Rebellion’s Sniper Elite V2 places you in the role of OSS officer Karl Fairburne as he infiltrates the war-torn city of Berlin during the final days of World War II. Your mission is to assassinate key figures from the V-2 ballistic missile program while fending off Nazi and Russian forces. Equipped with a Springfield M1903 sniper rifle, a machine gun and pistol, you begin your mission by tracking down the first of many victims – Major General Hans von Eisenber, a Nazi soldier who is attempting to defect to the Soviet Union.
Like its Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 counterparts, the Wii U version of Sniper Elite V2 relies on stealth and mission objectives. The game world – while not necessarily an open sandbox – contains a multitude of locations to snipe from. It’s possible to forgo the stealth mechanic and use more conventional means to engage the enemy, but SE V2 is designed to reward the player for keeping their distance from the enemy.
Sniper Elite V2′s inventory system has been redesigned to take advantage of the Wii U’s Gamepad. The current game map is displayed in the center of the screen with mission objectives appearing as yellow diamond tags. Secondary weapons such as dynamite, grenades and trip wire mines are neatly organized in a column to the right of the game map. Your weapons appear in a separate column to the left of the map display, while your heart and lung capacity are both located at the bottom of the screen.
The directional pad can be used to toggle between your firearms, but the Wii U’s touch screen makes switching between weapons faster. This comes in handy when an enemy soldier comes up from behind and surprises you. Despite being quite large for a controller, the Wii U’s Gamepad feels like it was designed for this type of game. Since Sniper Elite V2 requires you to constantly press and hold multiple buttons to take cover, aim, exhale and then fire your sniper rifle, you would think the Wii U’s Gamepad would be too bulky for the task, but the opposite is true.
The Kill Cam sniper mechanic is just as good as it was in the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions of the game. To snipe while you’re taking cover, you need to press and hold the LS (Left Shoulder) button to emerge from your hiding spot and then press ZL to see through the sniper gun’s lens. You can zoom in on your target by using the directional pad.
To activate the ‘Kill Cam’ (which essentially mimics the bullet time system from games like Max Payne), you must empty your lungs of air by holding RB on the Gamepad.. Once you have released enough air from your lungs, you can fire your sniper rifle by pressing ZR. This sounds like a lot of buttons to hold on such a large controller, but again – it feels quite comfortable and natural, and the end result is a stunning display of gore as your bullet barrels through the air and penetrates your enemy’s vital organs.
Depending on where you aim, the Kill Cam deaths can be quite graphic as eyes explode from their sockets and lungs collapse from the tremendous velocity of the bullet. Even the sounds of flesh tearing from bone are convincing. The sniper physics are realistic and require the player to account for a multitude of things, such as the wind, Karl’s heart rate, and even gravity.
Since the game encourages the player to snipe from a distance, it’s important to learn how gravity works when firing a sniper rife. When trying to make a headshot, you want to aim slightly above your target’s head to compensate for the ‘pull’ of gravity. When your target is walking or running, you should fire your rifle a few steps ahead of where they will eventually be. Basically, you’re anticipating the shot. Once you understand how to use the sniper rifle effectively, the entire game becomes easy to play.
The single-player campaign offers nine hours of solid gameplay. And like the version available on present platforms, the game rewards the player for their sniper skills at the end of each mission. You are scored on the number of headshots received and covert kills performed, among others. The Wii U version is every bit as good as the original release with one exception – it doesn’t include co-op multiplayer. Developer Rebellion’s decision to exclude multiplayer from the Wii U version of Sniper Elite V2 is unclear, but including it would have improved the game’s longevity.
Graphically, the Wii U version of the game seems to vary depending on the level. Earlier levels have clear, high resolution textures for the buildings and objects, but some of the later levels contain bland, low-res textures (especially during the underground levels; the rocks become pixelated when you get too close).
With graphical flaws and the lack of multiplayer aside, Sniper Elite V2 for Wii U is still a worthwhile purchase, especially if you haven’t played the original release. The game’s replay value is hampered by the absence of a multiplayer feature, though. Hopefully, Rebellion will change its mind and release this feature as DLC in the near future.
Platform: Wii U
Publisher: 505 Games
ESRB: M (Mature)
|Some of the in-game textures look ropey and low-res.|
|Satisfyingly realistic sound effects.|
|The lack of multiplayer limits the game's appeal, but the single-player campaign is solid.|
|Despite some its flaws, Sniper Elite V2 for Wii U is worth owning if you haven't already played it.|