It’s a beautiful day in 1943 Germany. And by beautiful, I mean that it’s kind of rad to see Hitler’s war machine being smashed apart by the combined Allied forces who are busy moving in for the kill. The Fuhrer is having a bad day, and if there’s one thing that Reich Said Fritz doesn’t need right now, it’s an additional spanner being thrown into his crumbling engine of mass destruction.
A spanner that happens to be especially adept at killing from afar and being able to improvise his way out of death traps. That’s a nice skull you got there, Adolf. It’d be a shame if somebody were to…misplace a bullet inside of it, know what I mean? Seven years ago, Sniper Elite V2 was that game. Developer Rebellion decided to crack out a sequel to a 2005 game, heighten the sniping aspects even further and give players a gory new look into the biological inner workings of a Nazi as you dissected them with 303 calibre rounds from a Lee Enfield rifle.
It’s now 2019. Sniper Elite V2 is back, with a fresh new coat of paint that makes a game of Aryan vs Predator look that much better. Seven years, in which we’ve seen the franchise evolve to gloriously gory new heights in the superb Sniper Elite 3 and 4 sequels which moved the battle further across the European theatre of war. How well does Sniper Elite V2 hold up in comparison?
Surprisingly, not too badly in the meat and potatoes department where it made its name. Everywhere else? Some dated ideas do begin to show through the cracks. The most glaring of these is how confused Sniper Elite V2 felt then and now, with the kind of game it wanted to be. Originally attempting to mix stealth gameplay with cover-based shooting between a bit of sniping in checkpoint nests, Sniper Elite V2 never managed to quite get the hang of this lofty idea.
The problem here is that the balance between the two ideas never managed to gel properly. Karl Fairburne may be this era’s greatest sniper, but he also happens to sound like an elephant in a mosh pit if he so much as breaks into a gentle strut when he navigates through the massive level design. Combat itself using anything other than your trusty sniper rifle is a fool’s errand, with ammo for sub-machine guns being scarce and the enemy AI being woefully inconsistent in these close-quarter encounters.
It’s those moments between the core sniping sections that feel properly antiquated not only by Sniper Elite’s far more fluid and engaging sequels but by the action genre as a whole. When you are in a prime position to cause some mass chaos though? Sniper Elite V2 is still a masterclass in precision. While the idea of having a dedicated button to the scope of Fairburne’s rifle feels odd, it’s a minor gripe at best.
That feeling of a single moment in time, where you have an enemy lined up and have a variety of methods from which to remove them from the battlefield, still feels absolutely magnificent. It’s the bedrock that future Sniper Elite games were built on, and almost a decade later it’s more solid than ever before. Juggling that with Fairburne’s ability to set up traps and keep his back clear of jackbooted goons, is still as much of a delight today as it was in 2012.
All of this is combined with a visual upgrade, highlighting a comprehensive layer of preservation from Rebellion for one of their key franchises. The resolution has been bumped up to 4K, lighting has now been upgraded to be more authentic and the German landscape has a crisper finish thanks to the improved textures.
On a technical level, Sniper Elite V2 is as capable as you’d expect it to be, although said enhancements can only go so far as the more mundane and drab palette that Fairburne operates in is incredibly indicative of an age when video games were plagued with drab browns and greys during the push to do away with artistic license in favour of boring authenticity.
Heaped on top of that, is an entire bunker’s worth of extra content: Multiplayer modes have been bolstered with reinforcements, co-op modes fling entire divisions of Nazis at you and there’s even bit of extra DLC that has you hunting down Hitler and his fictional solitary testicle. A chunky new photo mode, new playable characters from the Nazi Zombie trilogy and optional performance toggles, rounds out the big list of extras available in this complete package.
Last Updated: May 14, 2019