The joys of maiming unsuspecting Nazis would be reason alone for sniping aficionados to give Sniper Elite V2 a look, but 2-player online co-op really cements V2 as an outstanding game. Full campaign co-op is the main course on offer, with three additional co-op modes rounding out the package:
- Kill Tally is your basic Horde mode. Both players start on the ground, but you’ll want to scramble to a higher, defensible position as soon as possible. From there, take on 10 increasingly aggressive waves of enemies and vehicles, scrambling back to the ground on ammunition runs as necessary.
- Bombing Run gives players a limited amount of time to hunt down the spare parts needed to repair a vehicle and escape the impending carpet bombing. The part locations are indicated by waypoint markers, and you can also check an area map to plan your route. Will you split up to save time or play it safe and stick together? Bombing Runs are tense and challenging; in one memorable game, my partner and I repaired our vehicle and escaped only one second before planes bombed the area to ashes.
- Overwatch makes excellent use of cooperative dynamics. One player snipes while the other is only armed with machine gun, pistol, and binoculars. The Spotter not only marks targets for his sniping buddy, he also has to perform tasks like recovering plans and planting bombs on targets. Both jobs are actually fun to play and necessary for success. If the sniper doesn’t take out the incoming enemies while the spotter does his job, the latter will be killed and you’re forced to restart from either scratch or the most recent checkpoint.
In all modes but Overwatch, players can revive each other when downed. The injured player even gets to shoot at oncoming foes with a pistol, just like in Splinter Cell: Conviction. The host player can set the difficulty for each game type as well – a good thing since not everyone wants to deal with the extra variables that affect the sniping on higher difficulties. Oh, and the highest difficulty, Sniper Elite, is strangely unavailable in campaign co-op. I suppose Rebellion thought it might be too frustrating in a group setting.
While V2’s co-op modes are pretty much all that, they aren’t quite a bag of chips too. At present, there are only three maps for each non-campaign game mode. You can replay them on higher difficulties for variety, but more maps still would have been better. I expect they’ll put new maps up for sale before too long though. Note that the PC version gets some extra longevity from 16-player deathmatch, a mode the console ports lacks. As you could probably tell from this review’s intro, I didn’t miss it too much on Xbox 360.
Still, the consoles could have used split-screen or at least system link play for some fine offline co-op. Online, the matchmaking is a bit rough – your only options are to search for games of a particular type, any type, or host a private match. There’s no way to specifically host a public match; the game just makes you host if no other lobbies are open. If a host sits in his lobby and idles, you’ll have to search for a different game type instead of being able to make your own game of that type.
It’s nice to see Rebellion come out fighting after the mixed reception to their last two games, Aliens vs Predator and Neverdead. Sniper Elite V2 offers everything you could want in a third-person sniping simulator. Ducking around ruined European villages, setting up traps, and scope-killing the evil agents of Hydra, I mean, Nazis makes for a methodical good time. Co-op campaign support, additional co-op modes, and Achievements/Trophies that are actually fun to go after, turn what could have been just a good game into something great. If you enjoy stealth or sniping, Sniper Elite V2 is an asset worth liberating posthaste.
Editor's Note: The Co-Optimus Co-Op Review of Sniper Elite V2 was based primarily on the Xbox 360 version of the game, with some dabbling in the PC version.
The Co-Op Experience: Two players can take on the entire campaign together online. Co-op mechanics include the ability to revive a fallen comrade or spot enemies with your binoculars, marking their locations for both players. Other co-op modes include Killy Tally (survive 10 waves of enemies), Bombing Run (hunt for vehicle parts before time runs out), and Overwatch (one player snipes while the other spots enemies and carries out objectives).
Co-Optimus game reviews focus on the cooperative experience of a game, our final score graphic represents this experience along with an average score for the game overall. For an explanation of our scores please check our Review Score Explanation Guide.