Sniper Elite V2 will most likely go down as one of 2012’s ‘sleeper hits’ of the year – which is ironic because the game is all about being under the radar and sneaking around.  Sniper Elite V2 is basically the OPPOSITE of a ‘Call of Duty’ type of game.  Forget run and gun, tossing grenades, jumping or melee – Sniper Elite V2 is all about finding higher ground, a hidden ‘sweet spot’ or navigating the terrain like a ninja.

When I originally saw Sniper Elite V2 months back I was impressed and came away wanting more – good news for Xbox 360 owners you can download the demo for free and try it out for yourself!  Disclaimer: the game is DIFFICULT.  I kid you not, plenty of ‘one-shot one-kill’ moments on both sides.  I’ve been playing on the default/standard difficulty and found myself dying often.  I’ve come to realize that there is a generation of gamers out there who really like a challenge – after all Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls were considered hits, right?

At the heart of what makes Sniper Elite V2 charming is the ‘killcam’ feature.  When you pull off a successful long distance fatal sniper shot on an unsuspecting victim you’ll be treated to a ‘killcam’ view of the feat.  The camera slows down (like bullet-time) and shows the bullet passing through space and eventually its target with an x-ray view in full glory showing guts being shot out or bones breaking.  The attention to detail, sound effects and the ‘YES’ factor to the ‘killcams’ alone make this game fun and unique.  There’s also a ton of achievements revolving around specific things like taking out two bad guys at once, shooting another sniper through his scope or blowing up someone’s grenade while on their belt.

Sniper Elite V2 takes place during World War II – you fight German soldiers, Nazi and Hilter himself makes an appearance if you purchase the DLC.  The game is moody and the tone is grim – music and sound effects factor into the gameplay as much as things like heart rate and breathing.  Lining up an accurate shot from distance requires skill, planning and often times a ‘backup plan’ like setting traps to help you evade the enemy.

Of course all this praise must come with a downside, right?  Sniper Elite V2 is full of bugs and funky things happening inside the game.  There were times when I couldn’t walk through areas blocked by invisible walls, a couple of times I melee killed a guy and he stood there still smoking a cigarette and when you move the camera around you can often see inside of rooms blocked by walls.  Other complaints I had was that the ‘X’ button on the Xbox 360 version was used to pick up objects as well as search dead bodies – often leading to the accidental ‘oops I picked this gun up when I didn’t mean to’ moments.

Overall the game is enjoyable and VERY addicting – I got hung up in some funky ‘save points’ where I was in the line of fire often but I kept on playing – almost like I was fighting a war not only inside the game but in polished gameplay as well.  It’ll be tough to recommend Sniper Elite V2 to the general public because most people want an ‘easy’ and casual gaming experience but for those who want a taste for authenticity, realism and a brutal military video gaming experience then Sniper Elite V2 is your ‘purple heart’.

Sniper Elite V2 is out now from 505 Games and Rebellion Games for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Windows PC.  More info here:

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Sniper Elite V2 Commentary Gameplay

Sniper Elite V2 Developer Interview

Sniper Elite V2 Launch Trailer