When given the chance to review the remastered version of Sniper Elite V2, I was pretty excited because I remembered playing it way back when on the PS3 and enjoying the concept and some of the gameplay. Do I remember it being amazing? No, but I figured if Rebellion was going to put it back out into the wild, this time with better graphics, it would be better than the original. I figured the sniper kills would be better, the gameplay would be smoother and the graphics, of course, updated. I was not correct in most of my assumptions.
Set in World War II outside and inside of Berlin, you are a sneaky, stealthy soldier named Karl Fairburne, who is tasked with killing as many Nazi rocket scientists and soldiers as possible. Sometimes that task is up close and others, super far away, hence the sniper title. Things I liked about this game were all on display here: the crawling, the lining up the shots, the cool gory kill shots and of course, feeling like a total badass while doing it all. The actual sniping parts of each mission are the best part and from what I understand, later installments of this series got the tone, the gore, the graphics and everything in between right. This game however, might just be suffering from the fact that it is almost a ten year old game, being pushed out for modern consumption and it is not a “classic” or beloved fan favorite game.
Something cool and new to this version of Sniper Elite V2 is that there is a photo mode and you can take some snaps of your epic kill shots. Send them out to some friends and show them how you knocked down some of the top Nazi scientist of 1945. On top of that, missions are not super long, the environments are not very big, so you can crank through a bunch in not a lot of time. Also, if you played the original and liked it, not much has changed, except that it now has better textures, smoother frame rate and overall remastered graphics.
However, some aspects of this game I didn’t love were also on full display here, which for better or for worse, were some of the issues I had with the original as well. My major issue with this game is the clunky controls. Having to go hand to hand with enemies is tough enough but the third person aspects to this game make close range combat frustrating and just not worth it. It always feels like a struggle to get an accurate shot off with the pistol or machine guns. I often would find myself looking out windows and trying to pick guys off, one by one instead, which would be fine but this leads to the next major issue: incredibly stupid AI.
While standing behind one soldier, I shot another across the map, in the head, and the soldier I was near didn’t even turn around. On top of that, the soldier I shot in the head, somehow didn’t go down. This made the game feel incredibly unrealistic and at times, frustrating to say the least. I wish that this game had focused more on the sniper parts of the missions and less on the getting out alive. I could do those all day. But instead, I would find myself running around, hoping to get out of the situation, not being able to kill AI who didn’t even know there was an issue until I was literally on top of them. It just felt very much outdated and not what you want out of a game about warfare.
Another aspect to the game that is offered is multiplayer. I played a bit of the multiplayer offerings, which either allow for a friend to join you on the main missions or for a 16 person death-match type deal. I didn’t play with a friend but I did try out the death-match. I would say it is nothing special, if anything not as good as other remakes, like Call of Duty 4, and that once again, the controls do this mode no favors. It just feels outdated and not all that fun.
I guess my standards have been raised on the “remaster” games based on what Capcom was able to do with Resident Evil 2. Not only was that an echo of the great game that helped spark the survival horror genre but it felt like a whole new game. It took the major story, plot lines, gameplay and environment and didn’t just give it a shiny new look. It made the game better and fixed some of the major issues with the original so that way it did not feel like a game made in the late 90’s. Sniper Elite V2 could have done similar but it feels like they just added some textures to an outdated game and sold it for $35.
Even so, if you liked the original and do not care that it’s not really updated, besides a facelift, I would say pick this up. If you were looking for a new experience with improved gameplay from an old favorite, I would say don’t spend the money. For all its faults, Sniper Elite V2 is still the game it was in 2012. It still has the cool x-ray kills and it is still something that many people will like. If you wanted something new, you could try picking it up for the Nintendo Switch, which gives the game some mobility to play where you would want. Other than that, this is nothing more than a paint job on an older game. Sniper Elite V2 is available on PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC for $35.