Sniper Elite V2 Remastered is the re-release of a PS3 game that was already a remake of the original title in the series. It’s a confusing timeline to say the least, but what baffles us even more is the sheer existence of this PS4 version in the first place. Subsequent sequels, Sniper Elite III and Sniper Elite 4, outmatch the original 2012 experience in a big, big way -- to the point where taking this trip down memory lane is going to feel archaic. We suppose the project is an effort to get the entire franchise onto one platform, which is always appreciated, but that doesn’t mean this entry is worth your time.
Even when you take away the comparisons to its bigger and better sequels, the initial tale of Karl Fairburne’s efforts to stop the development of the V-2 missile during the final days of World War 2 is an alarmingly simple one. You’ll work your way through basic, linear levels, picking off every Nazi soldier you encounter and sticking to the shadows in order to avoid those you alerted. It's a far cry from the open-ended nature of the game's successors, although the sniper rifle is the centrepiece of the experience, and it’s what you’ll spend much of your time using.
Thankfully, the likes of the Karabiner 98k and the Lee Enfield Mk. III do introduce a degree of depth to proceedings. Taking a shot at close range is simple enough - line up the scope and pull the trigger - but it’s when the distance between rifle and target reaches the triple digits that things start to complicate. Here, you’ll need to accommodate for range, the strength of the wind, and your heartbeat if you want to land the killing blow with a single shot. Empty your lungs by holding the R1 button in order to steady your hand and once you think you’ve lined up the shot correctly, it’s time to pull the trigger. These are the risks you’ll need to take if you want to progress through war-torn Berlin, because your arsenal at close range leaves a lot to be desired.
Most missions equip you with a pistol and a sub-machine gun for if the going gets tough, but you’ll want to hope that the sniper rifle does the work for you before you have to turn to these pea shooters. The Welrod sidearm manages to just about kill a guard at very close range, but the likes of the M1 Thompson and MP40 are utterly pitiful. It’s simply a case of spraying and praying thanks to inaccurate aim and spongey enemies that will soak up a limited ammo pool. We strongly recommend you make sure every encounter plays out at a distance.
That’s because then you can appreciate the x-ray kills the series is known for that little bit extra. If you strike the head or a vital organ, the game will zoom in on a close-up shot of the destruction you’ve brought to one’s body. Skin tears, bones shatter, eyes explode, and limbs sever. They’re incredibly satisfying to pull off, but this is one more aspect where the remaster pales in comparison to its sequels. The successors are far more creative in how they go about showing off those kills, as well as providing close-ups for environmental destruction that eliminates multiple guards at once. A well-placed headshot is always going to bring a smile to the face as you witness the skull of a Nazi shatter into pieces, but your options for satisfaction are far more limited in general.
Every kill is scored according to the range at which its made, destructibility, and whether there were any other casualties in the process -- all of which is totalled up at the end of the mission and posted to a leaderboard which you and your friends can compete over. Along with collectables, it adds a small degree of replayability to the experience should you really take to the initial nine-hour play through.
We doubt you will though, because outside of the entertaining x-ray assassinations, there’s really very little going for the title as a whole. Its linear level design quickly bores as you’re sure you’ve already encountered that Nazi stronghold three missions back, while the objectives themselves are uninspired. There’s always an element of stealth to consider, but you won’t be doing much more than blowing up bases and targeting certain generals. This may have been an acceptable campaign seven years ago, but these sorts of dreary play throughs don’t fly anymore in 2019.
As the remaster of a game that was already based on PS2 hardware, it’s probably a bit unfair to expect too much from a third offering. However, the experience really does show its age in pretty much every conceivable way. Character models and textures look poor up close, scenery and environments are desolate and barren, while clunky controls make engaging stealth a chore at times. Again, it’s hard to criticise too much, but there isn’t anything even remotely impressive about this re-release.
The original’s co-operative and multiplayer offerings return alongside the campaign, allowing you to play every mission with a friend or head online to take down other budding snipers. The likes of Kill Tally, Bombing Run, and Overwatch all return if you want a break from the traditional offering, with the likes of Overwatch still providing as good a time as it did back in 2012.
Multiplayer has now been expanded to support up to 16 players across all modes, breathing a little bit more life into matches. The usual Team Deathmatch and Capture the Flag are complimented by Dog Tag Harvest and Distance King to provide some variety, but you’re probably not going to be spending too much time here anyway. While the effort to bring back the aforementioned modes and maps are appreciated, they most definitely can’t hold a candle to the likes of Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 in this day and age.
Sniper Elite V2 Remastered isn’t a terrible game, but it feels outdated and completely outclassed in 2019. While its x-ray exterminations are still appealing, it’s just about the only factor making up this package that could turn one’s head in today’s world. Simply put, there are just so many better experiences you could have through the scope of a sniper rifle, including those sequels that make up the very franchise in question.