However, even if you do find the right personal balance, it’s always not the most polished game. Even though it’s not meant to be a Gears of War-style shooter, popping in and out of cover (even with the rifle) felt cumbersome and our reticule didn’t often appear where we’d have expected. And even on the higher difficulties, AI could be exploited fairly easily, as you could silently headshot a queue of guards, each obliviously investigating a growing pile of corpses until you were eventually unopposed. In another instance, an editor took down a sleeping guard, then ended up backtracking through the same section five minutes later and encountered... a respawned sleeping guard. There’s some wonkiness at play here, though the core experience is solid, as long as you approach it, again, as a slow-burning, stealth-centric game.
Above: Spotting enemies with your binoculars beforehand ensures you remember their location
Aside from the campaign and single-player survival mode, there are four different online two-player co-op games. Having an ally with your through the single-player campaign changes everything, allowing for that true-to-life pairing of a spotter and shooter sniping team. It’s also fun to mow down any enemies trying to flank your friend’s sniper perch.
Kill Tally is essentially survival mode, where you attempt to entrench yourself as you fight off waves of baddies. We did experience some problematic enemy spawning here, but nonetheless, picking off foot soldiers as they funnel through doorways or booby-trapping roads and turrets was a fun way to mix things up. Bombing Run forces you and your partner to gather parts from the battlefield in order to repair your escape vehicle before your location is (further) reduced to rubble. An interesting concept, but the uneven enemy presence and sheer legwork required made this mode daunting, confusing, and even boring at times.
Above: You didn’t think one x-ray death screen was enough for this review, did you?
What really stood out was the fourth and final mode, Overwatch. Here, one players is the designated sniper unable to move from his nest, and the other player is on the ground, spotting enemies and sprinting to objectives. Since all of these multiplayer modes are so heavily dependent on cooperation, you develop a camaraderie with your teammate far beyond what you’d find in most multiplayer shooters.
Sniper Elite V2 is a prime example of how a streamlined take on a singular gaming concept can result in something great, even if it’s got a bit of clunk to it. The delivery of competent and enthralling gameplay was effective enough that the weaknesses we found were hardly roadblocks to enjoyment. It’s a gory title that’ll surprise you if you give it a shot. We still haven’t seen all the ways a bullet can kill a man yet, and we might just keep on playing until we do.