In the next few months, two games centered around sniping will be hitting PC and consoles: "Sniper Elite V2", a remake/reboot of 2005's "Sniper Elite" coming out next week, and "Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2", the confusingly-titled third entry in the "Sniper" series, hitting in August.
In other words, if you play your typical shooter as a back-shooting long-range dirtbag in the first place, you're going to be spoiled for choice. Well, in theory, anyway.
But which will be better, overall? Let's take a look and see what's what.
"Sniper Elite", the original game getting remade, got a "Best PC/Console Game" from The Independent Game Developer's Association, and is currently running in the mid-70s at Metacritic.
"Sniper: Ghost Warrior" pretty much got ripped a new butthole, even by discerning critics like IGN and X-Play, and is currently in the low '50s.
So, of the two, we'd say "Sniper Elite V2" has the edge. If nothing else, it was a good game once. That it got a Wii port back in 2010 makes us nervous, though. That gives the game a distinctive look: namely, shovelware.
"Sniper Elite V2" is set during WWII with period accurate weapons, while "Sniper 2" is set in the modern day, with modern day weapons. What this actually means is that setting makes precisely zero difference to gameplay.
Really, it's mostly a question of whether you like to shoot people in the face among burned out buildings, or in lush jungles. We're giving this one to "Sniper 2" just because it's got the CryTek engine, which makes very, very pretty scenery.
This one we've got to call a draw. We hunted up the previous games and tried them out: both have detailed sim mechanics if you want them, and straight up giving some random mook Predator-face before shooting his friend in the daddybags if you don't. The engine is almost amusingly over-detailed on both: wind, gravity, and overall setting play a role, of course, and both are actually fairly easy to get the hang of and use in harder modes. Really, in both games, this is the part clearly lavished the most love and attention on.
We also tried "Sniper Elite"'s demo, and actually, compared to the last version, this one has been substantially improved in terms of usability. It's hard to nail, but it makes sense and isn't frustrating.
Unless something went terribly wrong in development, if you like shooting people from far away in an incredibly fussy manner, both will have the goods.
This one's really a race to the bottom with the originals, if we're being honest.
We're assuming "Sniper 2" got a major AI overhaul because really, it couldn't get much worse and the game got repeatedly ripped for this by just about everybody. The problem was the scripting: enemies acted in really weird ways after you shot one, and a lot of the time, the game forced you into a specific sniping spot that sucked while a really awesome one was right there, in your line of sight, but blocked by an invisible wall because the enemies were all programmed to rush this other bush they wanted you to use. It smelled of "we lost about half our level design budget halfway through development".
Meanwhile, "Sniper Elite" is, well, it's a seven-year-old game. That got a Wii update. Pretty much what happens in previous versions is that you shoot an enemy, and the other enemies will often immediately find your position and sorta just jog over, not taking cover or otherwise acting like, say, somebody with a sniper rifle is shooting at them.
Both previous games are equally awful once you have to start fighting with something other than a sniper rifle. Forget being seven years old: you'll think you're playing a Doom mod once you have to pull a pistol or a machine gun.
On the other hand, from what we've seen of gameplay videos, and playing the demo, these are both drastically improved. So, good for them. But we're reserving judgment a little bit, especially since in the "Sniper Elite" demo, suddenly the Germans knew exactly where we were. After we finally forced the annoying bastards to spawn.
"Sniper 2" has, as we mentioned, the CryTek 3 engine. It looks great. Granted, "Sniper Elite" is no slouch either, but of the two, "Sniper 2" looks purdier.
That's from "Sniper Elite V2".
Yes, that is a man's testicles being popped like blood balloons with a bullet. Yes, the X-ray cam extends throughout the game. Yes, we're giving it the win on ridiculous, and painful looking, shots.
Preorder "Sniper 2", and you get the satisfaction of supporting a developer.
Preorder "Sniper Elite V2", and you get the satisfaction of shooting Hitler in the face.