With most Wii U ports as of late, there’s always something amiss in the translation. What’s missing though is not all too surprising, yet still disappointing. But is this port of Sniper Elite V2 onto the Wii U still worth the price? It is, so read on with the review.
In Sniper Elite V2 you play the role of Karl Fairburne, a sniper for the USS who was inserted through Berlin in 1945, during World War II. Both Germans and Russians will be your enemies as you go through the levels, while completing various objectives such as assassinations and infiltrations. Fairburne has the typical gruff, tough guy voice-over who narrates the events and mission details in between levels. The gameplay is set up in a way that differentiates itself from other third person shooters in that the focus is largely stealth-based. You can only take a few hits before being taken out, with the screen getting more red and grey as you approach death. You do have a regenerating health system seen in other shooters though.
The stealth gameplay is accented by the sniping segments where the game’s main feature is shown off. When you are in sniping mode you can aim at a target and zoom in with the scope. When the target is in your sights you can focus on it by controlling your breathing to make a precise shot. The game also slows down time a bit and zooms in further to help with the shot. The game also takes real-world ballistics and takes bullet drop, wind direction, and strength into account. So the cross hairs are not what you want to look at when shooting, but rather the red diamond that shows underneath during focus time. Bullets can also ricochet and pass through and hit other targets or objects. Depending on where you shoot the enemy, and whether or not it’s done in focus time, another feature shows a little cut-scene of the bullet’s travel path and an x-ray of the impact. It ends in forensically gory detail, showing the level of destruction you have just committed. Also depending on where you shot an enemy and how you dealt with them, you will be awarded points. Based upon your total score for the level, these points can unlock new weapons for other game modes or replays.
Outside of sniping, the game also has two other main weapons for mid to short range combat: Machine guns for mid-range, and handguns for short range. Hand-guns are mainly for stealth portions when you need to eliminate a target but there is no way to stealth kill them or distract them. Unfortunately you cannot stealth kill them unless they are standing, which seems like a design oversight. These two secondary weapons can be swapped out for others of the same type. Your sniper rifle gets upgraded through the course of the game. You can also use items like grenades, trip mines, land mines, and throwing rocks as a distraction, or to set as traps to prevent enemies from getting close to your position during a sniping segment. Your mission objectives are highlighted by a marker with the distance marked down, as well showing up on the gamepad’s screen. The screen also has a map and you can touch any of the items or firearms to swap out them at any time. Very handy feature. Markers for laid down mines and tagged enemies also show up. Enemies can be tagged while in binocular mode to keep track of them while traversing an area or to locate during a shootout.
There are a few issues with the game though. One would be the previously mentioned inability to do stealth kills from various positions. Another would be that the game’s auto saving system remembers every detail of the level leading up to auto-save checkpoint, including enemy positions. If you are being sought out or an enemy is on route during a patrol, you will have little time to react should you die and restart a checkpoint. This can potentially force a player to restart the entire level unless they are quick thinkers. Perhaps the largest issue with this game’s release though, is the complete lack of online content. Content that exists on the other platforms. While Kill Tally is present, they exist only as a single player challenge. The other two modes are absent. Not even is there a local multiplayer option to be found. There is a leaderboard of sorts but it’s self contained within the game. It should be noted that the online portions of the game were also not originally present in the other versions. They arrived in a DLC pack along with extra scenarios for the campaign. Only time will tell if the Wii U version will get these DLC packs in the future, but for now both Rebellion and 505 are being silent.
Aside from the lack of online, the game does look good on the Wii U, despite not being in 60 fps, and not really being a technical marvel. The touchpad features are a welcome addition as well. The story mode could have been a lot more interesting and personal, but it feels more like Karl is just an avatar for the player to take on the job of a sniper than there being any real narrative to Karl’s story. Overall, Sniper Elite V2 for the Wii U is a decent shooter at it’s core. With a runtime of about 8-12 hours it’s worth a rental at least.