STAFF REVIEW of Sniper Elite V2 Remastered (Xbox One)

Tuesday, June 11, 2019.
by Brent Roberts

Sniper Elite V2 Remastered Box art Over the past 10 years, the Sniper Elite series of games have tried to establish a new level of production when it comes to being a one man army that's tasked with herculean efforts to stop a war. Originally, Sniper Elite V2 launched way back in 2012 on the Xbox 360, but now has been given the "Remastered" treatment in an attempt to bring this dated experience to be on par with what would arguably be considered the best release of the series so far, Sniper Elite V4. Having done the review for V4, I was anxious to dive in and see what was behind this new remaster that warranted a $39.99 price tag. Like a sniper, this remastered V2 has one shot to hit its mark. Let's see how things shape up.

For starters the plot behind V2 is essentially the same that you experience in every single other Sniper Elite game. That's not saying it's bad, considering this game was one of the first entries to do it, so being almost the original counts for something here. Sadly, though this game's story misses its target for one simple reason, the inability to vary the mission platforms. For instance, one mission you have to fight your way to a vantage point where you snipe the main bad guy and then have to run away to the extract location. Then the very next level, you do the same, and then again and again. You start to feel that the missions become all about shooting, but then again, you are a sniper, right? This mundane trudging through the various missions means that you have to get creative to stay interested, that's where the fun begins. Let me show you how.

Let's say you're at the top of a multi-level building and that there are hallways and stairs between you and your goal down below in the extract location. Maneuver your way behind a random guard (who provides some of the weirdest movement patterns I've ever seen) and silently take them down. Then I move the body to a doorway and set a booby trap on it with a land mine. I then move down the hall and place a trip mine at the end. Afterwards, I then turn to go down the stairs to the landing and put another trip mine at the bottom of the stairs. I then turn left again on the landing and go down and repeat the process. Now I have three trip mines placed and a booby-trapped guy above me that's by a doorway. Now, I fire off some rounds from my machine gun, which of course will trigger the enemies to come find me. This is where I run back up to the platform and fire off some more, this sends the bulk of those enemies near me to rush to my location. At this point they funnel their way into the trap, and it goes off. I take the body from the bottom of the stairs and bring it to the top of the stairs. This causes the next enemy to see a man down and rush to it.

The enemy then upon rushing to the top of the stairs will set off another trip mine which blows him up as well. Carrying the body to the top of the stairs from the original hallway I was in, I repeat the process until they all have fallen, and then I proceed to the next area and repeat the process until it's all done and work my way to the extraction point. You don't have to play it that way though. The beauty of these games is you can play how you wish. You could choose to just go through as stealthy as possible, or you could be like Rambo and go in guns blazing. However you decide to play Sniper Elite V2 is up to you, and that's always been a wonderful staple of the series. There are times though that you will have to fight, and that's when this game's mechanics start to take a long walk off a short cliff.

For example, there is a level where you start on a street that's seen the aftermath of a bombing run from above. The houses on either side of you are blown into mere shells of what they once were, and you have to navigate your way down the street and then turn the corner and continue onward until you reach the tank at the end. So, you start to take things slow and crouch walk through these homes, and that's when the game will automatically get you caught on invisible items that prevent you from walking. This doesn't sit well with me considering that when you're in combat, you have to be allowed full mobility because the battle is fluid and ever changing, and if you can't adapt, then it's not a question of if you will die, but rather, how quickly will it happen. There are other gameplay issues that unfortunately hinder this game, and sadly one of the main ones involve sniping and using the binoculars.

Since weapon customization isn't a factor, the game centers around you being able to use your binoculars to scout the land, pinpoint enemies, and you sniper scope to lay in the kill shot. I'm going to first start with the binoculars. Utilizing them isn't smooth because of the controller layout. The second problem with the binoculars/sniper scope is that if you try to adjust the magnification, you will find yourself fighting the overly sensitive controls, and therefore be left with only 2 forms of magnification; either no magnification or magnification so intense it's like you're deciphering the atomic structure of the enemy's uniform. These devices can magnify in between but you will spend a good amount of time trying to get them 'just right', and by then your target will have moved on and you'll have to start this process all over again.

You have the option to 'lock' in your magnification settings but there's a problem with that as well. Let's say you're on a sniper perch, and you go to zoom in all the way on another sniper you locate off in the distance, you mark him and your settings are set to keep the magnification. Now let's say you move from your location and you try to maneuver your way throughout the level when you come across another patrolling enemy that's unaware you're there. You find cover (obviously) and attempt to mark the new enemy with your binoculars, well your magnification is locked in from before when you were going for your sniper, so now your magnification is locked in atom mode and you'll have to fight with it to get back to where you want. The problem here is that the game will allow you to do that but only after you've gotten out of cover and exposed yourself. So, while you're fighting with the binoculars or scope, you're leaving yourself exposed and a very big target.

You can definitely feel how the system has progressed throughout the games and how the Sniper series has moved on in over a decade with refinements of the newer games become a much missed aspect of this title. This is disappointing because you feel that this is a missed opportunity to take the refinements of the newer games and apply them to make your older releases better, but sadly that didn't happen here. Instead, though, we get a beautiful makeover of the game, and when I say beautiful makeover, I mean a stunning graphical overhaul of the entire game. The environments look incredible compared to the original, and even the enemy models themselves look almost life like. What else got the updated graphical blessing? Well if you're a fan of the sniper shots that give you an X-Ray image of your target getting destroyed, then this game is for you.

There's nothing like firing a sniper round and hitting a grenade attached to a belt of an enemy, watching as their body turns their bones into a sticky messy paste (that's an achievement by the way), or counter sniping an enemy sniper by sending your bullet through the scope of the enemy to take out their eye and blow a massive hole out the back of their head through their eye socket. Or chain your kills by sending a round through an enemy's heart and have the round exit the enemy and enter his fellow soldier's chest cavity and blow out his heart as well. Yes, these killing sequences that you create will be the main reason you start getting creative with your dealing of the afterlife.

Sadly though, this isn't going to be enough to overcome Sniper Elite V2's shortcomings and certainly doesn't warrant the price tag associated with it. If you're a fan of the Sniper Elite series of games then this game is going to be one you want to have in your collection, though only when it goes on sale. Instead of thinking of this as a complete ground-up rebuild of the game, Sniper Elite V2 Remastered just got a brand-new plastic surgeon. So, while the game looks revitalized on the outside, on the inside it's still a 7-year-old game that maintains the internal faults.

Overall: 7.4 / 10
Gameplay: 6.5 / 10
Visuals: 8.5 / 10
Sound: 7.0 / 10


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