The overall plot is similar to the first game. You are once again Karl Fairburne, an OSS officer who is inserted into Berlin in 1945; only your mission is to kill V2 scientists and seize information related to the V2 Missiles before the Soviets can get their hands on them.
The story takes place in Germany during the final days of WWII and the player must navigate and fight their way through a city crawling with both Nazi and Soviet troops. As part of the Operation Paperclip program, Karl must find and identify several German scientists who want to defect away from the crumbling Nazi regime, killing the ones who join the Soviets and protecting the ones joining the Americans. Partway through his mission, though, he discovers that the Soviet-leaning scientists have decided to prove their loyalty to Stalin by using their Wunderwaffe against an unsuspecting target, and Karl must now fight his own ostensible allies to stop them.
The overall game play has been tweaked but should be familiar to anyone who played the first game. One of the new features is the X-Ray Kill Cam. On certain shots you get to see the damage and trauma your bullet causes as it passes through the target. It can be gory and visceral to see your bullet put out an eye, smash through some organs, and shatter bones.
The sniping mechanic is virtually unchanged depending on difficulty settings. The Difficulty settings determine basic AI behavior, how realistic your bullet physics are, and what tactical aides the player can rely on. At the highest difficulty setting the game has fairly realistic sniping mechanics which require the player to account for bullet drop over distance and bullet drift to the side from wind.
The game still has stealth elements but they are focused more on staying out of direct line of sight and noise discipline. Also hiding bodies can prevent an enemy from frantically combing the area searching for a hidden sniper. Some elements like shot maskingnote is still present, but only in certain areas.
The multiplayer has been changed up a bit from the previous game to include a Coop Campaign and new multiplayer modes.
There are four DLC packs that have been released for the game: The Landwehr Canal Pack, the Neudorf Outpost Pack, the formerly-Pre-Order Bonus Kill Hitler mission, and St Pierre. All of the packs introduce new missions separate from the main game and add new weapons.
Up to 8 free multiplayer maps have been released for the game along with various updates to make them compatible with the game types.
A "Game of The Year" edition has been released that contains all the DLC content in one package. Some versions of the GOTY edition do not include the mission from the Landwehr Canal Pack, but include the weapons.
A prequel set in Africa, Sniper Elite III, was released June 27th, 2014 in Europe and July 1st elsewhere. An interquel, set in Italy following the events of III, Sniper Elite 4, was released on February 14, 2017.
A standalone expansion, Sniper Elite: Nazi Zombie Army, was released in late February 2013. Its features include a 1-4 player co-op campaign, incredibly dense clusters of lumbering enemies, new weapons (including shotguns), all weapons from the original game and its DLC, and the stealth elements of the main game largely removed due to the sheer number of enemies you're facing.
A sequel to Nazi Zombie Army, naturally called Sniper Elite: Nazi Zombie Army 2, was released on October 31st 2013.
An Updated Re-release called Sniper Elite V2 Remastered was released on May 14, 2019, updating the graphics and bundling all Downloadable Content for free, and released for PC, Xbox One, Playstation 4, and Nintendo Switch.
This game provides examples of:
- Accidental Aiming Skills:
- On the higher difficulty settings if you don't account for wind and bullet drop due to gravity this can result, at least if you're lucky enough that it doesn't result in a total miss. For example, you may shoot at the guy on the right but hit the guy on the left.
- It is possible to accidentally hit the grenade an enemy is carrying possibly taking out multiple enemies. Sure, I meant to do that...
- Advertised Extra: The Wehrmacht are heavily featured both on the main menu and several promotional shots, and are shown more prominently than the Red Army. In the actual game, however, it's the Red Army that you'll be fighting more during the campaign.
- Arrow Cam: You get a variety of views of the bullet leaving your gun barrel with a visible shock wave and get to watch it strike your target in a usually gruesome fashion. There is an X-Ray Cam that shows the path of the bullet as it passes through your enemy. The bullet will be shown destroying eyes, shattering bones, and rupturing organs.
- Art Evolution: Karl Fairburne's character model in the remaster now resembles his Sniper Elite 4 version more, with darker skin tone, additional wrinkles on his face, and the same hairstyle. In addition, the guns in the remaster now use their louder and more realistic Sniper Elite 4 sounds, with some weapons like the Lee-Enfield getting their Sniper Elite 4 models as well.
- The Artifact: The player characters from the Zombie Army Trilogy still have their yellow Survivor Brigade armbands and carry the cylindrical container used to hold the Sagamata relic. They shouldn't have those, as Hitler does not raise the dead in this continuity.
- Ascended Extra: In the remastered version, the other player characters from the Zombie Army Trilogy have been made playable for V2's campaign.
- Benevolent Architecture: There is a variety of debris, vehicles, and bombed out buildings scattered about the various levels that benefit both the players and the enemy.
- Big Bad: Dr. Wolff, the leader of a group of scientists and officers closely involved in the V2 rocket program. What makes him special is that, unlike a lot of other scientists in the same field, he is willing to sell his secrets and expertise out to the Soviet Union in exchange for his life.
- Blasting It Out of Their Hands: Subverted. Hits on enemy weapons give off a ping, send sparks flying, and stagger the enemy but they retain their weapon.
- Bloodier and Gorier: Compared to the previous game it is more gory and detailed.
- Booby Trap: Tripwire grenades, dynamite, land mines, vehicle gas tanks with a visible fuel cap, and an assortment of destructible environmental objects can all be used as deliberate or impromptu booby traps against the enemy.
- Bookends: The game begins and ends at the Brandenburg Gate.
- Boom, Headshot!:
- The guaranteed kill is to make head shots with the sniper rifle. As a sniper you get more fame points for head shots at range. Plus when the bullet hits home there is a spray of blood and an entry and exit wound. If you get the X-Ray kill cam you will see your bullet as it travels through the enemys skull.
- Subverted with pistols and sub-machine gun hits to enemy helmets. There will instead usually be a noticeable ping sound and the enemy will stagger. But if you hit them in the face they will die instantly.
- Bottomless Magazines: Played straight for NPCs, subverted for the player, although you're unlikely to ever be wanting for sniper rifle ammo. Interestingly, whenever you loot the corpse of any enemy you receive a limited amount of ammunition or other munitions.
- Bullet Time:
- When making a kill shot the game stops time just to show the bullet as it travels into the target.
- There is a focus mode where if the character's heartbeat is low enough it will slow time down making it easier to target fast enemies and take more difficult shots.
- Burn Baby Burn: Wolff covers the paper trail to his secret plot by having all his documents burned.
- Call-Back: The story of the first Sniper Elite game began at Brandenburg Gate, the same place where this game ends. There's also the Neudorf Outpost DLC mission, which is basically the HD version of one of the first game's missions.
- Capital Offensive: The game takes place during the Battle of Berlin, just as the Soviet Red Army is closing on the German capital.
- Cold Sniper: The Player Character and enemy snipers. They are all presented as cold and efficient professional snipers whose goal is to kill the enemy effectively.
- Commie Nazis: The main antagonists are a group of German officers and scientists willing to sell out their own country and their scientific genius and secrets to the Soviets in exchange for their lives.
- Conveniently Timed Distraction: Several levels have a mechanic where you can maintain stealth by firing at the same time there is a loud background noise such as an explosion.
- Coup de Grâce: You can walk up and just shoot incapacitated enemy soldiers rolling on the ground or snipe wounded enemies in the open.
- Deadly Gas: What Tabun turns out to be late in the campaign, a deadly nerve agent. And Wolff's, and by extension the Soviets', Evil Plan involves test-firing a V2 rocket loaded with a warhead containing the agent aimed at London, then subsequently blaming it on the German forces. Of course, if you're familiar with the history of nerve agents, you'll know what it is upon hearing the name.
- Difficulty Spike: On Sniper Elite Difficulty, starting with the mission to retrieve documents from a Soviet outpost, the game experiences a sharp spike in difficulty. Enemy sniper teams ambush the player starting the difficulty spike. The enemy snipers have perfect aim, reflexes, and later missions have multiple enemy snipers appearing in various locations to ambush the player. Two sniper shots can kill the player outright and the only way to locate the enemy is to have them shoot at you or get lucky and spot the light glinting off their scope as they take aim at you. Add in that the player has to account for both bullet drop and wind affecting their shot in addition to being wounded by an enemy shot throwing off your aim.
- Dirty Communists: In contrast to most other World War II games set in Europe, the Soviets are antagonists, and as such are depicted in a negative manner.
- Disc-One Final Boss: Ultimately, the Wehrmacht are eventually sidelined in the campaign in favor of the Red Army, who are far-better equipped, more numerous, and pose a bigger threat. By the final level, there are no German forces left to oppose both them and Karl.
- Early Installment Weirdness: This game, compared to its two prequels that come afterward, is far more linear, has far smaller maps which limit exploration, and enemy AI is much, much simpler. In addition, there is the lack of a save feature, there is no quick-access inventory, and there is Regenerating Health instead of the medkits used in the later titles.
- Elaborate Underground Base: The V2 production facility Karl is tasked with blowing up early in the game is located in an old mineshaft, in addition to being the headquarters for several of the V2 rocket program's top scientists.
- Elite Mooks: The enemies who wear great coats and carry submachine guns or rifles. The elite troops are more aggressive, more likely to use grenades, and are better shots.
- Escort Mission:
- At one point during the Opernplatz mission, you have to save a defecting German scientist from execution and cover him from where you are so he can escape to your location by sniping every enemy that's in his way. He's got a gun of his own, he uses it fairly well, and he knows when to take cover. It's surprisingly fun. He later ends up dying from wounds he took during his escape.
- The co-op mode Overwatch is all about this - one player is sent in with an SMG and a pistol to accomplish objectives, while the other one stays at the spawn point with a sniper rifle and supports him.
- Every Bullet Is a Tracer: Enemy rifle fire can easily be traced back, machine gun fire a bit less so.
- Evil Power Vacuum: As in the previous Sniper Elite game, this takes place during the final days of the Third Reich and the battle for Berlin, when Stalin's Soviet Union was on the verge of smashing Hitler's empire out of existence and supplanting it with his own.
- Evil vs. Evil: It's Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany versus Josef Stalin and the Soviet Union. And you are caught in the crossfire, as an American agent sent to secure secrets and kill Nazi scientists.
- Excuse Plot: The plot is thin at best, and involves a staple "Nazis and Russians trying to control the world" plot. That said, the game delivers thoroughly on the visceral kill-cam, which was a primary selling point for the game.
- Exploding Barrels: Explosive barrels, fuel cans, and scattered explosive munitions for various forms of artillery. The obvious clue is they are red or have a red part.
- False Flag Operation: The Soviets capture a German V2 rocket launch site just outside of Berlin, complete with an intact V2 rocket loaded with Tabun. With Wolff's help, they plan on launching the captured rocket to hit London to test the nerve agent's effectiveness. Then, to avoid any repercussions from the Western Allies, they'll promptly blame the whole incident on surviving elements of the German Army.
- Fake Difficulty: Enemy snipers blatantly do not have to compensate for bullet drop or wind like the player does, several sections/Kill Tally have blatantly respawning enemies close to the player (Which can result in being killed by a submachine gunner that was very clearly not there 5 seconds ago.) and several sections will raise the alarm even if you remain undetected.
- Groin Attack: When you shoot the enemy in the right spot the player is shown an xray cam view of the bullet obliterating the enemys testicles which is a kill shot.
- Hand Guns: Some enemies, the player, and a friendly NPC use various handguns. The player can even select a silenced pistol for stealth work. The various handguns serve as a back up weapon for the player.
- Harder Than Hard: Sniper Elite mode. The enemies are more alert and fight more aggressively. Their weapons fire will become more accurate and enemies with rifles will seriously injure or kill the player in short order. The player also has no tactical aides to show where shots are coming from, when an enemy has been alerted to their presence, or to aid the player with calculating bullet impact points. The player has to account for both wind and bullet drop when shooting.
- His Name Is...: Schwaiger dies as he's trying to tell you what "Tabun" is — specifically just as he clarifies it's not referring to a person.
- Historical In-Joke: The "Kill Hitler" mission consists in sniping Hitler while he is in the Alps. Something similar had really been imagined by the Allies, though it was a British plan and involved a pair of operatives instead of a single one.
- Hollywood Silencer: The Welrod pistol, which has an integral suppressor, makes the classic "cat sneeze" sound when fired. note
- Hyperspace Arsenal: Mostly subverted, as you can only carry one rifle, one submachine gun, and a holstered pistol.
- Immune to Bullets: Cars, tanks, and APC vehicles. Unless the vehicle has an external fuel tank with a gas cap you can't kill it with your gun. However, dynamite or Panzerfaust shots will kill them.
- Improperly Placed Firearms: Some Russians carry Lugers in the base game. It's also pretty jarring to be able to find ammo for the Mosin-Nagant on the bodies of German soldiers, though it was not unusual for both sides to carry and use captured weapons, so both are plausible enough. DLC weapons throw plausibility out the window, where with the right ones German and Soviet soldiers may now have British .303 or even Japanese 7.7mm Arisaka rounds on them.
- The DLC lists the M1 Garand and the Type 99 as using 7.62 x 51 mm NATO cartridges. This cartridge was not developed until years after the end of the war. A version of the M1 Garand would be chambered for the new cartridge by the US Navy, but the Type 99 never used it.
- Lead the Target: You need to do this to hit moving enemy targets. This can be complicated by having the difficulty high enough to have to account for wind.
- Limited Loadout: One sniper rifle, one SMG (or the Panzerfaust) and one pistol. Then again, you'll mostly be using the sniper rifle anyway.
- Mêlée à Trois: This being set in the final weeks of the Battle of Berlin, the Germans and Russians will fight each other whenever they get the chance. The player, an American sniper, can decide to join in, sneak by in the confusion or just watch and pick off what is left of the victors.
- Misidentified Weapons: A minor example regarding the Thompson: it's identified as the M1 variant but it was modeled after the M1A1 variant. Both guns are functionally the same, but the M1 variant had a different bolt and lacked the rear-sight guard (at least with the earlier M1s; later M1s had the "ears" added).
- Moe Greene Special:
- Head shots with the sniper rifle to the eye usually destroy the eye and continue through the head.
- The player is awarded an achievement for shooting an enemy in the eye.
- Mooks: The average Russian/German Soldier you encounter. Their general purpose in the game is to serve as fodder for your sniping or to assist more elite units in dealing with the player.
- More Dakka: Enemies typically carry a sub-machine gun, semi-automatic rifles, or will man machine gun turrets. The player also has access to these weapons, including a sniper version of the semi-automatic rifle.
- Moving Target Bonus: A kill shot on a moving target scores extra points. There's also has an achievement ("Gung Ho") for scoring 100 such kills.
- No "Arc" in "Archery":
- Subverted and Played straight. Depending on difficulty you can have a flat trajectory or have to take into account bullet drop due to gravity when shooting over longer distances.
- Every sniper rifle has a "muzzle velocity" stat that determines how badly they're affected by bullet drop. On the Sniper Elite difficulty the stats also determine how severely the bullet is affected by the wind. You'll experience bullet drop no matter what rifle you use, but it'll be more or less pronounced depending on muzzle velocity. Suffice it to say, this isn't how it works in real lifenote .
- No Scope: You can realistically shoot the rifle while out of scope and kill an enemy, but you are not as accurate.
- One-Hit Polykill: If multiple enemies are lined up you can kill most of them with one shot and get an achievement in the bargain.
- One-Man Army: You take on trucks full of enemies, elite sniper teams, enemy filled fortified structures, armoured vehicles, and with one of the DLC packages can even assassinate Hitler while fighting his guard contingent.
- Only a Flesh Wound:
- Shooting enemies in the legs or arms makes them stagger.
- You can also wound them with a hip or gut shot and they will roll around on the ground in pain. If they are rescued by an ally, they will be bandaged up and back in the fight as if nothing happened.
- Pineapple Surprise: You can shoot an enemy's grenade while he's still wearing it, earning extra fame points for a "Remote Detonation" and potentially taking out a few additional baddies in the explosion.
- Pink Mist: There is usually a spray of blood and bits of skull flying around when you achieve a headshot. There are also frequently blood splatter spots on the walls or ground where you shot the enemy.
- Scope Snipe: Played straight. It is possible to pull this shot off but it is difficult due to the small size of the scope opening and difficulty in lining up your shot at the perfect angle.
- Shoot the Fuel Tank: Every vehicle has at least one fuel tank or can with a shootable red cap on it. Note that you have to shoot the cap, rather than the tank itself. Of some note is the fact that it can be difficult to successfully shoot the fuel cap on a German tank without having the high ground. Taking out the V2 rocket requires the player to do this as well, though the target is a little bigger.
- Shout-Out: The Achievement "World Record", for making 506 sniper kills, is a reference to the famous Winter War sniper Simo Häyhä, who had 505 confirmed sniping kills.
- Sniper Rifle: You get three different ones over the course of the game, with varying characteristics including stopping power, bullet velocity and drop, magazine size, semi-auto or bolt-action operation, and zoom level. DLC adds another six, for nine in total.
- Sniper Scope Sway: Player heart rate, position, and whether you are using the focus mode or not can influence scope sway.
- Sniping Mission: Every mission is a sniping mission. See the title of the game. You're encouraged to use your sniper rifle at almost every turn, with other weapons and explosives being situational.
- Stealth Pun: The title. The "V2" in Sniper Elite V2 obviously refers to the V2 rockets, but it could also mean "version two", as the game is effectively a remake of the original.
- Sticks to the Back: The rifle and submachine gun look a bit awkward without any visible means of securing it to your character's back when not in use.
- Stuff Blowing Up:
- The V2 Factory Mission. The character is fighting off the Nazis after being discovered searching for intel in the control room, when the bombs planted start going off. Cue an assortment of explosions and a general flight of both the player and the enemy from the factory.
- After the player stops the launch of the V2 Missile loaded with Tabun, the whole area pretty much explodes.
- It's also possible to shoot the grenade attached to someone's belt or the warhead of an enemy's Panzerfaust, causing this to happen.
- Shooting the fuel tank on vehicles blows them up.
- The player can plant dynamite bundles, which can later be sniped to create huge explosions.
- Tactical Withdrawal: If the enemy begins flanking you or you are wounded it is wise to back off and hide for a short bit.
- The Guards Must Be Crazy: Played straight in some areas, subverted in others. Throwing a rock will cause any guard who hears it to go to the source of the noise, but they'll canvass the area in search of an intruder. And while enemies will go back to normal if enough time has passed since they've been alerted, while alerted they generally move erratically because they know there's a sniper around and don't want you to get a bead on them.
- Third-Person Shooter: Whenever sniper mode is off the player views the world in a 3rd person perspective.
- Token Good Teammate: Amongst the German scientists and officers Karl is tasked with assassinating, it turns out Schwaiger was actually Good All Along, and was intending on defecting to the Western Allies before Wolff discovered his plans and stopped him.
- Trigger Happy: Every enemy who sees you. Enemies will gladly hose down the area with gun fire that they saw you in last.
- Unflinching Walk: Karl does this at the end of the game. After blowing up the Tabun-bearing V2 rocket. Karl's a ways away from the explosion when he does it, but the size of the blast makes up for that.
- Universal Ammunition: Seemingly enforced with pistol and rifle ammo. Any ammo you pick up from dead enemies will always be for the correct weapon. For example, what's a Nazi soldier doing with Japanese, American, and British rifle ammo? The SMG ammunition is usually for the MP 40, which you can always switch out. The pistol ammo is justified as the Welrod (if you haven't switched to the 1911 or any of the DLC pistols) and the Luger take the same ammo in Real Life, though so does the MP 40.
- Unusable Enemy Equipment: After a fashion; you have access to every weapon that enemies do (unless you count tanks), and several weapons they don't, but the only weapons that can be picked up off enemies are submachine guns. This is probably to keep you from swapping sniper rifles mid-mission or getting too many grenades.
- Updated Re-release: Sniper Elite V2 Remastered, which released on May 14, 2019. This new version, intended mainly for Eighth-Generation Consoles, contains all Downloadable Content packs, character models ported directly from Zombie Army Trilogy, and updated graphics and visuals.
- Urban Warfare: The majority of the missions take place in war torn cities.
- Video Game Cruelty Potential:
- Shooting to wound. Then kill or wound anyone who comes to help the wounded man as he cries out for help. The wounded enemy will die without treatment after a few minutes, and you can just sit there and watch, or practice your grenade-lobbing skills, or run a good distance away and shoot him with the sniper rifle for long-distance kill points. And yes, this sort of thing is Truth in Television.
- Also, it is possible to shoot an enemy in the testicles, often accompanied by an X-Ray cam of the gonads bursting like eggs. This will kill the target instantly note .
- Vocal Dissonance: Karl's voice is much deeper than you'd expect from his character model.
- Weapon Title: The "V2" portion refers not only to this game's status as a Continuity Reboot (i.e. "version 2"), but also because the game's plot focuses on the V2 rocket, a Nazi wonder-weapon. Specifically, Karl Fairburne, The Protagonist, is ordered by the OSS to: (1) Assassinate key German military officers and scientists willing to sell out to the Soviets in exchange for their knowledge on the weapon; and (2) Destroy any V2 rocket facilities remaining within Germany. Late in the game, Karl even finds out about an Evil Plan by the Soviets to load a single V2 rocket with Tabun, launch it at London to test the lethality of the gas, and promptly blame it on the dying Third Reich.
- When All You Have Is a Hammer...: This is played with. Some levels provide unique items like the Panzerfaust anti-tank rocket or a mounted machinegun. However, the game still heavily focuses on the use of the sniper rifle. Tank? Sniper rifle. Truck? Sniper rifle. Launching V2 rocket? SNIPER RIFLE! To push the point home, the player is allowed to carry three magazines for his SMG (including the one loaded into it) and only a handful more for his pistol, while carrying over a hundred sniper rifle rounds.