Sniper Elite V2 Remastered
CONSIDERING the significant interest generated by Sniper Elite V2 on the Nintendo Wii U and the lack of tactical shooters on the console’s successor, it was no surprise to find Rebellion Developments bringing the game’s remastered iteration to the Switch. Perhaps it would have done so regardless of circumstance; after all, the reboot-cum-sequel of 2005’s Sniper Elite remains the most popular title in the series. Announced in 2011, it was slated for release only on the Microsoft Xbox 360 and the Sony PlayStation 3. However, clamor from quarters seemingly left out by the limited offering led the developer to look beyond its partnership with 505 Games and publish by itself a version for the personal computer soon after.
In any case, Sniper Elite V2 Remastered is a welcome addition to the Switch library. The plot stays the same: Gamers experience events from the vantage point of Karl Fairburne, an agent of the United States Office of Strategic Services posing as a sniper for Nazi Germany at the close of World War II. Tasked with tracking down and aiming to turn scientists involved in the making of the Vergeltungswaffe 2 rocket, his situation requires no small measure of stealth. That said, he invariably runs into, and afoul of, Axis soldiers, during which time his skills as a marksman are put to the test.
Parenthetically, Sniper Elite V2 Remastered provides outstanding gameplay within the parameters set for Fairburne. He ventures to avoid direct confrontation with the enemy and, in the process, uses all means necessary to move from installation to installation and claim high ground. Through his missions, he has a variety of munitions at his disposal, submachine guns, pistols, grenades, and land mines included. Needless to say, though, the sniper is his most frequently used weapon, and, to its credit, the game makes a not inconsiderable effort to inject realism in this regard.
Certainly, the mechanics employed by Sniper Elite V2 Remastered are an ideal fit for the Switch. The way the controls are mapped takes some getting used to, but it does contribute heavily to the game’s simulation predilections. It’s far from a point-and-shoot affair. To the contrary, it takes ballistics into consideration; the posture and position of Fairburne as he pulls the trigger, the caliber and characteristics of the bullet once fired, and the manner in which wind velocity and direction provide resistance or assistance are all crucial to success or failure in the moment.
In terms of presentation, Sniper Elite V2 Remastered likewise pulls out all the stops. For a dated game, it looks excellent on the Switch. In particular, its “X-Ray Kill Cam” feature — which boasts of a slow-motion perspective of the bullet’s trajectory as it hits its target and the ensuing damage caused to body parts — retains its graphical capacity to shock and awe. Never mind that the port on the hybrid console lacks support for high-dynamic-range imaging support and runs at lower frame rates vis-a-vis the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 counterparts. Even when enjoyed undocked, it doesn’t suffer from visual hiccups or stuttering.
To be sure, Sniper Elite V2 Remastered does have its demerits. Its soundtrack is serviceable at best, and bugs will occasionally pop up and require reboots. Nonetheless, the pros far outweigh the cons; those fortunate enough to have played it on a previous-generation platform will most definitely appreciate the vast visual improvements. And while the need to go through frequent bouts of long-range sniping gives rise to the notion that screen size matters, the first-rate interface makes for outstanding on-the-go gaming. Among other things, the zoom option takes care of the theoretical problem of gamers zeroing in on a target while focused on the Switch’s 6.2-inch display.
In sum, Sniper Elite V2 Remastered sets gamers up for at least 10 hours’ worth of single-player campaign goodness. The operative phase is “at least,” what with the inclusion of all downloadable content and the challenge of completing collectibles raising the replay value. Moreover, its online multiplayer support underscores cooperative play through a handful of game modes. Simply put, it holds up extremely well even at seven years old, and serves to justify its $39.99 price tag.
• Unique gameplay features
• Graphically improved vis-a-vis previous iterations
• Lends well to gaming on the go
• All downloadable content included
• Fair number of multiplayer options
• Occasional glitches require reboots
• Focus on tactics and stealth can turn off the impatient
• Soundtrack is serviceable at best
POSTSCRIPT: Square Enix didn’t wait until E3 2019 to announce what longtime gamers have been anticipating for a while: Final Fantasy VII, one of the most beloved titles in the franchise, will be remade and released on the PS4 early next year. The new iteration will be a reimagining of the narrative and interface that redefined the role-playing game genre. In the city of Midgar, a group dedicated to fighting the injustices of the Shinra Electric Power Company as it controls the world’s life force decides to firm up its resistance. In the process, it draws the support of Cloud Strife, a former member of Shinra’s elite military arm turned rebel for hire. March 2020 can’t come soon enough.