I don’t think the Sniper Elite series requires any form of introduction. Pretty much every gamer out there will either know it as ‘the realistic sniping game’, ‘that game where you get shown X-rays as the bullets penetrate your unfortunate victims’, or simply ‘the game where you shoot Hitler’s single bollock off’. I’ve owned Sniper Elite V2 on four platforms now (PC, Xbox 360, Wii U, and PS4) and getting the perfect shot on the Führer still hasn’t lost its satisfaction!
Having played through the entire campaign and a few of the extra missions; does Sniper Elite V2 still stand up today? Let’s take a look.
Sniper Elite V2 is the second game within the Sniper Elite franchise, yet it has its own self-contained story so you don’t need any prior knowledge of the original game in order to enjoy it. Technically, it’s a reimagining of the first game is it’s set in the same place and time but with a different narrative. Our protagonist is a soldier known as Karl Fairburne, an elite sniper who has been dropped into enemy territory during the Germans’ final stand. Just like Danganronpa V3, the ‘V2’ within the title isn’t there for show, your mission is to prevent the Nazi V2 rocket from falling into the wrong hands, whatever the cost. As you work your way through the surprisingly short campaign, you’ll travel through various locations befriending defecting key members as well as taking out those who stand in your way.
The story may be rather simplistic and the goals for each mission are usually the same (clear out the local area then either set up an ambush or take someone down), but that’s only part of the experience. The main event comes from satisfyingly taking down the enemies with the slow-motion X-ray death shots from a few hundred feet away! Each level is like a small open sandbox of death – not as much as we saw in the brilliant Sniper Elite 4, but there’s a decent amount of wiggle room for you to choose how you wish to play the game. My recommendation, stealth. A stealthy sniper gets to live another day, whereas a noisy one ends up getting shot in the face before they can cry out for help!
Whether you’re playing for the super realistic physics and intense difficulty, or if you pop the game on easy and become obsessed with trying to shoot every body part imaginable, Sniper Elite V2 has something for everyone be it a challenge or a rather disturbing fetish…
Although the game is called Sniper Elite V2, and you’re an elite sniper, you have access to an assortment of weaponry for you to blow your foes away with. As you progress through the game you’ll pick up new sniper rifles, each one offering a slightly longer zoom level, as well as new secondary weapons. You’ll always be equipped with your trusty Welrod, a silenced pistol, and whatever machine gun you’ve plucked from a lifeless corpse. As I said previously, stealth is your best option as causing a scene will only result in disaster due to the realistic nature of the game. This leads to one of the issues I had with the game back in 2012 which is still present, the enemy AI.
If you open fire with a noisy weapon, or fire off a shot from your sniper without awaiting the cover of some noises, the AI will instantly know where you are – this leaves a silhouette of where you were as they all begin to make a b-line in your direction. Sure, this adds to the realism of the game, but it also acts as a very unforgiving and unfair mechanic in terms of allowing the enemy to instantly know where you are without actually seeing you or observing the bullet trajectory. This is why this time around, on my PS4, I made sure to listen out for random loud noises and plan my shots perfectly so that the enemy can’t pinpoint my location – this works surprisingly well and adds to the strategic elements of the game.
You’ll also gain access to various accessories such as grenades, mines, trip wires and stones so that you can plant traps and distract the soldiers in order to line up a better shot. Truthfully, I spent about 90% of my time using the sniper rifle and about 10% using my Welrod – the only time I used mines was on a mission I couldn’t win as people kept coming behind me and taking me out. However, I was only playing on both Easy and Medium, so I imagine the harder difficulties will require much more strategy and pre-planning.
So, what do you get for rebuying the same game we’ve all played and loved many years ago? Is it worth buying if you’ve played and beaten the game before? Let’s take a look…
• All the DLC included – as well as all of the additional campaign missions, including the infamous one where you get to kill Hitler, you also get access to all of the weapons which were previously released as part of the DLC packages.
• Update Visuals and performance – I’ve been playing the game on the PS4 Pro and we have two options, performance and resolution. When set to resolution, the game runs at a stable 30fps with very clean and crisp visuals – I’m not sure on the actual numbers but it’s supposedly 4k. If you opt for the performance mode then you get a silky smooth 60fps at 1080p. As a gamer who only games on a 1080p TV, I opted for the 60fps mode and it’s a massive difference from playing it in 30fps, everything feels so much better!
• Updated multiplayer – You can now play with up to 16 players within the multiplayer over seven different modes. There were a few issues pre-launch with multiplayer on the PS4, as you couldn’t get into a game if you had blocked anyone on PSN, but that’s been resolved as I can now see active games in the lobby.
• Photo Mode – Okay, this has to be one of the coolest photo modes I’ve seen for a while. Not only does it have a bunch of settings for you to play with – such as the colour styles and various effects – but you can also advance a frame by pushing a button. Keep pressing it and it’ll keep advancing a little at a time. This is perfect when you’re following the bullet in slow-motion and want to grab a picture right at the point of impact with your opponent’s skull!
Personally, I really liked the way the remaster has been done. The game looks great, in terms of texture quality and clarity, but you can still tell this is a last gen title due to its geometry and environment design in certain areas. It’s not a bad thing, just don’t expect it to look like Sniper Elite 3 or 4. The photo mode had me hooked though – being able to follow the bullet step by step as it penetrates the body and tears them apart from the inside… it’s rather brutal yet also very satisfying to watch.
Okay, so the remaster added a fair amount of content and updated polish to the game, but what about all of the default content? To be honest, there is so much within this game which I completely forgot about. Other than the main co-op, which took me around five hours to complete, there’s a ‘Kill Tally’ mode which is effectively a horde mode. You must defend your position and stay alive as you try and eliminate as many people as you can on your own. You also have four ‘challenges’, these are the DLC missions which offer a few hours of gameplay each.
If you get bored of playing the game on your own, you can jump into the cooperative campaign mode. This is as you’d expect, you can bring a friend along for the ride as you work your way through the entire campaign as a duo. There are a few other coop modes such as the aforementioned Kill Tally and both ‘Overwatch’ and ‘Bombing Run’. Finally, there’s the multiplayer which is where you can either join or host your own rooms. Almost everything can be customised within here such as what weapons are used, what mode you wish to play, friendly fire, aim assist, and more.
So, even after you’ve finished the main campaign and found all 100 gold bars, there’s still lots of excitement to be had online.
Visually, Sniper Elite V2 is a great example of how to clean up a title and perform a decent remaster. In the high-resolution mode, the game looks super clear and crisp, yet in the performance mode, the game runs incredibly smooth at 60fps. I love that Rebellion have given us a choice between which mode we wish to use, I personally kept swapping between the two in order to see which felt the best – it was clearly the 60fps version.
If you’ve not seen a Sniper Elite game before, the kill-cams are awesome. As you fire a shot which is destined to make contact with an enemy, the camera will zoom in and follow the projectile as it heads towards its final destination. This results in the X-ray turning itself on as the game becomes Mortal Kombat and shows you the bullet shattering the bones, piercing the vital organs, or creating a new air hole for the poor soul, just before it proceeds out of the body and they drops lifelessly to the ground. Thankfully, if you grow tired of this happening every time, you can reduce the frequency of the camera and X-ray mechanic – alternatively, if you want more, you can crank it right up!
The sound design is great – I love the noise of the bullets smashing the bones and the muffled screams as the life drains from those I shoot. Seriously, I think I may need to see someone… The music itself is very iconic as well, I’ve had the menu screen open whilst writing this review as the music is very ‘WW2’ and ‘German’. It’s hard to explain, but the music perfectly suits the game and the situations it plays in. The voice acting is good, although I don’t think it’s been touched since the original release, there just isn’t really much talking outside of the pre and post mission cutscenes.
Whilst not the best Sniper Elite game in the franchise, Sniper Elite V2 is certainly worth a look at if you’ve not played it before or have fond memories of it. The remaster has done wonders to the games visuals, pushing the resolution along with various enhancements to the lighting, shadows and textures – it’s never looked so pretty! Not only that, with the addition of a performance mode (I was playing on the PS4 Pro so I’m not sure of this on other models), the gameplay swaps from a solid 30fps to a buttery smooth 60fps at the blink of an eye.
There’s just something therapeutic about sniping down Nazis in 60fps, watching their innards crumble in slow motion…
Sniper Elite V2£29.99
- - The X-ray death sequences are very satisfying
- - The music and voice acting are great
- - Lots of multiplayer and cooperative game modes
- - Doesn't take itself too seriously
- - Solid 60fps or 30fps at a higher resolution
- - The geometry for the visuals is still based on the PS3 game, so everything feels 'last gen', despite the updated visuals
- - The story was quite short
- - The missions are rather linear in comparison to the most recent sequels
- - The AI is just as brutal as it used to be, one wrong shot and they're on you like a pack of dogs!