Remasters might be the name of the game for a lot of publishers these days, and even though a lot of them merely rehash the same content only making it look and sound somewhat better, there’s an added benefit to having these pop up. That’s right: Switch ports! Such is the case of Rebellion’s Sniper Elite V2 Remastered, which has just hit Nintendo’s portable wonder, as well as PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
Sniper Elite V2 was the turning point for the Sniper Elite franchise. The first entry wasn’t nearly as polished as its sequel, and it really felt great playing it at the time. It established the gameplay formula that the next two games would follow and greatly expand upon, so in many ways, it’s great to have an extra excuse to play this if you haven’t already when it was originally out.
It picks up at the latter half of World War 2, when Germany was on the retreat, and desperately looking for a way to gain an advantage. And that advantage soon showed itself in the form of the V2 rocket, a new weapon that allowed Hitler to attack over great distances. That’s where you come in. As one of the US Army’s top snipers in the war, you’re tasked with hunting down and dispatching every German officer and civilian involved in the case, before they can be captured by the Soviets.
Having a premise tied to real-life events is always a positive when it comes to videogames, and even though most of the people you hunt in Sniper Elite V2 might be fictitious, those rockets did really exist and were the cause of a lot of headaches for the Allies at that time in history, and even after, during the Cold War. With that, V2 bears just enough authentic weight to make its events feel significant, but given that it’s a game about shooting people in the face — and seeing the gruesome details of your bullet reaching its target through a sort of slow-mo X-ray pan when a shot connects — it’s still fun and not weighted down by the grim realities of that time.
The Switch version of the game plays rather well, and considering that this can either be a fast-paced or incredibly slow experience depending on your gameplay style, the action never got cumbersome during my time playing. There are a lot of interactions that can be made with quick button combinations, like switching equipment types and even weapons (yes, you get more than a sniper rifle to play with here), and thankfully none of that is borked down by the Switch’s lack of buttons when compared to a DualShock 4 or an Xbox One pad.
Visually, it doesn’t lose a whole lot either. I played the game in both docked and portable modes, and as far as I could tell, it looks on par, if not better, than the original 2012 version. In docked mode, it appeared to be even slightly sharper, and with a bit denser in terms of visual effects like particles and smoke. I haven’t had access to the big boy console versions of this remaster, but from my time playing the Switch port, the game didn’t suffer any compromises due to the transition.
I’m certainly a sucker for impressive porting jobs for the Switch, and if you remember how shocked we all were at seeing Doom running so well on it, despite the many presentational issues that come from a downgrade, the most important aspect of that version of id’s 2016 hit is that it played pretty close to the original amped version. That’s the thing when it comes to seeing ports coming to the Switch: whether or not they play as well or even better than they did originally on other systems.
First and foremost, gameplay shouldn’t suffer, even if there are obvious technical compromises here and there, so it’s satisfying to see a game like Sniper Elite V2 make the transition without suffering in either department. If you’ve never touched this game before, it’s certainly worth checking it out in its remastered form. And if you own a Switch, the added benefit of having such a quality version of the game on the go is a no-brainer.