I’m hunkered down in the second floor of a bombed-out building in war-torn Berlin. It’s 1945, World War 2.
Out of a window to my right, I see a gaggle of German soldiers, gathered behind barricades. The troop truck they jumped out of is parked nearby. Lying on the ground is the body of a Nazi collaborator, his body limp and lifeless, taken out earlier by a sniper shot from my trusty Springfield M1903 sniper rifle. He has papers I need to retrieve – but I need to clear the area first.
Making things a tad difficult is the German tank parked to my left, its turret trained on my position. I start to sweat and weigh up my options.
I decide I’ll take out the soldiers, one by one, with my sniper rifle then deal with the tank – and this is where Sniper Elite V2’s single greatest feature comes into play: The focused sniper shot.
Now, I’m not one to usually blow my own gaming trumpet but I have to say I impressed even myself in how this skirmish ended. I manged to snipe not one, not two but three belt-worn grenades, causing them to explode in glorious bursts of orange fire. Then, I took a punt and aimed for the tank’s rear-mounted fuel tank, which I miraculously hit, causing one of the biggest explosions I’d encountered so far in the game. I gave myself a virtual high-five after that one.
Released in 2012, Rebellion’s Sniper Elite V2, has you playing as US Sniper Karl Fairburne who has to infiltrate war-time Berlin to stop the German V2 rocket programme technology falling into the wrong hands.
Ladies and gentlemen, when it comes to Sniper Elite V2 Remastered, once again the focused sniper shot is the most ‘piece de resistance’ in this game, as well as bullet cam and the X-ray camera that kicks in when when you manage to fire that perfect shot, striking the death blow.
I just love how when you get that perfect shot the camera changes to “bullet cam”, following the path of the projectile as it zeroes into its target, shattering bone, material and steel in a slow motion dance, punctuated with a puff of claret.
Anyone who says that the X-ray camera and bullet cam of Sniper Elite game aren’t the prime reason you play thease games are fooling themselves (also, anyone who has played any game in the series and didn’t snipe the downstairs operations of enemies at least once is lying to you).
Look, I’d snipe my way through Sniper Elite V2 Remastered all the time if I could.
OK, enough about glorious sniper shots, what has this newly remastered version of this seven year old game brought to the table? Has the spit and polish been worth it?
The simple answer is yes, but strap in: Here comes the more detailed answer.
First off, the visuals have had a considerable upgrade. I played the game on PC with an AMD RX580 8Gb GPU and, yes, it’s based on an older game, but I was able to crank things up to ultra settings, and graphically, it looked wonderful.
Backdrops look mightily impressive, with billowing smoke and the orange glow of explosions, lighting has been improved (including God rays), and environments look more detailed than before. It really is the looker, with atmospheric particle effects and little details really making it feel like a war zone, and add more atmosphere than the original did.
Cut scenes seem a lot more detailed too (I have the original game in my Steam library so played it to compare the two) but I thought some ground textures were a little rough at times.
This remaster also brings seven playable characters, 4K and HDR support, a photo mode and includes all the DLC challenge levels that were released for the game, including an Assassinate the Fuhrer scenario which I managed to fail multiple times.
I played V2 Remastered with both a controller (yes, I have failed the PC gaming race) and mouse and keyboard, and while perfectly playable with the controller, the buttons required to take focused sniper shots (you have to hold the left bumper to hold your breath, then the right bumper to zoom and then, finally, the right trigger to fire) almost had me contorting my fingers into an uncomfortable position. You do get used to it, though.
Levels in the game are expansive, often covering impressively large areas [be it bunker complex, bombed out streets or weapons complexes] and tasking you with several objectives to complete.
As with the original game, the enemy AI is a bit hit and miss at times. Enemies will sometimes try to flank you, other times they’ll just run between cover points, waiting for you to take them out. Stealth is always an option, and this is where the sniper rifle comes in but sooner or later, no matter how much skulking around I do, I always seem to get spotted by an enemy, often one that seems to have superhuman vision as he has eyed me from more than 100m away as I crouch along a hill, dotted with boulders.
One thing this remastered game hasn’t fixed, sadly, … is my inability to continuously run out of ammunition for my Thompson machine gun, just as a soldier bursts through a door to the room I’m holed up in, forcing me to try and kill him with a Welrod pistol [that usually only has two bullets left, forcing me to reload mid-shoot out].
This newly tweaked version of the game will set you back $NZ50 on PC or $AU70/$NZ80 on console (PS4/Xbox/Nintendo Switch), which some may see as a little steep for a game that first came out seven years ago [owners of the PC original are up for a better deal, with Rebellion offering the upgrade via Steam for just $NZ12.99/$AU14.50]
Look, I don’t think Sniper Elite V2 isn’t the best game in the serious – I’d award that gong to Sniper Elite 4 – but the pure joy of these games is the number of ways you can complete an objective. Personally, I like to try and at least attempt most things like it says in the name, using my trusty sniper rifle. It seems to sort most problems out.
Rebellion have done a bang on job with this remastered sniper simulator and I reckon it’s worth checking out, even if you’ve played the original.