Developer Rebellion has been cranking out titles in the Sniper Elite franchise for quite some time now. Just on this current generation of consoles we’ve seen Sniper Elite 3, Sniper Elite 4, and a similar spinoff game Zombie Army Trilogy. Now to help fans of the series with the wait for Sniper Elite 5 and Sniper Elite VR, they have gone back and remastered one of their last generation entries, Sniper Elite V2. When this game released in 2012 there was fun to be had in it but it also had quite a few issues. Sniper Elite V2 Remastered brings graphical enhancements and new content but many of those same issues that plagued the original release are still present here in 2019.
The campaign mode here has you playing as protagonist Karl Fairburne during World War II and whose mission involves stopping the Germans from launching V-2 Rockets that will cause massive devastation. Just like the original release though the story isn’t very interesting and the overall plot being mostly forgettable. There are ten missions in total in the campaign mode (not counting some of the bonus missions) and each one will put you in different situations that you’ll have to scope out and choose the best method of approach. This series has always felt rewarding with the way it lets you toy around and find what works best. Do you pick off enemies from afar or go in guns blazing? Being patient and waiting for several targets to perfectly line up so that you can take them all out with a single shot is always satisfying. Another element of this franchise is the ability to use other sounds in the sandbox areas to conceal the sound of your shots. If you wait and time your shots when other sounds in the environment happen then you’ll be able to remain undetected throughout your mission. In terms of layout the missions are mostly linear despite the environments casting the illusion that they are more open than what they are.
Sniping honestly feels like the best approach in this game as using other types of weapons doesn’t feel anywhere near as good. You can take out enemies with a pistol or an SMG but they just didn’t feel that great to me compared to other shooters and thus I pretty much ditched them in favor of the trusty sniper rifle. Some of the gadgets are worth using though such as tripwire and landmines that are perfect for setting up traps for your enemies. Various grenade types are also on hand as well as the ability to toss rocks to distract enemies.
The enemy AI though is still inconsistent in this remastered version as they were in the original release. For instance there were times where I was clearly hidden behind an object and an enemy somehow detected me for absolutely no reason at all. It’s like they are equipped with x-ray vision at completely random times. This frustrated me back in 2012 and it continues to frustrate me that they did nothing to address this. It isn’t fun having to start my mission over because unfair AI destroyed my perfect stealth run. It also doesn’t help that the cover mechanics feel even more outdated in 2019 than they did in 2012. When this game originally came out it didn’t feel good to move or stick to cover like other games did. Add seven more years to those poor mechanics and it feels much, much worse now. It’s yet another area that should’ve been touched up for this remaster.
Now I don’t know for certain but if I had to guess what people like most about the Sniper Elite franchise it would be the trademark x-ray kills this franchise offers. Any time you fire off a shot on an enemy and it strikes either the head or a key organ in their body, the game gives you a brutal slow motion, zoomed in shot of the bullet piercing through that person’s body. You’ll see organs inside their body exploding, bones breaking apart, and yes even explosive testicle shots. These have always been one of the highlights of the franchise to me and many others and they are still here just as in the original game. However, having played the other entries that have come after the amount of variety here pales drastically in comparison. They are still fun but you’ll see the same kind of shots over and over much more often than you do in the more recent Sniper Elite titles.
Even when you finish the main campaign there is plenty more to scope out in this remaster. All of the DLC that was released for the original game is included here which means you get access to four bonus levels. The most memorable of these was the Assassinate the Führer mission where you got to actually take out Hitler. Then you have 4 co-op modes that you can team up with a friend. Kill Tally is a horde mode where you and a friend take out waves of enemies. It’s OK but it’s kind of basic compared to many horde modes we’ve seen since 2012. Then you have Overwatch and Bombing Run which can be pretty fun. The competitive online mode is back as well and now has support for up to 16 players in every mode. This is pretty nice as we’ve seen many remasters this generation drop the multiplayer modes that they had previously. You can engage with modes like Distance King, Capture the Flag, Team Deathmatch, and Dog Tag Harvest. I do wonder how big of a community this game will have though as these modes aren’t as exciting to play as they were back in 2012. One last new addition is that there are player avatars from Zombie Army Trilogy that you can use in the multiplayer modes.
Visually this remaster does look much better than the original game but many elements still look very outdated. Various character models and textures look pretty bad and many of the environments feel kind of empty. The game does run in 4K on the PS4 Pro (which is what I reviewed it on) and the Xbox One X and it does offer HDR. But even those can’t mask those weaker visual elements that I mentioned. Playing in 4K limits the game to 30fps but there is a Performance mode to run the game at 60fps which I actually preferred using.
Whether Sniper Elite V2 Remastered is for you or not depends on what you really want out of it. If you are fine with the way the original game played and just wanted a prettier version with a few extras then you’ll likely enjoy this remaster. If you were frustrated by the AI or clunky close range shooting or cover mechanics back in 2012 then you won’t enjoy them anymore here. I still enjoy the novelty of the x-ray kills and this is a pretty beefy package considering what some other remasters this generation have offered. I just wish a bit more work was put in to make this remaster more appealing to those who never played this entry.
*Sniper Elite V2 Remastered is available on PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. Reviewed on a PS4 Pro. Review copy provided by the publisher for this review.
Sniper Elite V2 Remastered$39.99
- The sniping mechanics and x-ray kills are still just as satisfying as ever
- Remastered visuals do look much better than the original game did
- Lots of room for experimentation in the missions that feels rewarding
- Comes with all the DLC along with expanded multiplayer support
- Inconsistent AI still can ruin stealth runs
- Close range gun combat still feels bad
- Cover mechanics are still as clunky as they were in 2012
- Some textures and models still lack detail