When I first picked up Sniper Elite 4 for review back in 2017, I had no prior experience with the franchise. I had always wanted to get into them, mostly for their Mortal Kombat-esque over the top kill shots. However, the games didn't really feel approachable enough in its earlier entries. The graphics looked unpolished, the controls felt awkward, it just didn't welcome anyone outside of the sniping enthusiast crowd. By my reckoning, Sniper Elite V2 Remastered seeks to let the crowd that jumped into Sniper Elite 4 work their way back into an earlier entry. With just the right level of spit and polish, this 2012 release could fit in right in alongside its modern predecessor.
Revisiting The Past For The First Time in Sniper Elite V2 Remastered
In a sense, Sniper Elite V2 was always a remaster. Coming years after the original Elite, V2 brought the gameplay and visuals to a new generation. You control sniper Karl Fairburne as he marches through Berlin striking back against the Nazi menace. The Remastered release keeps the gameplay just as it was while implementing yet another graphical upgrade. No matter if you're on Xbox One X or PC (via Xbox Play Anywhere), Rebellion's remaster feels smooth as silk. You might not see it right away, as the game hasn't changed out any models or assets. Characters still look rough in cutscenes and environments are more barren than you might remember.
However, playing back to back with the original PC release, you can see all the little things that add up to a significant upgrade. Moving the camera around in the opening moments of the campaign left me in awe. Even running on a modern PC, you don't expect an eight-year-old game to run this well, but that's exactly what Rebellion has done. This is the game that you remember, not the game as it actually was. Of course, I personally can't have this experience, but you can just tell when a rerelease feels this way.
Unloading The Arsenal of Sniper Elite V2 Remastered
Still, going back to V2 from 4, you do lose a lot in terms of gameplay options. If you run into a guard up close, your only option is a silenced pistol, and the gameplay feels much more focused on just sniping. You also don't have a lot of the more elaborate kills, with X-Rays only popping off with headshots and busted vitals. At its core, it's still viscerally exciting, but you can definitely appreciate how far both the gameplay and level design has come in the preceding two games.
What you do have to play with works well. While you can pick up Nazi firearms, you'll be sticking mostly with your trusty sniper rifle, a midrange Thompson for emergencies and the aforementioned silenced pistol. As far as equipment goes, you have a few options. Landmines can make any enemy corpse into an explosive trap. Rocks can get guards into a better position and grenades flush enemies out of their holes. Trip mines act as a World War 2 version of Claymore on Nuketown. Can't have any Nazis sneaking up on you while you dish out your long distance carnage.
Snapshot of a Headshot in Sniper Elite V2 Remastered
Playing through a couple of early levels, it's refreshing to go through something this linear again. Those whole play old games all the time probably already know this, but it can be a grind to go through big games that expect you to scour every corner of a huge map. While Sniper Elite V2 does have huge battlefields, it feels like an overstretched corridor shooter. You can feel the hand of the designer in each combat scenario, you can find the most efficient way to take out each placed opponent. That kind of gameplay is still pretty dang fun, and I wish more modern games had combat design this precise.
Outside of the shiny 4K graphics on Xbox One X, the best upgrade in V2 Remastered is the Photo Mode. Whenever you score that perfect headshot, you can pause the game and shift things around to capture the perfect shot. Everything you'd expect is here, including a pile of filters that no one uses and all sorts of sliders. The mode does seem tethered to whatever was on the screen when you paused, meaning you can't scope out the battlefield and cheat the game. However, you can preserve the exact angle of your bullet as it blasts apart a human skull. That's really all you can ask for.
Sniper Elite V2 Remastered Preview | Final Thoughts
We'll have much more to say about Sniper Elite V2 Remastered as it gets closer to release. From what I've played so far, it seems like a great way to enjoy this classic game. With all the included DLC and a technical boost, it will almost certainly tide franchise fans over until Rebellion is ready with the fifth main game in the franchise. After going back and sampling this entry, I was probably wrong to wait on this series as long as I did back in the day. With hindsight and new possibilities ahead, I can proudly count myself among those awaiting fans.
TechRaptor previewed Sniper Elite V2 Remastered on Xbox One X and Windows 10 via Xbox Play Anywhere with a copy provided by the developer.