If you like shooting people in the nasal passage
The first Sniper Elite was a game I really wanted to like but struggled with quite a bit. Its controls on the PC were bewilderingly complex, perhaps due to a less the perfect console port, and the game was incredibly difficult. But it had some things that few games did. The environments were huge for the time and because the game was all about sniping its draw distance was also impressive. It had systems for camouflaging yourself and cool tricks like using loud noises to mask the sound of your shots all whilst using, supposedly, realistic ballistics that meant you had to adjust for wind and bullet drop.
Sniper Elite V2 is essentially a remix of the original game though with a few thematic differences. In V2 you play an American sniper who infiltrates Berlin just as the Russians are making their final push. Your mission is to assassinate the remaining scientists responsible for creating Germany's then revolutionary rocket technology so that they cannot defect to the USSR. In the original game you were disguised as a German sniper and you only really had to focus on the Russians, this time you are in an American uniform and both sides are hostile towards you. It would have been nice to occasionally have some allies or at least someone else to distract your enemies but it isn't so much of a hassle.
Aside from that, the changes between this game and the original are largely superficial. The game looks pretty good over all. There are always lots of loose bricks and parts of buildings scattered about that really make it feel as though the city is in a bad way. The kill cams have also been knocked up a notch and are disturbingly detailed. If you land a killing shot somewhere important like the head or major organs, the victim will be x-rayed open, Mortal Kombat style, to show you exactly what damage your round did. And it gets quite disgustingly detailed showing the damage done to teeth, eyes, throat, spine, individual fingers and even testicles! Its quite a show, and there is a scoring system to go along with it though I would say its not as detailed as I would have liked. It will recognise headshots, whether or not the target was moving and the distance, but that's about it. Given the detail the visuals go into it would have been nice to see a little more information added to the scoring, not that the scoring seems to do anything.
The actual sniping feels pretty good and you can adjust whether or not you want to deal with bullet drop or windage but I would say that I never really felt like a true sniper whilst playing. You're certainly a marksman but there is no system in place for camouflage and you are never all that far from your enemy. Below is a shot comparing my Battlefield 3 longest head shot and my longest shot in V2 after completing the game.
I'm fairly sure V2 is measuring in meters but even if that number is yards it still doesn't come close! There are also some cool tricks you can use like masking your gunshots under loud noises like nearby explosions but its only possible in very specific places. To begin with I was trying to listen for incoming mortar rounds and firing as they hit but this didn't seems to work. Then on the next level an icon showed up in the corner of the screen whenever a loudspeaker turned on. It was nice to have a little feedback but it was a shame that this trick wasn't more of a constant tactic that could be used whenever the background noise was active enough.
The environments, whilst often very pretty, are sadly quite linear save for a few brief moments that are so non-linear they are actually quite confusing. This is probably less the developers fault as to make a truly perfect sniper game it would require almost every building to be open so that the player could pick their own vantage point. And the games gives you the ability to climb up certain walls and broken buildings so it feels like you may get to do just that but it never really materializes. It would also have been nice to see some kind of big sniper dual which sadly never really happens and it seems mad that they didn't even attempt to de-throne MGS 3 in this regard. You'll fight other snipers pretty frequently but thanks to the scope glint you get every time they are about to shoot, they're never hard to spot.
I've railed on the game a bit here but I did really enjoy it, there are just so many opportunities it misses. You can incapacitate soldier with a careful shot, leaving them wounded and leading their squad mates out of cover, but I have no idea how to land an incapacitating shot on demand, and even when I do his friends almost always know where I am after I've fired and ignore their injured friend in favor of rushing my position. I would love to keep masking my shots under the sounds of falling artillery but the shelling immediately stops once I pass a certain checkpoint. I can still hear explosions, but they are apparently not close enough. In short Sniper Elite V2 gives you a lot of awesome tools, but never quite puts you in the right situation to use them. I would love to see another, less scripted and guided sequel to this game as I thing they've laid the ground work for something really cool, they just need to leave the player to their own devises rather then leading them by the nose. I did get to shoot Hitler in the face though, so that was pretty good.
If you like sniping in games you could probably call this game a 4/5, if not probably just a 3/5.