Review – Sniper Elite V2 Remastered

Sniper Elite V2 Remastered is in a strange spot as far as remasters go. Typically a remaster gets green lit because it was a beloved game and fans want a newer version. Or it’s a good way to re-introduce a series to gauge IP interest or to help create additional marketing for the new entry in a series. Rebellion did announce they’re working on Sniper Elite 5, so the remasters are a good way to bring Sniper Elite to the Switch for the first time. But they also announced that Sniper Elite 3 Ultimate is coming to Switch as well and arguably it is a much more well rounded game than V2. My point is that this remaster seems almost pointless especially when its far superior sequel is right around the corner. However, I’m not saying Sniper Elite V2 Remaster isn’t worth playing, but let’s line up this remaster in the scope.

In Sniper Elite V2 you play as Karl Fairburne, an elite US sniper who is sent into Berlin amidst the Germans’ final stand. You’re tasked with stopping the Nazi V2 rocket technology from falling into the hands of the Red Army. You will need to assassinate key leaders and help top scientists who wish to defect from the Russians and help the US. You will be using stealth, snipers, and a surprisingly large amount of large explosives to accomplish your mission.

Sniper Elite V2

It’s only you against two warring nations. Good luck!

The alternate reality WW2 holds up well even today since its not focused on the same main war events, but it doesn’t fully alleviate any WW2 burnout you may have. While the story may hold up fine here, the rest of the game unfortunately has trouble staying relevant. This isn’t even based on an archaic control scheme, but the gameplay even in the original had major problems. The remaster may add a small amount of polish on this game, but it doesn’t improve on mechanics or level design, which was the crux of the original.

Let’s start out with highlighting the good things about this remaster. Being on the Nintendo Switch is already a plus, but they even included all the same features as the other consoles. This includes all the challenges, co-op, full suite of online modes, and all DLC that came out for the original. There are some benefits of playing on the Switch and that comes down to being able to use the system’s gyro controls to let you fine tune your aim. Also, some improvements to lighting and dynamic shadows are apparent immediately and add a lot to some scenes. It’s hard to tell if there were improvements to certain textures since I don’t have the original to compare, but with the small screen it’s difficult to tell. Luckily, the awesome slow motion x-ray shots are still in here and as good as ever. This feature was one of the coolest things about Sniper Elite V2 and it’s just as satisfying today.

Sniper Elite V2

Slow motion x-ray shots are still as fun as they were before.

Now here are the unfortunate parts about this remaster; some are from the game itself, but also a bit of a problem with the Switch. V2 does include that full suite of online modes, however, the player count was so low I could never even find a half full match. The matches only support up to eight people as well. When joining a server with only a couple of players I was greeted with poor performance and some glitches that allowed me to walk through solid objects. Then you also have the issues with the Switch itself, with its lack of accessible chat options and friends lists. Having the gyro aiming is almost a must since the Joy-Cons for me are terrible for precise aiming due to the small low profile joysticks. It doesn’t help that Sniper Elite V2 does not feel responsive and this goes into the fundamental issues the game always had.

The 3rd person shooting here is fine as long as you’re sniping. Trying to bring the fight up close turns into a frustrating, unresponsive, and cumbersome mess of a cover shooter. While the focus here is suppose to be on sniping and stealth there are, sadly, entirely too many missions that force you into open firefights. I’m not sure there are many “elite” snipers who find themselves in so many wide open firefights or close combat situations. These are often story based situations as well and not just from a lack of playing stealthily. But even if you have trouble playing fully stealthy in this game, I wouldn’t completely blame you. The level design is not the best. There are levels that fool you into thinking it’s going to be open for you to flank, but they end up being extremely linear. Forcing you into corridors, turning the game into a cover shooter and trying to focus on set pieces inspired by Call of Duty that end up falling flat. Sniper Elite V2 has a hard time figuring out what kind of game it wants to be.

Sniper Elite V2

Too many times levels will start out with an illusion of being open, only to end up in another corridor.

As I mentioned before, there are some graphical improvements to this remaster mostly coming from the lighting and shadows. However, without the original to test side by side it is very hard to tell any other improvements this remaster has. This is probably more of the Switch version’s issue because it doesn’t even reach 1080p in docked mode and also runs at a 720p variable resolution in handheld. There are often times in handheld where that resolution drops below 720p, making enemies difficult to detect at distances. With the low resolution, bad aliasing, and an over all blurry look, it makes it hard to spot enemies on that six inch screen. Fortunately, the framerate holds up for the most part thankfully due to the variable resolution, but there were still a handful of times frames would still drop. Overall it looks like you’re playing the exact same graphics from the 360/PS3 version on a small screen.

Sound design is fine for the most part while you’re in combat. The various snipers and guns available all have solid sound effects with some punch. When a sniper bullet pierces through a helmet with a high pitched “ting”, followed by the gory flesh tearing sounds as it pierces through bones and organs; the bullet slow motion visual effect is enhanced by the sound effects. The voice acting and soundtrack, however, unsuccessfully leave any sort of impact on the experience. The ambient war sounds are more impressively done.

Sniper Elite V2 Remastered is unfortunately not the best installment in the series despite offering a full suite of features including a photo mode. The slow motion x-ray shots are its saving grace, while the clunky combat, poor level design, lack of auto-save, and flat moments constantly remind you of a mediocre title. With barely any visual upgrades, and the lack of an online community, it’s hard to recommend this title when its superior sequel will likely be out within a few months. The portability aspect does not add to the title personally as the Joy-Cons combined with the clunky combat and poor visuals made it an uncomfortable experience in handheld.

Graphics: 5.5

It doesn’t matter whether the Switch is docked or mobile, Sniper Elite V2 Remastered is not a good looking game. There are some updates with lighting, but you’re ultimately getting a 360/PS3 game on a 6″ screen.

Gameplay: 5.5

There are fundamental issues with the gameplay that were not improved in the remaster, but some additional tweaks for the Switch are welcome. You’re now able to use the gyroscope to add a bit of precision aim.

Sound: 6.0

Gun shots are well done and the ambient war sounds help draw you into the atmosphere. Unfortunately, voice acting and soundtrack left a lot to be desired.

Fun Factor: 5.0

Even though this is the first Sniper Elite game on Switch and it still has all the same content as its competitors, the game itself is still rife with issues. It doesn’t help that the included MP features were unplayable due to low player counts.

Final Verdict: 5.5

Sniper Elite V2 Remastered is available now on Xbox One, PS4, PC, and Switch.

Reviewed on Switch.

A copy of Sniper Elite VR Remastered was provided by the publisher.