Sniper Elite V2 Remastered (Switch) Review
For a game about sniping, Sniper Elite V2 Remastered sure does include lots of dull, sniper-less action. When played through the scope of a rifle, you’ll be thrilled by the tense moments before squeezing the trigger. Every other time, you’ll be wondering why on earth you’re not sniping.
Although Sniper Elite V2’s main selling point goes without saying, much of your time during late-WWII is spent in a third-person perspective, where an unreliable stealth system guides you between sniping encounters. Fortunately, this one-trick pony performs its singular hook strongly.
For starters, Sniper Elite V2 offers a decent suite of custom difficulty settings to tweak enemy AI, and the realism of bullet trajectory. These choices allow you to play the way you enjoy best, whether it be aiming straight for Nazi or Soviet scalps or needing to allow for natural physics, requiring you to aim above targets for bullets to hit their prey.
Beyond the malleable settings, all good snipers need to know that a low resting heart rate is vital for precision – pressing “R” while scoped will hold your breath, steadying your aim and slowing down time to line up the killing shot. Additionally, on lower difficulty settings, a red crosshair will appear on where your shot will land based on your current aim. However, you can’t hold your breath if you’ve just sprinted and forced your heart rate to skyrocket, so a slow and methodical approach is required.
Once you’ve found the perfect vantage point, when you’ve lined up a clear shot, pulling the trigger is brutal. Boy, oh boy, if there’s one thing the Sniper Elite series does well, it’s the ridiculous kill animations. Its frequency depends on your choice of settings, but a well-executed shot from afar will semi-regularly trigger a slow-motion cutscene of the bullet’s path to impact, prompting an X-ray view of your target’s anatomy getting ripped apart. It’s gloriously gory. You’ll hear the crunch of breaking bones and squelch of flesh exploding into a bloody mess – it’s equal parts horrific and mesmerising. These kill cams never get old, either. Seeing a bullet spiral towards an enemy in slow motion before eviscerating their innards is forever spectacular.
While each sniper rifle featured in Sniper Elite V2 feels weighty and packs significant stopping power, the same cannot be said for literally any other type of weapon. Obviously, the most fun is to be had with a sniper in hand, but the close-combat weapons of pistols and light machine guns aren’t proportionally satisfying to use. Trying to aim with the sidearms is arguably more painful than what the kill cam victims experience – the recoil and spray on these weapons is dreadfully unwieldy. Naturally, a game about sniping will guide you towards using the main weapon, but you’re forced to use the others enough for this to be an issue.
Sniper Elite V2’s level design isn’t overly inspiring, either. Each level takes roughly 45-60 minutes to complete if you play cautiously, but some levels make you wish they ended sooner. For example, the Mittelwerk Facility forces you through long, indoor corridors with little elevation to take advantage of, making for dull sniping. This level in particular highlights Sniper Elite V2’s weak stealth elements, where enemies will spot you even if there is no apparent clear line of sight. In other levels, opposing snipers will fire upon you without warning – not unexpected – but the game’s bizarre AI often results in aloof foot soldiers completely oblivious to the gunfire above their heads and won’t join in unless they physically spot you. The stealth system’s inconsistency usually means that any gameplay section you’re not viewing through a sniper’s scope is an arduous chore. Often, you’ll need to repeat stealth sections because some guard spotted you from nowhere and gunned you and your minimal health down.
Führer Further to Sniper Elite V2’s underwhelming level and mission design, there isn’t much choice of approach. Frequently, good vantage points for sniping are gated by those laboured stealth sections – rarely will you be able to cleverly forge paths that don’t involve tedious mid-to-close range combat. Worst of all, there are sections where after successfully sniping an area of enemies clean from up high, you’ll clamber down only for another wave of baddies to spawn. All because you tripped an arbitrary pixel of land to invite the next bunch of lead bags to the party. No matter how long you wait in your comfy sniping spot, they won’t appear until you’ve passed a certain point on the ground, forcing you to engage up close. And you know by now how I feel about that.
For all my complaints, Sniper Elite V2 is a perfectly competent port on the Switch. Despite its remastering, it still shows its age and is not a pretty game by any stretch. Although, Sniper Elite V2 features a surprisingly robust photo mode, accessible even during cutscenes – something I certainly did not expect.
In all honesty, V2 would almost be better served as a more arcade experience, instantly moving you from one sniping opportunity to another and doing away with the lacklustre third-person components altogether.
Sniper Elite V2 Remastered is a middle-of-the-road game with one top-class element. Too many times the game takes you away from what makes it great, and into the mediocrity of its unsatisfying stealth and close-range combat sections.
+ Thrilling sniping
+ Brutal kill cam never gets old
+ Surprisingly robust photo mode
- Unintelligent AI
- Unreliable stealth sections
- Close range combat is weak