In a strange way, Sniper Elite V2 reminded me of high school. There was this one kid, let's call him David, who everyone knew wasn't the smartest in the room, but one day he came in with glasses. Fake, no prescription eyeglasses to try to fool people into forgetting about his reputation.
Sniper Elite V2 is sort of like David. It presents itself as a tactical and complex shooter to mask its uneven AI, terrible structure and overall disappointing nature. There are some surprisingly fun moments here, but sadly they're few and far between as Sniper Elite V2 is a mess more often than not.
You play as OSS Officer Karl Fairburne during the final days of World War II. That's really not that important though as the game does little to expand on the story, as long as you know that you're a guy intent on sniping a literal crap-ton of Germans. Your goal as you may have already guessed is to carefully plot out your assignments and take out your targets to take down the Nazis. At least..that's what the game tells you.
The vast majority of missions play out like this -- find a target, line up your shot, take them out, then have to deal with a seemingly never ending slew of troops that seem to always know where you are. I'm not kidding, the AI can ALWAYS find you. This makes sniping ridiculously difficult, as you're no longer trying to be stealthy, you're just thinking about survival. In truth, there are many points where stealth becomes almost next to impossible, as you've got almost an entire army shooting at you at any given point.
To that point, the game seems intent on stepping away from its bread and butter and wants to force you into close firefights. It seemed like every other section I was forced to go into an occupied building with an automatic weapon and clear out troops. Oddly enough, the first secondary weapon isn't even a silenced one, which makes us question the developer's motives. There are plenty of war themed first person shooters on the market, and it's safe to say that if someone is playing Sniper Elite V2, they're looking for a very specific type of game; why take that away?
So let's just say you do line up your shot, and take out a target, the game actually rewards you with some truly spectacular visuals. Sniper Elite V2 employs a dynamic kill cam which follows your bullet as it travels from your gun and into your opponent. The kill cam uses a Mortal Kombat style X-ray vision to show just how gruesome your shot was.
It's really not that hard to do this though, as the game's shooting mechanic doesn't really show all the depth that the game would have you believe, most shots just boil down to slowing down your breath, trying to get the reticule somewhere near your opponent and pushing the trigger. It also doesn't help that the majority of your enemies run around in the same pattern constantly as if they're in a frickin' shooting gallery -- not exactly the best choice when dealing with a sniper.
Visually, Sniper Elite isn't terrible -- but it's nothing special either. Environments look decent, but characters animate strange at times and are constantly clipping into objects or getting stuck behind walls. The game's camera also has a tendency to get stuck behind those same walls, making it tough to plot out the shot you want.
Sniper Elite is a game that doesn't know what it wants to be, nor does it know what it wants to do. It presents itself as a deep and tactical shooting experience, but uneven AI and the game's insistence to put you in close quarters combat makes for a lackluster experience. It's better than a lot of people thought it would be -- but that's not saying much.