequel was announced on 8 January 2015 and released 6 March 2015, alongside the remastered versions of Nazi Zombie Army and Nazi Zombie Army 2, under the package "Zombie Army Trilogy" for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Due to the German cencorship of Nazi-related symbols, both games were released as just Zombie Army in Germany.
GameRankings and Metacritic score the PlayStation 3 version 71.68% and 70/100, the Xbox 360 version 68.76% and 67/100 the PC version 65.71% and 66/100, and the Wii U version 58.40% and 58/100,
In a review for GamesRadar, Matt Hughes favorably compared V2 against the original Sniper Elite in regards to the mission structure and variety, stating that "V2 keeps the objectives varied and avoids tedium by condensing and refining the physical scope of the game". Similarly Nathan Meunier at IGN praised the single player, feeling that it "delivers a satisfying trek through a well-designed medley of war-torn cityscapes ripe with tactical opportunities for assassination and covert sneakery". While he noted the multiplayer, "Overwatch" was considered the stand out mode "where multiplayer really gets cool" as "these missions require careful collaborative teamwork, and they're a ton of fun." In a mixed response however, GameTrailers felt that the single player varied in quality, where "things take a turn for the worse when you’re doing anything other than sniping", particularly in regards to close-quarter stealth segments in what the review considered to be "a real drag" causing "unbearable" trial-and-error. However, in the same review, it felt that the option to play the campaign cooperatively "remedies many of our complaints".
Phil Savage of PC Gamer took issue with apparent inconsistencies between levels, favoring the more open-ended missions that "rewards you with the feeling of carefully thought-out mischief falling into place", as opposed to tighter levels where "in these moments the game devolves into a pop-up shooting gallery". Savage also praised the "tactical systems and satisfying ballistics" while being critical of "uncanny enemy vision".
A recurring feature noted in reviews was the "X-Ray Kill Cam". Official Xbox Magazine reviewer Chuck Osborne said that it "earns the game’s Mature rating and our applause" while Tim Turi of Game Informer called it the game's "standout feature" that "never got old". GameSpot reviewer Chris Watters called the feature "brutal and gratuitous (perhaps too much so, for some)" yet still enjoyed it as a "delightfully gory" highlight. Marsh Davis of Eurogamer echoed this view by stating that "Its appeal is most definitely crass but, oddly, these animations also give each enemy's death a ghoulish significance."
A third entry in the Sniper Elite series was announced in March 2013. Sniper Elite III takes place in North Africa during World War II and has been described as "more of a sandbox game”. Of the choice of gameplay, Kingsley stated that "We want you to feel you’re dealing with scenarios that are believable and that you can genuinely make meaningful choices on how to tackle them."
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