PAX EAST 2019: Hands-On with Sniper Elite V2 Remastered and Sniper Elite III on the Switch

Sniper Elite

The training, practice, and execution of sniping is a disciplined and sensitive art that requires the most demanding attributes of physical and mental patience. Amorphous, discreet, cold, sniping is a skill that few truly master as a sniper fights two different foes. The enemy and the environment. The enemy is cold and out to eliminate the sniper at all costs, but the sniper makes up for this with distance and stealth. 

However, the environment to which the sniper is in is half the battle. Gravity, wind, sound, bullet ballistics, and the very laws of earthly science all play into a single shot. Modern sniping can be traced as far back as The Civil War and even further into human history, with archers and their bows and arrows. When it comes to World War II, one bullet can change the course of history itself. 

At PAX EAST, Rebellion Studios came from the United Kingdom to showcase Sniper Elite V2 Remastered and Sniper Elite III Ultimate Edition for the Nintendo Switch. The two games were developed and released in the past few years, but in 2019, the two are celebrating their very own re-release onto different platforms, thanks to Rebellion Studios.

Sniper Elite V2 originally released in 2013 and was the sequel to a lesser known, but unique combat simulator, Sniper Elite on the PlayStation 2. When the game was released, it touted itself as being a refreshingly appealing and captivating combat game, with a unique perspective set within the very0familiar backdrop of World War II. Where most WWII games at the time focused on first-person shooting or strategy, Sniper Elite V2 focused on sniping.

In addition to sniping mechanics, the players were in for a visually brutal event, in which players could track and witness the damage of their bullet through the x-ray camera. In certain moments of shooting, the game would show a slow-motion real-time sequence in which the bullet leaves the barrel and travels to the target. Upon reaching the target, the player witnesses the extreme and horrifying lurid destruction the bullet caused on an unsuspecting enemy soldier. The x-ray camera would show bones breaking, organs tearing, and blood spattering. As brutal as this was, it was immensely satisfying for the player to have worked hard for a single shot, and to see it delivered spectacularly. Having played, and beaten, the game myself, Sniper Elite V2 is a game looked upon with positive fondness. 

I played a demo of Sniper Elite V2 Remastered and it felt like I was right back at home. The demo had me in one of the early levels of the game, in which the objective was sneak my way through a ruined Berlin, retrieve explosives, set up an ambush, then use those explosives to draw out my target, a high-ranking German rocket scientist attempting to flee the country under the cover of the battlefield.

The PlayStation 4 controls felt tight and responsive, and the combat mechanics set in the original looked and sounded tremendous. Perhaps though, I was a bit rusty, as I attempted to stealthily dispatch a Wehrmacht patrol with limited success. I decided to go in guns-blazing as best as possible, even though that is not recommended.  I was able to familiarize myself with the shooting, visual cues, and the various aspects of combat and evasion. 

In Sniper Elite II, sniping is accessible for all players. It’s easy to learn but challenging to truly master. For those new to the experiences, there is an easy mode that pinpoints where exactly the bullet is going to go. The higher the difficulty, the more assists are turned off, and players will have to adjust their aim to account for wind, gravity, and height. Even the presence of loud sounds, such as bombs going off or tanks rumbling nearby, will assist in masking gun fire and maintaining a stealth profile.

When detected, players can fight off their attacks, whether using their sniper rifle or using a sidearm. However,m the sidearm is limited in ammunition and range. Players can plant traps and run to displace themselves and bring themselves to better cover. This was something I found myself doing when playing Sniper Elite V2 Remastered, to satisfying effects. Every sniper shot or trap going off yielded an immense sense of reward, not just for the experience points but for the fact that you are surviving a warzone and are that much closer to your goal.

The end of the demo had me set up explosives along the road, find a vantage point, then set off the explosives via a rifle bullet to successfully block the convoy with my target. After a fierce firefight, I was able to successfully down my target, but a Panzer Tiger set its sights on me, ending the demo.

Sniper Elite V2 will have updated textures and framerate, running at 60fps for consoles. Additionally, all DLC, including the infamous “Kill the Fuhrer” special mission, and all of the zombie missions from the previous game, will automatically be included. The campaign mode, which took players through the final days of WWII to hunt for German scientists, will be present again, challenging players to think creatively and survive against German and Soviet forces. Look for Sniper Elite V2, to Launch May 14th in 2019, for PS4 and Xbox One, as well as PC.

Sniper Elite III Ultimate Edition for the Nintendo Switch Hands-On

Sniper Elite III Ultimate Edition is a successor to Sniper Elite V2. Sniper Elite III was originally released for PS3 and XB1, featuring an entirely new battlefield and campaign. Set sometime before Sniper Elite V2, players are taken to the battlefields of North Africa, where players are actively engaged in fighting  General Rommel, “The Desert Fox, and his quest to create devastating new weapons that can turn the tide of WWII. Sniper Elite III Ultimate Edition was released to coincide with the launch of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, featuring new optimizations as well as all DLC. Sniper Elite III Ultimate Edition is now heading to the Nintendo Switch.

I got to play the opening stage for this particular demo, and I came away very impressed, especially as I played the game in Handheld mode. Sniper Elite III Ultimate Edition begins with an ambush on British forces in the desert. Repelling this attack, the player grabs their weapons and equipment and attempts to engage the enemy, beginning with eliminating German artillery spotters and even destroying a truck with an AA gun by shooting the fuel tank.

The controls took a bit getting used to as Sniper Elite III uses all the buttons on the switch to wage combat on the front lines. There is a radial menu for accessing secondary items, which was tied to the shoulder button, just above the trigger button. As I had just gone from playing Sniper Elite V2 remastered on PS4, it took a moment to acclimate tot he controls, but I quickly learned and found myself immensely enjoying Sniper Elite III Ultimate Edition. In fact, it essentially felt like I was playing on the PlayStation 4 all over again, with virtually no difference in performance or visuals. 

The rest of the demo had me going through the first level, which I was familiar with, considering I had played both Sniper Elite III and Sniper Elite III Ultimate Edition on the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 respectively. The rest of the demo had me dispatching Nazi artillery crew and regular infantry. I was able to perform stealth attacks by silently sneaking and using my knife. I used a Welrod for silent dispatching and, of course, used my rifle to destroy targets.

As the artillery shells kept firing, I used the roar of the rockets to mask my gunfire. in some instances, I was detected and used nearby explosives to clear out groups of enemies. Sniper Elite III Ultimate Edition allows for various tactical angles. If I was detected, I’d shoot either nearby artillery shells or gas cans to wipe out groups of enemies. After successfully dispatching the artillery crews, I was called to a vantage point, where tanks thundered over to my position. With that, my demo with Sniper Elite III Ultimate Edition was over.

Sniper Elite III Ultimate Edition is proving to be a great addition to the Nintendo Switch lineup. With the platform not seeing many military shooters, Sniper Elite III Ultimate Edition on the Switch is sure to aim high and hit its mark. Look for the release on the Nintendo Switch sometime soon in 2019. Sniper Elite III Ultimate Edition is currently available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.