Sniper Elite always seemed like one of those franchises that would be perfect to play in virtual reality, and yeah, that was proven when Sniper Elite VR launched back in 2021 to a lot of buzz. Our reviewer certainly enjoyed it back then, and I’m happy to report that its recently released sequel, Sniper Elite VR: Winter Warrior, offers an equally enthralling experience.
Check out some screenshots down below:
Like the previous game, Sniper Elite VR: Winter Warrior sees you playing as an Italian sniper as he looks back upon his past and narrates his thrilling showdowns with the Nazis during World War II. It’s an effective means to switch between operations without worrying too much about the pacing of the storytelling, though believe me, he certainly had a VERY exciting (and dangerous) life as a sharpshooter.
Whilst the game is named Sniper Elite, it isn’t ALL about sniping. You’ll get the opportunity to use the likes of pistols, shotguns, rifles, and even rocket launchers as you unleash hell upon the Nazi scum, with as much of an emphasis placed on close-quarter showdowns as there is on picking off your enemies from afar. There’s an emphasis placed on realism too, with players having to manually reload their weaponry when in the midst of a gunfight, with each weapon requiring a different approach and a bit of tinkering. It’s something we’ve seen plenty of times in virtual reality shooters, but it’s something I never tire of – even IF it can get a little fiddly when trying to react quickly during a particular intense sequence…
Of course, I LOVE sniping, so it still stands out as the highlight of the experience for me. Lining up the perfect shot and picking off enemies NEVER stops being satisfying, whilst the x-ray kills demonstrate the effect of your shot in wonderful yet gory detail. And holding the scope to your face to line up each shot? It’s wonderfully implemented and feels incredibly immersive in virtual reality. Whilst you’ll find yourself in all sorts of different types of gun fights in Sniper Elite VR: Winter Warrior, there’s no doubting that it’s at its best when it gives you the freedom to pick off foes from afar.
“Lining up the perfect shot and picking off enemies NEVER stops being satisfying, whilst the x-ray kills demonstrate the effect of your shot in wonderful yet gory detail.”
It helps that the campaign missions put you in some intense scenarios where you get to be more creative in your approach. It might be a case of waiting for loud noises to mask your sniper shots, silently infiltrating a base whilst using every stealth trick in the book, or simply partaking in an all-out gunfight where you’ll use the noisiest guns at your disposal to unleash hell. There’s plenty of variety offered in the game’s main missions to ensure you’re always doing something different, and whilst you do get some freedom in the approach you take, there’s always guidance there to point you in the most effective direction. Whether you’re constantly sniping, sneaking in with a silenced pistol, or blasting rocket launchers, there’s plenty of fun to be had.
That being said, whilst the campaign was certainly entertaining, it didn’t offer much that I hadn’t already seen in the previous game. Sure, you go to some new locales and the wintery setup adds a cool change to the overall aesthetic, but it’s more of the same as far as the core setup is concerned. It’s not a bad thing (and it’s something that we see from a lot of first-person shooters anyway), but it would’ve been nice if Sniper Elite VR: Winter Warrior did something wholly different in some set pieces to help differentiate it from its predecessor. Instead? It can be guilty of playing it safe.
That’s not a bad thing though, especially since the core gameplay loop is just so enjoyable. There are plenty of optional objectives to complete too, which doesn’t only spice up each mission but brings with it an additional sense of replayability for repeat playthroughs. Sniper Elite VR: Winter Warrior has less missions than the first game, so it’s good that there’s a worthwhile reason to dive back in and complete any tasks you missed out on the first time around.
Check out some screenshots down below:
There are also two thrilling new game modes to play outside of the campaign: Sniper Hunt and Last Stand. Sniper Hunt sees you hunting enemies whilst also dealing with an enemy sniper, meaning there’s an emphasis placed on keeping your position hidden, patiently waiting for your moment to strike, and carefully observing the environment for a threat. It’s incredibly intense, and with the risk of death coming with any mistake you make, offers some thrills that you simply don’t find in the main campaign. Last Stand feels like a traditional horde mode, with players just gunning down enemies until they’re eventually killed themselves. It’s not particularly deep in design but works well thanks to how satisfying the weaponry of the game is to use.
One thing that’s worth noting is that whilst the game looks better than its predecessor, it’s not the prettiest of titles you’ll play in your headset (even on the Meta Quest 3). There are still some sketchy textures and a lack of detail to be found in the environment, whilst some character models wouldn’t look out of place in a PlayStation 2 game. There were a few peculiar graphical glitches too, and whilst they don’t affect the experience too much, seeing enemies stuck in the environment could be off-putting when trying to line up shots.
Sniper Elite VR: Winter Warrior Review
Sniper Elite VR: Winter Warrior maintains the high standard seen in the previous game, with the satisfying shooting mechanics and mission variety standing out as a highlight. The new Sniper Hunt and Last Stand game modes are a treat too, especially since the campaign is a bit shorter than the last time around. And the sniping? It still feels fantastic, with the immersion offered in virtual reality making each headshot all the more satisfying (especially with the x-ray kill cam).
It’s not the prettiest game you’ll play and it is guilty of not expanding on the formula of the first game too much, but hey, why fix what isn’t broken? Sniper Elite VR: Winter Warrior is still a ton of fun to play and easily stands out as one of the best shooters available on the Meta Quest platform.
Developer: Rebellion, Just Add Water
Platform(s): Meta Quest 3 (Reviewed), Meta Quest 2