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Review: Sniper Elite V2‘s Upgraded Visuals Don’t Hide Clunky Controls

Screenshot: Sniper Elite V2

Sniper Elite V2 was originally released in 2012 to decent critical reception. Rebellion’s sequel to their 2005 Sniper Elite puts you in the shoes of a badass American sniper who is tasked with going behind enemy lines to thwart Nazi Germany’s V2 rocket program.

 

Screenshot: Sniper Elite V2

Okay, I’ll admit: I like Rebellion’s Sniper Elite games. I’ve had a soft spot for the series ever since I randomly played the first game about five years after its release. They’re not perfect games by any stretch, but their brand of tactical third person stealth combat is fun. Sure, the sniping isn’t entirely real world accurate: distances of 200 meters are considered extremely far. (Spoilers: 200m is not far for a rifle shot.) Bullets drop at a ridiculous rate, so much so that the projectile you’re shooting could not possible penetrate the target like the gruesome x-rays would lead you to believe. And, while I digress, this is an important point to bring up for a game that touts sniping as its number one activity.

Screenshot: Sniper Elite V2

If you’re looking for an authentic sniping experience, Sniper Elite will not provide it, but it does provide a fun approximation of one. Just don’t confuse it with a sniping simulator.

Screenshot: Sniper Elite V2

While stopping Germany’s V2 rocket program sounds like it could be an exciting story, the emphasis in Sniper Elite V2 is not on the narrative. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not horrible, but it doesn’t do much more than serve as a vehicle to get to the next action set piece.

Screenshot: Sniper Elite V2

Sniper Elite V2 rewards caution and stealth. You can always run-and-gun, but long-range attacks while in cover will keep you alive much longer. And with some checkpoints being pretty spread out, death can mean having to replay a long sequence.

Screenshot: Sniper Elite V2

There isn’t an enemy your sniper rifle can’t take care of. Even when you’re facing vehicles like troop trucks and tanks, you just have to find the red fuel cap, shoot that, and all of that German (and sometimes Russian) engineering will go up in explosive smoke.

Screenshot: Sniper Elite V2

Your character also has the superhuman ability to slow time a bit when they’re using the focus ability. The handiest part of this focus skill is the little diamond that represents your bullet’s ultimate destination. This allows for those super “long range” shots that make you feel like a real sniper. And it usually leads to a really gnarly, gratuitous close-up of your enemy’s bones breaking and/or their internal organs rupturing—all in super up-close, slow-mo. It’s my head canon that your character is just imagining these grisly death scenes as he’s callously raining leaded murder from afar.

Screenshot: Sniper Elite V2

When remasters are done well, they’re a great excuse to revisit an older game with modern controls and visuals. Games like The Shadow of the Colossus remake as well as the Resident Evil 2 remake have raised the bar for these types of games, and fans might be expecting more of a remake as opposed to a remaster. But Sniper Elite V2 is a remaster, not a complete remake—think Dark Souls Remastered, where the gameplay remained intact and the visuals had an upgrade. For Dark Souls keeping the feel of the game intact was important—for Sniper Elite V2, not so much.

Screenshot: Sniper Elite V2

First of all, Sniper Elite V2 really suffers from clunky movement and controls. This was something I suffered with as a fan of the series until Sniper Elite 4 and the Zombie Army Trilogy fixed this, and turned movement and shooting into a fluid and satisfying experience.  I was so hoping this would be the case for this remaster, but sadly, it still suffers from the clunky movement of the original.

Screenshot: Sniper Elite V2

Despite the movement, this remaster is touted to have better visuals, a robust photo mode, new characters to play in multiplayer, all of the DLC of the original Sniper Elite V2 included, and expanded multiplayer and co-op modes.

Screenshot: Sniper Elite V2

It’s been a while since I’ve played the original Sniper Elite V2, but the visuals do have more of a modern look. They look best in screenshots,  and look okay in action. The lightning system has seen the most improvements, with some levels that were once bland becoming extremely atmospheric.

Screenshot: Sniper Elite V2

The multiplayer modes have been expanded to support co-op through the entire campaign, extra multiplayer game modes, and higher player caps for these game modes. I wasn’t able to test any of these out for this review, unfortunately. But I do know that you can play as the character from the Zombie Army Trilogy in multiplayer.

Screenshot: Sniper Elite V2

If you already own the original Sniper Elite V2, you can purchase the remastered version as an upgrade for only 10 dollars. That’s not a bad price if you want to check out what the remaster has to offer.If you want to check out Sniper Elite V2 for the first time, this isn’t a bad package—but don’t expect the robust experience you get in Sniper Elite 4.

Sniper Elite V2 Remastered will be available May 14th on Steam

 

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