Sniper Elite V2 originally released on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Windows PC back in 2012 to good ratings but now, seven years later, developer Rebellion looks to bring an updated version to current-gen consoles. In this Sniper Elite V2 Remastered review, we’ll discover whether if this is a remaster you should be experiencing or if you’re better off sticking to the original release. We’ll also dive in and see if there is anything here for veterans to come back to and whether or not new players should look to enter the series through this entry.
World War II began when German troops invaded Poland on September 1st, 1939.
History enthusiasts, conspiracy nuts, and those who love stories centered around convert operations will feel right at home here. Sniper Elite V2 Remastered puts you into the shoes of Lieutenant Karl Fairburne, who is an American OSS officer and is pretty handy with the Ol’ sniper rifle.
It’s 1945, we’re reaching the conclusion of World War 2, and we’re sent into Berlin to complete a series of missions. The game is open on your objectives and where many games have you infiltrating to kill certain key Nazi individuals – and you’ll do some of that here- that’s never your primary goal. You aren’t a super soldier trying to end the war single-handedly, instead, the game centers around the German team of scientists who defected to America and were responsible for the V-2 ballistic missiles. You’ll either be putting them out of their misery or helping them become American benefactors. Whatever it takes to stop those silly Russians from getting that intel.
The story offers very little besides the setup and although the campaign has a nice length to it, it never feels like anything more than an excuse to provide context for your actions. Those who have never – and will never- have any interest in history, will not feel alienated or forced to trek through a plot they have no interest in. Those who do, will either already know these events or be inspired to seek out more knowledge.
I appreciated what the plot is, and I’ve always been somewhat interested and a fan of American history. The story really shines, it truly caught my interest, every time I got to see the black and white film reel footage. In an era where games focus on their graphics and use in-game models to tell a story, it was a breath of fresh air to see such an archaic form of media finding relevance and being utilized in our current high-tech generation. The other side of this, the negative part, is that you never really feel any connection whatsoever to the characters you play as. Mr. Fairburne has no real personality and just comes across as a generic soldier that’s bland and only follows orders. Even if we take the approach that he’s meant to be that way for us to put ourselves into his shoes, I still lacked that motivation from a story perspective. I think, like most, it’s the gameplay that’ll bring you back. What I’m trying to say is that you shouldn’t expect a story that’ll redefine the genre but, at the same time, what’s here is not too shabby.
World War II lasted from 1939 to 1945.
Gameplay is broken into four categories: Campaign, Kill Tally, Challenge, and Multiplayer. We’ll discuss each one but let’s get the general gameplay out of the way first.
Depending on the mode, after selecting what you’ll be doing and where you’ll be doing it, you’ll be able to select your character and your armament. Each character you choose has their own background stories and it’s my understanding some of them were downloadable content in the original release and some of them are new characters from their spin-off series Zombie Army Trilogy.
After selecting your character, you’ll pick what you want to take with you into battle. There are a lot of weapons to take with you but it’s obvious that the most important selection -and the one with the most options- are the sniper rifles. Besides a sniper rifle, you’ll choose a secondary weapon, a sidearm, and other items. The other items are more interesting because you have the restriction of carrying five of them with you. You can take trip mines with you, F1 grenades, dynamite, etc.
The game allows you to choose what you want to take and working within the limit of five, how many you can take. By default, you’re given one of each but you can change that, as I often did, and you can carry three grenades and two dynamites for example. Which is what I mostly ran with. It’s nice that the game attempts balance and allows you to choose how you want to approach a level by giving you this freedom, but also making it fair by not allowing you to overload your character with everything. It encourages experimentation and it’s nicely implemented because even though I found the above to be preferred, I still experimented and tried new things.
Now, once you start the level, stealth is the name of the game. It is the preferred method because the A.I. in this game is unique in both extremes of the difficulty spectrum. When you’ve begun shooting and engage in a firefight with the A.I., they can become extremely difficult and have the accuracy of the best shooters ever. When you are not firing at each other and are stealthily traversing through the environment, the A.I. is absolutely terrible and it’s very easy to make a mockery of them. I would have preferred something in the middle but, well… here we are.
The gameplay feels dated, as well as the movement, and shooting is terrible with the exception of the sniper rifle mechanics. Before we get into the sniper mechanics, let’s address the other weapons. Aiming is pretty terrible and enemies take more bullets from these non-sniper rifle weapons than they should. In relation to how many rounds it takes to put them down compared to you, there is a large discrepancy as you die pretty easily. The sniper rifle mechanics, on the other hand, are superb. You’ll zoom your scope on the enemy and with the touch of a button you’ll empty your lungs or hold your breath, and taking bullet drop into consideration, you’ll fire to take out that enemy. A well-placed shot will give you those wonderful x-ray shots; their frequency can be adjusted in the menu, and some of the death animations can be pretty comical.
Nintendo Switch’s HD rumble and motion controls are an excellent showcase for this game because their implementation adds another positive layer to the strong sniping mechanics, especially when it’s replicating your heartbeat and it can even make you nervous or anxious.
Sniper Elite V2 Remastered also has cover mechanics that were popularized by games like Gears Of War and everything you do will give you points. To distract enemies, you also have an infinite amount of rocks to throw and your other sub-weapons do help you out when you’re being overwhelmed. I would also like to give a shout out to the game’s tutorial mode because it’s very well done and eases the player into learning the mechanics. For those who love to use Photo Mode, you’ll find a nice one here.
Now, let’s talk about handheld mode. The game runs great portable but the issue I did notice that I ran into a lot was that it was difficult at times to spot enemies that were far away. I would be taking shots from somewhere and not be able to find out from where, until I saw the sunlight reflect off of the enemy sniper’s scope. It’s great that the developers have that mechanic in the game, but I’m pretty sure it was not implemented to counteract this unforeseen circumstance. Now I don’t know if it’s because of the enemy uniforms and environment but this has never happened to me before on Switch. While replaying the levels on the T.V., I did not run into these issues. It’s nothing game breaking and it might be different from player to player, but I felt it was worth mentioning.
While many countries were involved in the war, each took sides – either with the Allies, or the Axis.
Right off the bat, I’m going to address the Multiplayer. Reviewing games that have a multiplayer component before release is almost always impossible because of the lack of players to play with. It’s unfortunate for me to type, but I was unable to test online multiplayer because I found no one to play with. Local co-op is done with everyone having their own Switch, but I also could not test this. From what I’ve been able to research, and from playing Zombie Army Trilogy on PS4, there doesn’t seem to be a reason why this game would run well as their other games have performed well online. The Campaign is just a play through the story with different objectives depending on the chapter, pretty standard fare. The other two modes are Kill Tally and Challenge. Kill Tally is pretty much a survival mode. You will choose your character and armament and fight of waves of enemies with the goal to kill as many enemies as possible. Challenge will have objectives to complete and it’s up to you to figure out the best way to accomplish these tasks. You’ll do things like raid weapon supply boxes to get more items and ammunition to aid you, clear villages of enemies, and you’ll prepare for ambushes. There is a lot to do in Sniper Elite V2 Remastered and it’s all, for the most part, fun to participate in. To round out the experience, you have a healthy amount of Extras. The game offers career stats that breaks down everything you’ve done based on single player, cooperative, and multiplayer. The game even has achievements -yes, even the Switch version- and leaderboards to compare your stats to players around the world.
The main Axis countries were Germany, Italy and Japan.
Now when I first got into the game and started playing it, I thought the graphics were good but not as good as they should be. Upon research for this review to place the release date in the article, I learned that this is actually a remaster of a 2012 game that originally released on the Xbox 360, PS3, and PC. The Switch version, compared to those older releases, is drastically improved over those older entries. For those interested in the other remastered versions, those will get HDR and 4K support, as well as, run at 60FPS. The Switch is stuck at 30FPS, but it still looks fantastic and you can take it on the go. From what I’ve gathered, every version offers something great and special for the player and getting any version will suffice and will all come down to your lifestyle and preference. You will not go wrong either way and whats in this review should apply across the board for the most part. Now, with that being said, this is primarily a review for the Nintendo Switch version of Sniper Elite V2 Remastered.
This is, for all intended purposes, still a 360 game only everything is more detailed and sharper than before. When looking at footage from the original versions of Sniper Elite V2 you can see a lot of muddy textures and low-resolution artifacts used in the environments that no longer exist in the remastered version. The level of detail is substantially increased, everything is sharper, and everything has a level of clarity that wasn’t present before. The lighting in the game is impressive, even more so when looking at what was and what is now. The skies have god rays, rays of light filter into buildings, and shadows are cast from everything. Walking into a broken building with sunlight entering and seeing dust particles within is a nice touch of detail that wasn’t either present in prior console generations or at least not to this level. The environments, besides nicely detailed, are varied as well. You’ll see barren, destroyed cities, you’ll see underground structures and areas with nice lush trees and flora. It’s the former you’ll see a lot of and, if you take the time to truly picture how things were before, they tell their own stories in a way. Despite the nice graphics and being remastered on more powerful hardware, Sniper Elite V2 Remastered suffers from a lot of pop in. It’s more frequent and apparent at the start of a level but you’ll see it throughout your play session and it’s more noticeable than it should be. Hopefully, it’ll be addressed in a patch sooner rather than later.
In the story section, I mentioned the film reel footage used to tell the game’s story; I just want to reiterate how fantastic they are. It really helps to capture the feel for the era this game is supposed to take place in. Character models aren’t the best, they come across as plastic mannequins related to Ken dolls. There is a lot more attention to detail in the clothing fabrics, its just the models themselves that could have been better. Now, the genuine highlight of the game’s graphics is definitely the slow motion kill cam. Whenever you get a good kill at an impressive distance, the game will follow the bullet in slow motion to its target. At the very least you’ll see the bullet pierce through skin and see some blood splatter but, at its best, you’ll get an additional layer that shows the target’s skeleton and bones shatter. There is almost an addictive element to the gameplay in timing your shot perfectly to see the bullet pierce through the body and see blood and bones shatter and splatter everywhere. A satisfying kill from being an actual sniper and planning your shot accordingly with patience. For the most part, Sniper Elite V2 Remastered is a great looking game, a step up from its original release, but has some performance issues that would be best rectified. I do want to give a special shout out to the game’s fire effects because they are very well done. You can see the heat of fire wavering in front of you with a very nice level of realism that wasn’t possible back on the 360 and PS3.
The main Allied countries were Great Britain, the United States, France and the Soviet Union.
Sniper Elite V2 Remastered has a great sound design for a game from 2012. Starting with the voice acting, the actor who narrates the events of the game does an excellent job doing so. When put together with the film reel footage, it fits perfectly with how they were narrated back in the day. That’s pretty much for voice acting, despite the few times you hear other actors during gameplay. Nothing really memorable and the narrator is by far the best performance. There isn’t much music besides what’s present during the opening menu but that one is actually really good and almost feels like a waste being there as you probably won’t be spending too much time there. In the actual game, and where the sound design sounds best, is with the use of weapons. Guns all sound how you’d imagine them too but with just the right amount of punch that other games often lack. It’s an attention to realism that other games should try to emulate. You add this and how realistic it sounds to hold your breath to steady your shot and you have an excellent layer that sits well with the gameplay. You can say I’ve found the audio direction of this title surprisingly well done.