By 2012, a shooter set during World War II was a tired idea. Much like its predecessor, Sniper Elite V2 differentiated itself by putting the emphasis on being a sniper and it also brought back its novel killcam where some kills were shown in slow motion and players were able to watch in graphic detail as their bullets entered their targets. Sniper Elite V2 Remastered asks whether the ability to see a headshot in all its x-ray glory is worth the price of admission.
(Full disclosure: this is just a review of the single player campaign. A generic WWII shooter is not a genre I would normally play, but I am here for exploding testicles.)
Elite V2 takes place during the last days of WWII. Unlike other games that put players at the front lines or big battles, the game has the player preventing scientists involved in the V-2 rocket program from being taken by the Soviet Union. This involves a little stealth, a little first person shooting, and a whole lot of sniping.
Graphically, the remaster looks good. While there is nothing that will make players catch their breaths, the game does look like something from this generation. Admittedly, character models do not stand out dramatically, however explosion and fire effects look great. It is also not as dark and grainy looking as most WWII shooters. There are the standard crumbled buildings and dark tunnels, but the environmental detail is well done.
Gameplay is hit and miss. Elite V2 has some fun perks that prioritize strategy. Dead bodies can be booby trapped, rocks can be thrown to cause distractions, and trip wires can be placed in doorways. As in any video game that uses similar tactics, it is extremely satisfying to see well planned schemes come to fruition. These rewards are definitely worth the time put in.
Sniping is also very fun. Elite V2 has mechanics like the ability to hold your breath in order to steady your shot. It also adds in real life issues like bullet drop and wind to make the moments more challenging. These additions are implemented excellently in the game and it will not take long for players to get used to everything that is being thrown at them. Any misses end up being unrelated to the game being too difficult, but all about adequately preparing for taking your shot. Elite V2 nails the one aspect of gameplay it absolutely needs to.
The moments of being an elite sniper are not fun just because of great mechanics, however. The story does a great job of making each moment tense. The plot involves lots of espionage and stealth and the game does a great job of having the pressure carry over into the gameplay. There is palatable tension that elevates Elite V2 to more than just a game about camping and shooting.
Unfortunately, other aspects bring the game down. While setting traps and being a sniper is fun, actual gunplay is boring. The weapons to not have the weight they should and aiming is more difficult than it should be for a game of this genre. It never gets bad; it is just very generic. The same can be said for level design. Run here, crawl there, jump into cover.
The x-ray bullet cam makes up for this, even only just a little. Stealthily getting into position, lining up the perfect shot, and then executing it is a nice reward in itself. Watching the bullet travel in slow motion, pierce your enemies forehead, and shatter his cranium makes the entire operation that much more satisfying. For those who love the over the top gore and violence of Mortal Kombat fatalities, this is the shooter for you. It also never gets old seeing someone’s testicles get obliterated. That being said, the game’s killcam is something you will only want to see a couple of times.
Sniper Elite V2 Remastered does enough to make it stand out from the crowded World War II shooter genre. The emphasis on stealth and sniping makes it more than just another pray and spray game. There is also an atmosphere of tension that is normally not found in the genre. While the game looks and feels bland at times, the killcam spruces things up just enough to make the game worth your time.