Sniper Elite V2, released in 2012, was the second in what would become a four-game (plus three-spinoff) series. Encouraging the player to execute bad guys at range, the franchise puts the player at a severe disadvantage during close-range combat - that’s pretty much its shtick. That, and the fact that good shots that are well taken will often be rewarded by a slow-motion - and possibly even x-ray visioned - death cam, highlighting the tremendous damage you managed to apply to your victim.
Sniper Elite V2 Remastered takes all that stuff above and bundles it up with the DLC that was originally released separately, a photo mode, and expanded multiplayer options. According to the game’s official website, it also includes remastered visuals - that’s the toughest claim to believe because it looks like ass. It honestly feels closer to the original Medal of Honor (1999) or Soldier of Fortune (2000) than a game from 2012 - let alone a 2019 upgraded version of a game from 2012.
Not much else about the game stands up well in 2019 either, but before you panic, note that this is one of those rare titles where the experience of the whole is much greater than you’d expect were you to simply sum up the relative scores of its various parts.
Exploring the game’s largely linear levels, for example, is frustrating. Your character is occasionally completely unable to mantle extremely small hurdles - while more than capable of grappling much larger obstacles at other times. Small banks are often impassable and you’ll regularly get stuck on the edges of environmental geometry.
Playing in stealth mode is tough - some of the difficulty makes sense, as sneaking around murdering folks should probably be a challenge. But often the difficulty is because of the way enemy AI snap around like buffoons or because of hyper-sensitive controls. The good thing is that, unlike The Division 2, enemy AI will lose you if they lose line of sight; even better, the game leaves a little ghost behind, showing you where the AI last saw you. So, if you do screw up while trying to stealth, you can often get back to an undetected state.
The music is tiresomely repetitive, with what seems like a very short “action” loop that plays while you’re in combat. Some of the combat sections can last for an extended period, which can cause the audio to grate.
The game is relatively short, taking only a handful of hours to complete, but the extra missions and challenges help to extend it out somewhat. Multiplayer doesn’t help much, as there doesn’t seem to be much of a community playing it - the most I saw online was a total of three players, and they had spread themselves across two games. If you’ve got some friends who are going to pick it up with you, however, it’s nice to see it supports online (and offline) co-op - although I was unable to test it.
Despite the criticisms above and the fact that the game really feels out of time, having more in common with games at least ten years older than it, it’s bizarrely compelling. Hitting a long-range headshot or - even better - shooting someone’s grenade, blasting them (and possibly some nearby friends) to pieces is very satisfying. There’s even a points system, rewarding you with bigger scores for better shots, complete with an online leaderboard and world records. Speaking of which, I’m only a few headshots away from the world record, so I best wrap this up and get back to it…
It’s hard to summarize Sniper Elite V2 Remastered as anything other than average. The game is ultimately compelling but you have to wade through some seriously dated mechanics, blocky graphics, retro game design, and ropey AI to get to it. If you go in expecting that, you’ll do OK, but if you expect to get a 2019 (or even 2012) experience from this thing, you’re going to be disappointed.