Without a pulse
I only discovered my love for tactics-heavy games recently; Sniper Elite V2 looked then appeared to be the perfect game to satisfy my niche obsession.
It looks surprisingly pretty — most likely due to the mix of texture-detail and lighting. My first impressions were further strengthened by the tutorial missions. Right off the gate, I was taught to booby-trap an enemy soldier's body with a land mine — killing any curious Nazi. The game was going well until I realized how linear it really is. I was set to ambush a convoy by planting explosive charges on some parked vehicles. I then was instructed to head to a vantage point where I could remotely detonate the charges with a sniper shot. Sure enough, it was very effective at disrupting and dealing with some of the convoy; however, it didn't feel rewarding at all because I didn't think of it. Rather the game itself told me to explicitly carry out these actions. More so, the convoy is not a moving and breathing entity within the world; it was set to come exactly after a timer expired upon completing an objective.
The game if anything goes stale from that point on where each mission is so constrained in both the path and choices you have available. Sometimes as the player, it is simply not possible to avoid taking out guards without alerting the whole German battalion while you’re at it; up begins the battle music and you know there are Nazis heading your way. The enemy soldiers usually don't make it easy to snipe them, so you are forced to switch to a side arm to take them out. One way to deal with the swarm is to scatter a few traps, but either way you will run into a close encounter sometime.
Speaking of side arms, they feel extremely deliberately underpowered and generally boring compared to the sniper rifles. The developers would much rather have the player use a sniper rifle, but in the end it should be possible to switch to something reliable for close quarters if need be. The ammo for non-snipers is scarce — making it even less of a reason to ever use them unless it is completely necessary.
I really wanted the game to be something more than this. It feels like many parts are intentional throwbacks to games of a decade ago: enemies spawn out from their door, levels are closed in by some conveniently parked vehicles, and sometimes there are simply walls to stop the player from wandering too far away.
If you like planning out battles and don't currently have anything to fill this gap for now, it is still a worthwhile experience.