Monday, 17 November 2014

Sniping a Stealthy Path to Berlin

I’d made it this far. Amid the ruins and rubble of WW2 Germany. There is some other soldier with me - some random stranger - but he’s already my close comrade; my best buddy. This is because we know what’s coming. We’re waiting for the first wave of Nazis to come pouring in gradually through a ruined entrance. We’ve already positioned mines and collected ammo. Now we just need to knuckle down and keep the cross-hairs scanning the area. I’m breathing carefully but when the trigger is pulled and the first man falls I know the camera will follow the bullet right to its unlucky victim, before restoring my viewpoint back... to a scene of action where every shot counts.

This bullet-cam is called something like X-ray Kill-Cam, because you get to see a gruesome, bone-splintering X-ray where your bullet strikes. In fact, it doesn't get too tired and certainly adds to the gratification of surviving through this game: Sniper Elite V2

Ever seen a World War 2 sniper movie? Enemy at the Gates? Saving Private Ryan with that sniper who camps out towards the end up a church? If you play this game, a 2012 tactical shooter, it’s basically a similar experience. Graphics and gameplay are geared solely towards being in WW2 and fighting Nazis. It’s like Call of Duty mixed with Thief but for snipers.
The single-player campaign is pacey and well-designed with historic war scenarios and levels where you have to stop and think a bit more. Find a good location to score the hit or a more defensive position to survive an attack. It’s about moving carefully. About using weapons and mines to sudden effect after slipping through guards undetected. It generates some excellent moments that leave you feeling great about yourself. For this simple experience - and it can only last so long (unlike the up and coming open-world games of the day) - it delivers perfectly.

On the last mission, you get to take out a top Nazi general, and - in an add-on pack - Hitler himself in a special mission. There is also a zombie add-on (of course) although I never played that one.

But it’s in its multiplayer Co-operative modes - Kill Tally - where I had so much fun. (Less so on the Competitive ones because once the unseen shot comes it was all over too fast. Also you never knew who you were playing against... ie. probably a band of special friends who played every night just to pick off newcomers. I made a couple of videos, long before PS4 capture capability:

looks like a good spot m8

In Co-operative however, waves of Nazis would arrive on the scene and, with your comrade you had to work together or be doomed. You had to set mines and shift locations, use grenades wisely or be overrun. I remember completing the waves on all the scenarios. There were moments of great glory and this is why this game was so notable.