I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life. Few of them have been as regrettable as not playing a Sniper Elite game before last weekend.
I’m not sure why or how I skipped out on Rebellion’s series of games about shooting Nazis and Soviet enemies–from far away of course–with a high-powered rifle. And, as if a game only about sniping wasn’t enough, it does x-ray vision replays of your kills. It’s gross, it’s fetishistic, and absolutely hilarious.
I’ve not played a game this year with as much humor in the few hours I spent with Sniper Elite V2–yes, V2, not the recently released third entry into the series. Unfortunately for you, it’s really tough to describe what’s so funny about it. But I’ll give it my best.
Sniper Elite V2 is a third-person shooter about a man who loves to snipe. It is secretly the ultimate character examination of that guy on Xbox Live who claims to be the sickest at sniping scrubs. Sniper Elite V2’s protagonist has no name (that I saw or cared about) and simple motives: to snipe the hell out of everyone and complete his missions. He has access to machine guns and pistols too, but if you’re using those I have to wonder why you’re really playing a game called Sniper Elite V2. Go play a baby game instead, this one is for Elites.
When the camera follows your bullet, and it will do this a lot, the enemies get stiff. I think time is supposed to slow down but it’s hard to tell when the bullet is zooming towards a man’s skull or testicles, probably his testicles. For a brief moment, I like to imagine the enemy soldier reflects on his life to this point. He thinks about his home and his family before the war, his training, and his decision to join the force working against this killing machine with a sniper rifle. Then the bullet slams into his body, knocking him, deadpan, off-screen with no musical cues but a hard thwack from the impact. At the end, you’re rewarded with a “HEADSHOT” or a “VITAL SHOT” and some points for your efforts. All played out in five seconds, this is the best part about Sniper Elite V2.
I had one of these moments when I took out a man shooting near me (the AI is not good) with a turret. I think it was the way he stopped shooting and accepted his fate that slayed me for the next five minutes. My friend an I fended that mission shortly after by stepping off the ledge of our sniper perch and dying. And they say humor is hard to do in games.
The rest of the game is fine. It functions like any third-person shooter. It’s World War 2 and things are bad. That’s all you really need to know. The black comedy begins as soon as you learn to let go of the game self-seriousness and play it with a friend. If you take anything away from this, other than the undying urge to purchase this game immediately, you should learn to actively seek out games like Sniper Elite V2 because you’ll never know what weird or hilarious experience could be waiting inside.
Has anyone played Sniper Elite 3 yet? How does it compare?