The target lines up in the crosshairs then drops with a single shot to the spinal column. A second shot punctures the lung of target number two, alerting the squad of Germans to the shooter’s location. The enemy tries to flank but gets caught in the explosion of the tripwire grenade at the back door. A tank rolls in to reinforce, but drives right by the bundle of TNT already in his sights. Gotcha!
Forget what you learned in shooters where quick-scoping and 360 degree spins reign supreme – in Sniper Elite V2 that stuff will only get you shipped home in a box. Karl Fairburne, a WWII American sniper is behind enemy lines in war-torn Germany alone, surrounded by both German and Russian soldiers on a mission to keep the war’s weapon research and scientific minds from falling in the wrong hands. Preparation and patience are the keys to accomplishing Karl’s mission, and in order to survive, players will have to move, think and shoot like a sniper.
Being one man against an army of foot soldiers, tanks, and enemy snipers makes stealth your best friend. Running out in the open will just get you killed. To get from one vantage point to another, players must take a crouched position to silence footfalls while navigating blown out apartment buildings, lean on walls to peek around corners, snap the necks of unsuspecting lookouts and use silenced pistols to quietly take out targets from a distance. The slow and silent strategy is a realistic approach to being outnumbered and ensures prospective vantage points won’t be lit up by enemy gunfire, but sneaking past enemy lines also means you’ll have the chance to take a peep at enemy activity.
Getting a good overview of the battlefield is just as important as pulling the trigger in V2. Binoculars may be one of the most useful items in the game besides the cranium busting high-caliber bullets. While looking through the binoculars players can “tag” soldiers standing out in the open, placing a red arrow on top of their head, and analyze the threat each enemy poses based on their loadout, rank, and position which players can use to prioritize who gets dropped first. But what’s immediately seen isn’t always the only threat. Enemy snipers are often overlooking the battlefield from rooftops and bombed out buildings making finding these camouflaged shooters will take a keen eye and maybe a little extra zoom. Meticulously searching for hidden enemies reduce surprises during an attack, and even provide some chances to score extra-long range headshots.
After doing a little recon, players will have to predict the enemy’s reaction to an attack, plan accordingly, and cover their own back. Traps, TNT, trip-mines, and all manner of explosives can be used to disrupt the enemy advance. Trip-mines, in particular, are planted and explode when enemies cross over a thin wire that can be strung across doorways and narrow paths. TNT can be placed on or near roads to destroy enemy vehicles. We saw how a few carefully placed explosives and pinpoint accuracy was able to disable an entire enemy convoy in a matter of seconds, leaving the sniper free to mop up the remaining troops.
One shot – one kill isn’t always the case. There is an elaborate system that goes into calculating bullet drop, time to target, wind speed and direction, and angle of the vantage point that affect a shot, but there are other, more brutal, considerations the player must keep in mind before pulling the trigger. Prioritizing targets, enemy proximity to environmental hazards and even the bullet’s contact zone on the body can affect your strategy. For instance, hitting a soldier in the abdomen has the chance to immobilize and leave him screaming, effectively making him bait to draw out remaining enemies who try to drag their wounded friend to cover. Once those enemies are out in the open, they’re easy pickins.
Players taking the time to line up the perfect shot are treated to intense kill-cams depending on difficulty. Kill-shots automatically activate a slow-motion view that follows the bullet to its target, giving players an up close and personal view of the damage. High scoring headshots, moving targets and bullets to vital organs will result in a dynamic x-ray view of the wound as the projectile breaks bone, ruptures tissue, and pierces eye sockets – making every calculated kill a reward.
A single bullet can often take out multiple enemies at once if the player pays attention to the environment, and other elements can leave the sniper undetectable. Gas tanks and pressurized canisters cause huge explosions that will take out groups. Enemies might take cover behind thin boards or sheet metal that can easily be penetrated. The most impressive is the ability to use ambient sounds to your advantage. WWII Europe was full of artillery strikes, storms, and even tolling church bells. All of these can be used to mask the sound of a gunshot. Lightning will light up the night sky, giving a few seconds to line up the sights before the booming thunder. You could shoot a dozen soldiers before anyone knows the wiser.
Sniper Elite V2 is aiming for an early May release for Xbox 360, PS3, and PC.
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