A Missed Shot: Sniper Elite V2 Remastered Review
The Sniper Elite series has carved out quite the comfortable niche. It has its roots buried deep within the tactical shooter sub-genre and has become an esteemed sniper-sim franchise. Sniper Elite V2, the second entry in the series is not that old. However, Rebellion Developments went back and remastered the game for modern consoles.
Often times it is quite refreshing to reflect on how a series evolved. In the case of Sniper Elite V2 Remastered, the experience was underwhelming. Sniper Elite 4, which released in 2017, had open levels and built off the games that came before it quite nicely. To follow up with a remaster of 2012’s Sniper Elite V2 felt like a misstep for the series.
Admittedly, I have never been too engrossed in the Sniper Elite franchise. I had always respected the lengths Rebellion would go through to create a slow, methodical shooter. One not reliant on run-and-gun gameplay. Instead, the series focuses on slowly tracking your targets and using stealth to systematically take down the enemy to progress. Sniper Elite V2 Remastered did not exactly leave a sour taste in my mouth, but it did leave me wanting more.
In Sniper Elite V2 Remastered, you find yourself in the role of Karl Fairburne, a lone sniper, as he pushes his way through Berlin to stop the launch of the V-2 missile during the latter portion of World War II. As Fairburne is his own one-man-army, you’ll be equipped with traps, side arms, and of course a sniper rifle.
Switching between your equipment feels very fluid. Everything is located on your D-pad so you’re not constantly going through menues during the level. For tagging purposes, you have a set of binoculars that can also help when doing initial recon on one of the many open areas in the game. You’ll also have access to trip-wire explosives and landmines which can open the door to some creative kills if you’re up for the task.
Having initially released in 2012, some of the character movements do feel a bit dated. The biggest headscratcher being the case of how robotic Fairburne moves using the right analog stick. You’ll use the right stick to turn Fairburne, and he’ll move on what feels like an eight-point axis. It feels a bit dated in comparison to today’s standard.
Debatably, one of the most notable gimmicks within the Sniper Elite series is the X-Ray bullet effect. This effect is extremely satisfying time and time again. The routine of tagging a target, holding your breath, and lining up a shot culminating in a slow-motion shot of the bullet hitting the enemy is quite gratifying.
Rebellion Developments have implemented quite a lot of mechanics that shape the effectiveness of your shot. Running, for instance, will negatively impact how long you can hold your breath. If you run up the stairs and into a crow’s nest, you’ll have to catch your breath. Kneeling or going prone reflects on how easy it is to line up a shot, especially at long distances. This adds a interesting element and adds some realism to the experience of being a sniper entrenched in WWII combat.
What brings down the overall experience of being a sniper is how unpredictable the AI is. If a enemy is unaware of your presence, their fairly stagnant in their positioning and makes for an easy take-down. However, the shooting falls apart when the enemy armies are alerted. You can have a sure-fire headshot line up and the AI with turn the enemy unexpectedly and frustrating ways. They’ll duck, they’ll run in circles––most of their maneuvers become unrealistic and frustrating when playing on the harder difficulties.
Each level features at least one open environment where you are encouraged to explore and create your own line of offence. These moments were the standouts as I could get creative and start looking at possible ways to set up a double-kill or funnel enemies through a door for easy takedowns. Aside from that, the level designs are fairly linear.
Visually, Sniper Elite V2 Remastered is a step up from its 2012 release. While still having quite the gray and brown pallet, Rebellion did put a lot into the lighting effects and building textures. These enhancements did improve the look and feel to the world around you but Fairburne and other characters still very much look like their 2012 counterparts. Rebellion even added in a Photo Mode for snapping a few screenshots along the way.
If you’ve been with the series long enough and are feeling a bit nostalgic, the new coat of paint might be enough to bring you back for another playthrough. Beyond that, if you had never played a Sniper Elite title, I can’t see it resonating as much as perhaps Sniper Elite 4 will. Later games in the franchise have the advantage of not only having better controls, but that extra bit of polish you won't find in V2 Remastered.
Verdict: Not Recommended
Available: May 14th, 2019
Platform: PC, PlayStation 4, Switch, and Xbox One
An Xbox One code for Sniper Elite V2 Remastered was provided for review purposes.