Tuesday, May 14

Review: Sniper Elite V2 Remastered [Nintendo Switch eShop]


When it comes to first-person shooters there’s no denying that the pickings are pretty thin on the whole. At the top end you have Doom and Wolfenstein, and on the indie side you have a few titles like Immortal Redneck that are a good diversion but lack the polish and production values traditional FPS may be looking for. Storming the space somewhere in the middle we now have Sniper Elite V2 Remastered, which when everything clicks can be quite satisfying but is mired with enough issues that it’s hard not to think that waiting for the re-release of its sequel later on the Switch may be a better bet.


You’re playing as a lone wolf sniper, stuck behind enemy lines, looking to carry out some key missions to help bring about the end of World War II. Not surprisingly, given the overall situation, in order to succeed you’re going to need to try to use stealth, sneakiness, and eagle eyes to pick off enemies one by one on the way to success. Where the game shines is when you’re able to focus, look through your scope, control your breathing, and blow away some Nazis. The dramatic slow-mo showing your bullet scream through the air before blowing a hole through an enemy soldier with it going to an X-Ray mode view of their body is fun… but there obviously needs to be more to the game than that.


What you’ll encounter in missions varies, and how enemies react to you swings wildly between clueless and almost psychic. There are times when you’re obviously supposed to be a stealth section, coming up on a soldier slowly, and you’ll be able to pop them off with your silenced pistol. These are a bit rare, but can be fun. At the opposite end of the spectrum even as you crouch and try to stay low you’ll suddenly hear a bullet whiz by you or see an indicator that someone sees you and you’ll have no choice but to pull out your rifle which is by no means stealthy.


Once everyone is on to you is where things can fall apart a bit. Be ready to spend quite a lot of time stuck in a space and trying your best to defend it. Setting up a trip wire or mine at the door can work nicely but these engagements tend to drag on as you try to pick everyone off while avoiding taking fatal damage. You won’t need to heal, just stay hidden for maybe 20 - 30 seconds and you’re back to being able to be somewhat of a bullet sponge again. While you’ve got a submachine gun to work with running and gunning simply isn’t an option. The first problem with is that your ammo is always extremely limited, but the bigger issue is that while you may be a crack shot with a rifle you can’t hit the broad side of a barn with your other weapons. While there are whole franchises built on engaging and tense cover fire this really isn’t one of them. You’re best off just having a wall to stand behind, creep out to see people and pick them off carefully.


To the developers' credit, the inclusion of motion-assisted aiming is a nice addition to the Switch and depending on your overall tastes can be a real benefit over strictly dual-sticking it. Though online multiplayer options weren’t yet live for the review there’s also some hope that their inclusion, as well as local co-op, can additionally provide some value added fun for the right crowd. What it boils down to is whether or not the fundamentals of the gameplay work for you though. The game absolutely has its moments where you can see everything working well, but then that’s usually followed by sections where it’s hard not to be frustrated at how locked in the level design tends to be and how often it devolves into you being under fire for a while as you try to slowly eliminate your opposition in a manner that’s not remotely realistic and sometimes aggravating. My hope is that when its sequel makes its way to the Switch the flow and stealth elements are better implemented, giving the experience a better sense of balance. Sniper Elite V2 has its place, just be aware that it has some issues.


Score: 6.5

Pros:
  • Slow-mo X-Ray shots of your bullet tearing through your enemy, going through their heart, or entering through their eye socket, can be satisfying
  • Motion controls help refine the aiming which needs to be steady and slow to hit people at long range
  • Online multiplayer support is always nice, though not yet available to check out, and always carries the caveat with it that it will only be successful with community support which is always questionable with games that aren’t massively popular

Cons:
  • While conceptually stealth can be a lot of fun it doesn’t tend to be handled well here, either being clumsily awkward since your pistol feels like it only delivers a bee sting or hopeless as enemies sight you from what can seem like a mile away
  • Being more aggressive, taking cover, and working with your submachine gun is almost always a horrible mistake as mechanically this doesn’t work too smoothly, your ammo is limited, and your aim is embarrassingly bad
  • There’s nothing quite as sad as a mid-to-close range exchange of you and a soldier both with sniper rifles, which given your poor aim with anything else happens a bit too often