Sniper Elite V2: Preview

It is in that moment, that split second before I depress the trigger, when my sights waver over the target.

Even though I have lined up the shot taking into account bullet drop and wind factors, in that tiny fraction of a moment I still have pause for doubt. Did my aim get knocked off because I didn’t hold my breath long enough? Did the quarry, almost imperceptibly at this range, move and ruin my attempt?

It is that excruciating split second of anxiousness and anticipation that makes the Sniper Elite V2 demo good.

In the next instant my bullet is sailing through the air. The camera follows its trajectory in slow motion as the bullet soars along its kilometre-long path.

The kill is good, the kill is clean. All my complaints about dodgy AI and slightly bland environments are wiped away. This is sniper bliss, sniper Nirvana.

The bullet enters its mark under the brow and, in a fetishistic manner, I watch the game switch to an x-ray view of the round puncturing the German soldier’s eye, pushing through the socket, destroying the brain, then bouncing off the inside of his helmet and ricocheting inside his skull.

It doesn’t matter that the demo features some questionable design choices (most likely also present in the full game despite protestations otherwise). I don’t care about the fact that Sniper Elite’s other good ideas are ripped straight from Splinter Cell: Conviction. It doesn’t matter to me that I am back in WWII for the umpteenth time. This setting and those flaws are almost irrelevant to those who like hunkering down in a shattered building, waiting for an objective to appear. The gratification following those perfect shots, those split seconds before the trigger pull; Sniper Elite V2 has got those right and already feels better than pretty much any other commercial sniper game released since the last Sniper Elite game.

Look out for Sniper Elite V2’s release in early May and if you are curious, check out the demo to try it out for yourselves.