Rebellion and developer Just Add Water released their eagerly anticipated Sniper Elite VR for Quest, Playstation VR and PC VR platforms. The game offers its own standalone campaign featuring some assets from the 2D games. Does the introduction of VR make this a must-have title though? Take a look at our Sniper Elite VR review for the full picture. For the record, we run the game on max settings, use an RTX 3090 and HP Reverb G2.
In terms of story, Sniper Elite VR puts players into the role of an old-timer, reliving his key moments through his younger days across various missions set within Southern Italy, 1943 during WWII. It’s an interesting tale, but nothing too taxing and quite predictable. The main meat here is jumping into various mini-scenarios and getting in on the action.
Looking at the gameplay then, it consists of moments where players shoot from afar using scoped sniper rifles – this is the mainstay of the Sniper Elite experience. However, in true fashion for the series, the game also offers stealth-action alongside using regular weapons such as pistols and machine guns. Secondary weapons like mines, grenades and TNT also feature. Mission variety has it that players often move to vantage points, snipe, then escape. Other tense moments place players in close proximity to the enemy, where a silenced pistol is on offer with very limited shots. To be fair though, within these encounters, players have the choice to stay within stealth which is perhaps the more challenging way to play, or just let rip with some of the machine guns of which there are plenty from the fallen, or within your own customizable loadouts.
Sniper Elite’s VR aspects then completely separates this from its 2D counterpart. There is a great sense of being in the shoes of the main character. Whilst the overall visual fidelity and lighting isn’t as good as games like Half Life Alyx for example, or even EA’s Medal Of Honor, the visuals are good enough across the 18 missions. Offering contrasts between day-and-night missions in segmented sections rather than full-on open-world. Using max settings, the Reverb G2 offers great clarity putting you deeper into the game world.
Aside from dodgy AI, weird enemy animations, getting stuck on props, other VR problems occurred for us when using scoped weapons. Moving the controller closer to the VR headset meant losing tracking on several occasions. Also making it quite hard to get a full scope view. Whilst this might be unique to the Reverb G2, some options to mitigate this would have helped. The problem seemed to relate to the positioning of the rifle in relation to the player body in-game. If the developers tweaked this or offered user customization then it might solve this issue for certain headsets. We imagine playing using something like the Vive, Index or original Oculus Rift which use external tracking to eliminate this entirely. It was a minor grievance that kept popping-up, but we dealt with it by sometimes turning the rifle to one side all gangster-like. The game offers a manual reload option which feels pretty authentic, but sometimes used clips would get stuck and could mean the difference between life-and-death. It is great this option is toggleable. We also had some issues with the pistols and machine gun aiming which made making shots less predictable than we’d have hoped. A little auto-aim would have made it less frustrating. Despite all of these issues, there is a fun game here in VR, which probably varies greatly across the various headsets. Having a stock (like the PSVR move controller) would help immensely with keeping aiming steady despite the game having a focus-shot action which slows down time a little.
Sniper Elite VR then grabs the cool features from the 2D game such as masked shots, the x-ray kill cam (which you can disable if desired), focus aiming and the fusion of stealth/action gameplay. For the most part it works well and converts to VR as expected. However as mentioned, the game isn’t perfect and perhaps depending on what setup you have will dictate your overall enjoyment. It’s a nice sniper based game that offers 6 hours or more gameplay (with leaderboards and collectibles for replay). We would have preferred the open-world approach of Sniper Elite 4 rather than shorter condensed missions though. For VR heads looking for a stealth sniping game, this is pretty solid and hopefully the developers can improve things with some post-launch updates once they have more player feedback.
Score – 7/10 (Review code supplied by publisher).