Sniper Elite V2 Remastered – Improved virtually every aspect of the game design
Sniper Elite V2 Remastered is a fun if slightly dated affair. Having played Sniper Elite 4, it’s difficult to go back to V2 and not be influenced by hindsight. I can so clearly see how much Rebellion has improved their craft from Sniper Elite V2 to Sniper Elite 4 in. However, this is a review of Sniper Elite V2 Remastered, and not its successor. And there is so much I really wanted to love about it. But small annoyances do add up: inconsistent AI, limited control options, and slightly repetitive mission structure to name a few. Sniper Elite V2 originally released in 2012 on last gen consoles and the PC. Developed and self-published by Rebellion Developments, the Sniper Elite series were and have always occupied that mid-budget space which frankly and unfortunately doesn’t exist in the same capacity as it did last generation. My first game in this franchise was Sniper Elite 4, which I absolutely love. So in a sense, I’m going back to older mechanics to see how this franchise has progressed. There is a lot that I expected to be different in Rebellion’s sophomore outing of this franchise. Sniper Elite V2 Remastered promises to include updated visuals, different playable characters, and a photo mode. Play as an American OSS officer named Karl Fairburne tasked with eliminating the key scientists involved in the German V-2 rocket program during WWII.
Taking place between April and May 1945, this is clearly during the death throes of the Nazi regime. This hindsight brings with it added tension. As the player and modern person, you know that the war is ending soon, but Rebellion nevertheless still manages to create tension against this backdrop with mixed results. Playing fully maxed out at 4K, overall performance is pretty damn great, as expected with a remaster played on these specs. Initially, I did experience some stuttering. My GPU usage at 4K was pretty low, so I upped the internal resolution scale to 2.25x. This did relieve the stuttering, and also resulted in a ridiculously clean supersampled image. Despite this insane internal resolution, I was still easily able to hit and maintain 60fps without a single dropped frame. More modest PCs should easily be able to maintain 60fps at various resolutions in Sniper Elite V2 Remastered. Graphics options are a bit limited. I find this is a bit disappointing. Even though this is an older game, I was hoping a modern lick of paint would bring with it additional options. I wasn’t expecting Ubisoft-level of control here, but certainly more than the limited offering on hand. You can change the usual things like texture resolution, antialiasing (which appears to be post process in nature), and draw distance. The game also includes some post process toggles for motion blur, ambient occlusion, and compute shaders. I would have liked to see more modern touches such as tooltips when selecting a graphics option to provide less savvy players with some additional information on the options available. Overall, the options could be more, and I wonder if their limited nature is due to limitations with the engine. The graphics themselves are a bit of a mixed back. Short of fully remaking a game like Capcom’s excellent Resident Evil 2, there is a limit to how much you can improve in a remaster. For instance, textures are much improved from the original, but fall short of modern titles on PC. Lighting appears volumetric, like a late last-gen/early current-gen console title, but nowhere near as accurate or gorgeous of titles from the past few years. Motion blur is actually not too bad and appears to have a decent number of samples. Since motion blur is a simple toggle, we cannot control the accuracy of this effect in-game. Overall, the post process suite has been given an update to bring some modern flourishes, which I do welcome. Subsurface scattering appears to be present, at least on the player character. Character detail is still last-gen with regards to polygon count. Ambient occlusion is present, but relatively inaccurate as is evident by the shadowy halos around my character’s fingers in the screenshot above. It looks unnatural. Tessellation looks to be present, yet its usage appears inconsistent. For example, look at the barrel of the gun above and note how round it appears, yet my character’s fingers appear fairly polygonal by comparison. Overall, Sniper Elite V2 Remastered definitely has a “last-gen uprezzed” look, which I suppose is to be expected. As a I stated above, we must remember that this is a remaster, not a ground-up remake like Resident Evil 2. It’s not the worst-looking graphical remaster I’ve seen, but far from the best. The audio is perfectly fine, with sliders for music, speech, and effects. The music, while not outstanding, nevertheless does its job telegraphing the situation to the player which can add to the tension. The sound design is decent overall, with one exception.
I found that my own footsteps were much louder than any other sound effect, which I found legitimately distracting. Photo mode has been included as part of the remaster. It does feel a bit limited compared to some other titles out there. It includes basic options to modify like camera movement, FOV, depth of field, filters, vignette, etc. I found it a bit lacking in fine control compared to other photo modes from more modern titles, but its inclusion is nevertheless welcome. I’m going to keep saying this till I’m blue in the face: all games need photo mode. This being a PC game, the keybindings and mouse control options are decent but, like so many other features in Sniper Elite V2 Remastered, a bit lacking. Unlike the graphics, however, I don’t believe the oversight in granular PC control options are due to any inherent engine limitation. The good thing is that it does have the basics, but that’s about it. We receive toggles for mouse smoothing and reducing input lag. However, we do not get independent sensitivity sliders for gamepad sticks and mouse movement. Both are controlled by a single set of sliders, meaning any change on these sliders affect both gamepad and mouse. Additionally, the game does not feature secondary key bindings. Rebellion could have done more for PC controls here. Before any mission, you’re briefed with the objective you’re tasked with carrying out. Here, you can change your loadout. You have a limited number of points with which to allocate to items in your loadout, so choose carefully. For example, I never use grenades, so I have an extra point which I use towards trip mines. The game also sports a bunch of different types of rifles, secondary, and pistols to select. You can also choose a playable character, a new addition to this remaster. I primarily played as Beth Coleman, a former painter who put down her brushes and picked up a gun. Note, this is effectively just a skin. In cutscenes, you default to the main protagonist, Karl Fairburne. This feels a bit jarring when you go from gameplay to cutscene because you’re suddenly no longer seeing your selected character in the cutscene, but I get why Rebellion did this. They wanted to give people the option to customize their character to an extent, but this is still Karl’s story.
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