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Sniper Elite V2 is quite possibly the most violent game that will be released this year. Usually that sort of thing turns me away from liking a game but in Sniper's case, it's got me, hook line and sinker.
For: Xbox 360, PS3, PC
Sniper Elite V2 comes from British studio Rebellion, whose previous (and also incredibly violent) game was the PS3/360 version of Aliens vs Predator. That game was an under-appreciated classic, and the same applies here.
You play the role of Karl Fairburne, a lone sniper behind enemy lines in Berlin in 1945, tasked to take out a few high-value targets in the German V-2 mission programme. But the story is not why this game has endeared itself to me (and to many others); it's the accurate simulation of ballistics and the glorious Kill-cam.
The ballistics is what adds all the depth and challenge to this game.
Sniper Elite's other point of difference is the Kill-cam.
Correctly lining up a shot and firing leads to a slow-motion view of the bullet as it flies through the air, and then you get to see in gory detail the bullet hitting the target, and the damage it causes. They'll make you wince and laugh in equal measures, especially the fabled testicle shot.
However, there are a few things that stop me from giving this game full marks.
First off, there is the enemy AI. In most cases, enemies will see you from miles away and any attempts to be stealthy will be fruitless. This means that instead of carefully lining up shots as the game intended, you are desperately trying to survive waves of Germans running at you, which is nowhere near as enjoyable.
On top of that is the difficulty level. Sniper Elite V2 is one of the most difficult games released in this generation.
The enemy AI may be poor but it's a very good shot, and this, coupled with long checkpoints, means a very high likelihood of frustration setting in.
Sniper Elite V2 could quite possibly be one of my favourite games released this year. It's extremely violent Kill-cam may not be to everyone's tastes, but it's definitely worth a rent, at the very least.
- Simon Bishop