When you think about war video games, there is a large list of options ranging from the classic shooting games to some others more strategy-oriented. In this case, the Sniper Elite saga became famous because it combines the best of both worlds, with stories full of action, bullets, and blood, but also favoring a good strategy over just turning yourself in the reincarnation of John Rambo.
In Sniper Elite V2 you —obviously— play as a sniper, so patience and good aiming are the keys to success. However, killing your objectives without being noticed is not always that easy, so trigger happy moments will be there too. Will you be able to change the course of WWII in the most silent way?
What to Expect
The original Sniper Elite V2 debuted back in 2012, and it remains as one of the best video games of the genre. In other war games, we tend to play as a killing machine with lots of weapons, but this game proves that your trusty sniper rifle is more than enough to keep you alive. In fact, this is a great game for those who always pick the sniper build in other action-adventure games, probably because it feels less cheesy if that's how Sniper Elite V2 is meant to be played. In this game, there are no zombies, no aliens, and no monsters. Your primary objective is to sabotage the Nazis and the masterminds behind the V2 rockets, so chapter after chapter you won't find epic boss battles but overly satisfying remote assassinations. All in all, Sniper Elite V2 is a rather short game, but trying to complete the game in a flawless fashion will definitely keep you busy for a while!
The plot is very simple and loosely based on real events: you play as Karl Fairburne, a soldier who must kill a group of Nazi scientists responsible for the V2 project. When WWII was about to end, the V2 technology gave the Germans the ability to launch ballistic rockets to London and other specific objectives, killing lots of people in a few minutes and breathing new life to Hitler and the Nazis. That's why in the Sniper Elite universe, Fairburne is tasked with killing Major General Hans von Eisenberg and his team, but he will also face the Soviets as you investigate more about the implications of the V2.
Although the story is pretty straightforward, it's presented to you through mission briefing before every stage and a few animated scenes here and there, so it's kind of hard to keep up if you don't pay attention and take the time to assimilate everything that happens around you, especially character names and the locations you visit.
Considering this is a remastered version, there's a strong yet logical emphasis on the graphics. Sniper Elite V2 Remastered brags about better textures, models, and the possibility of playing with the always glorious 4K+HDR setup, so newcomers may find it like the best opportunity to jump into this classic. It's true that it was never intended to be a photorealistic game, but having better graphics can't hurt, and it also adds depth to the action.
One of the best parts of Sniper Elite V2 is watching the X-Ray animations after killing someone, and this remastered version makes it feel awesome. That's probably the best moment to take advantage of the brand new Photo Mode, playing with the lighting, filters, and angles until you find the sweet spot. Maybe the only downside is that a lot of models (of both buildings and enemies) feel repetitive, but that's something you can easily overlook if you're used to the shooter genre.
Sniper Elite V2 Remastered's soundtrack is not the best or the most original, but it surely helps to bring the game to life. While the music may feel like a mere background detail at times, it's actually the most important cue in terms of gameplay: you'll hear one form of music when everything's OK, and another when you're under attack or being searched; also, you can use enemy voices to know when and where to move without being noticed, and when under attack, your sense of hearing will start to fade out to make you feel on the verge of death.
The problem is that every time you shoot, the music stops so you can hear the bullet travel to the target, turning a killing streak into a collection of unconnected music and sound effects. In terms of voice acting, mission briefs feel too stiff and dialogues are kind of awkward... but we can't expect great interpretations when it comes to soldiers and scientists, right?
There are 3 difficulty levels in Sniper Elite V2, but you can also play with customized settings if you feel like it. Other than having more enemies, or just making them more intelligent, the extra level of difficulty is mastering physics if you play in the most realistic conditions.
With 5 people in your kill list, missions are pretty simple: you open your way to a high point, you kill your objective, and then you get out of the place as fast as you can. However, stealth is the key because you don't want people hearing your gunshots, and leaving a trail full of dead bodies is not helping you either. With a handful of weapons to choose from, we find ourselves using our sniper rifles and suppressed Welrod the most, but you can also throw grenades, or even plant dynamite and mines (both land mines and trip mines).
At first, you will be tempted to play the same section time after time until you get it right and kill everyone without being noticed, but then you won't care about it and going full Rambo will be OK too! That's because every time they kill you, you can go back a few minutes to the last checkpoint and try again, so there's almost no frustration in dying. In addition to that, there's no health bar that indicates your HP status, so it's all about running away from enemy fire and once you feel safe, going all in again.
This newly remastered version also offers you the chance to play as other characters too, so if you get bored of Karl, you can switch to other characters in no time. To add more replay value, every stage has hidden gold bars and wine bottles to collect, also encouraging to try new routes every time you replay them. The problem here is that stages are rather linear, so you can't open doors or interact with the environment. That means that if you find a suspicious path, there's a huge chance there's gold or wine at the end of the line...
Honey's Gameplay Consensus:
To be honest, Sniper Elite V2's gameplay is not for everyone, but you definitely need to try this game and see for yourself! It's great for those who need a break between rounds in Battle Royale games, or people who always go for the sniper/stealth route in action games. While the easiest difficulty is too easy, playing on Sniper Elite (the hardest) difficulty is quite the challenge, forcing you to use all your resources available to get out alive.
As we said earlier, Sniper Elite V2 may feel too short once you complete the main campaign, but it's worth every coin if you also consider the remastered version includes all DLC and online modes. What's deadlier than a sniper? More snipers!
This looks way better than the original version, and 4K+HDR plays awesome.
All DLC included!
When you get bored of head-shooting the AI, you can always play online for more head-shooting sessions.
Since the gameplay remains intact, Sniper Elite V2’s downsides are still there.
Honey's Final Verdict:
We're sure that those who already own Sniper Elite V2 will consider paying a few bucks and upgrading to the remastered version, but we also encourage those who never got the chance to play it to pick up Sniper Elite V2 Remastered and feel the satisfaction of killing without being seen. The visual upgrade is worth the try!
Let us know in the comment section what's your experience with Sniper Elite V2, and look forward to Sniper Elite V2 Remastered once it launches on May 14th. If you want more video game reviews, keep browsing Honey's Anime!
Author: Rod Locksley
Hey! I'm Rod, and when I'm not watching anime or playing video games I'm probably writing about them, but I'm also a graphic and web designer, and I even published a comic book and worked like 4 years for a well-known MMORPG. Curiously, my favorite series are quite different from each other, so I'm still trying to understand what I really like in an anime...