Fun as it is to joust with shotguns and automatic weapons, you can't beat a sniper rifle for lingering satisfaction. There's something deeply more-ish about standing at one side of a huge battlefield and putting a bullet right between the eyes of some lowlife standing at the other side, blissfully unaware of his impending snuffing. It's no less enjoyable in Sniper 2 either - it's just the other stuff surrounding it that disappoints.
We could give you the plot to Sniper 2, but frankly, it's easier if you just dream up the most cliched army nonsense you can think of, then fill it with Al Qaeda references, buzzwords like "Tangos on your twelve" and lots of swearing. Most of the game falls into three categories - sniper sections with teammate commands, solo sniper sections and stealth sections (with the odd vehicle section chucked in).
The first of these are our favourites, as you perch yourself on a high ledge while the rest of your team attempts to infiltrate an enemy stronghold. Someone on your radio tells you who to kill, with an icon handily appearing above their heads, and you pick them off one-by-one in what's essentially the world's slowest lightgun game. It may sound dull, but these are actually the highlights.
AI, AI, No
It's once that support disappears and you're left to figure things out for yourself that Sniper 2's shonky AI exposes itself (often literally). Solo sniper sections see you approaching groups of three or four enemies, and working out the order in which to take them out. A great idea in theory, but the implementation is bafflingly inconsistent.
Sometimes your targets will react to the death of a team member two storeys above them, other times they'll blithely ignore a companion's gory death three feet away. Your own character doesn't seem all too bothered about getting caught - during the stealth sections he's constantly chatting away on the radio, having proper arguments with his superiors while lying in the grass within earshot of the enemy.
Depending on the difficulty you select, the actual sniping itself is also a little too easy (playing on Easy or Normal shows you a red dot that tells you exactly where your bullet will go) or far too hard (playing on Hard obliges you to work out the shot based on wind speed and distance, and missing once alerts the enemy).
Sniper 2 clearly isn't the greatest game ever made, then - an appealing-enough concept brought low by shoddy execution. Unabashed scope junkies may find something to amuse them here, however, providing you put a bullet through your better judgement.
By Chris Scullion
B-movie bravado wrapped around an average shooter
- Sniping can be very satisfying
- Squad-based sections are fun
- Delightfully unrealistic dialogue
- Enemy AI is temperamental
- Both too easy and too hard