Sniper Elite VR is the first made-for-VR game in the long running franchise. True to its name, the game delivers satisfying sniper gameplay, including its signature x-ray kill cam. But beyond that, the war stories aren’t worth writing home about.

Sniper Elite VR Details:

Available On: Oculus Quest & RiftSteam, PSVR
Price: 
$30
Developer
: Rebellion, Just Add Water and Coatsink
Publisher: Rebellion
Release Date: July 8th, 2021
Reviewed On: Quest 2

Gameplay

Image courtesy Rebellion

Note: Because Quest video capture uses the right-eye view, my (left-eye) clips don’t show what it looks like to look through the scope.

Sniper Elite VR is the second major single-player WWII VR game to come to VR, not long after Respawn’s Medal of Honor: Above & Beyond (our review). The game centers around an Italian resistance fighter who is recounting his war stories.

First and foremost, Sniper Elite VR is, of course, about sniping. And to that end, the developers did a fine job of translating the feeling of the franchise’s signature sniping action into VR. Specifically, the game features perhaps the best looking and most usable sniper scopes that I’ve seen in any VR game to date. Combined with an essential ‘focus’ slow-motion feature which allows you to zoom in further for precise shots, the sniper rifles generally satisfy with just enough challenge to remain engaging.

The cherry on top for the game’s sniping is the franchise’s signature x-ray kill cam that occasionally gives you an up-close and inside look at exactly what parts of the enemy you just obliterated. Seeing bone and teeth flying after hitting an annoying enemy is gruesomely satisfying.

That being said, within the first level I had to turn down the frequency of the kill cam one or two notches to prevent it from happening too frequently that it became annoying. Props to the developers for making this an option.

Image courtesy Rebellion

So, the core sniping mechanics are pretty solid, but Sniper Elite VR unfortunately doesn’t create a particularly rich sandbox for you to play within. The game’s levels are immensely forgettable due to the game’s inability to offer up more than a handful scenarios, leaving the game feeling like shooting gallery after shooting gallery. There’s some close-quarters combat sprinkled throughout, but the close-range weapons weren’t paid quite as much attention as the sniper rifles and end up lacking punch.

When it comes down to it, Sniper Elite VR shares a surprising number of flaws with its other WWII VR brethren, Medal of Honor: Above & Beyond. Specifically, the game lacks meaningful differentiation between weapons and enemies.

There’s four classes of weapon within the game, Sniper, Pistol, SMG, and Shotgun. Shotgun can basically be written off because they’re sluggish and get you too close to the game’s enemies (which kill you frustratingly fast at shotgun range). Pistols are largely useless as well, save a single silenced pistol that you get about 25% into the game, which makes it possible to kill enemies without alerting anyone nearby.

Image courtesy Rebellion

Then there are snipers and SMGs. Both are useful as a class of weapon, but I couldn’t find any meaningful difference from one sniper to another or one SMG to another. Among snipers, the only difference I could really see was that one of them had a six-bullet magazine while the others had five. With no discernable reason to pick one over the other, the six-bullet sniper was the obvious choice for the entire game… right up until I found the seven-bullet silenced sniper (which almost felt like a cheat because you can always shoot it without alerting anyone else).

Enemies have the same issue as the weapons… there’s practically no difference between them, no reason to prioritize one over the other, and no reason to change the weapons used against them. Once you’ve shot one guy in the head, you’ve basically seen it all.

The game tries to mix things up with the occasional armored vehicle, but they turn out to me more of a nuisance than an interesting challenge, as they are all taken out by shooting at the same weak points.

With solid sniping not backed up by unique weapons, enemies, or combat scenarios, Sniper Elite VR ultimately feels unmemorable, especially given its dull story. At just under six hours to complete the game, the gameplay felt like it had overstayed its welcome by the end.

Immersion

Sniper Elite VR does a few things well for immersion but a lot of things poorly. Ultimately it doesn’t create a deep sense of presence, but I was at least impressed with the graphical presentation on Quest 2, which struck me as surprisingly good and relatively uncompromising, while maintaining seemingly perfect performance.

Gun handling is reasonably detailed. All guns are manually reloaded (this can be optionally disabled in the options), which involves placing a magazine into the gun and racking the charging handle. Things can feel a bit wonky at times with hand and grip poses on many guns that don’t seem to line up to the controller’s handle very well.

The game uses a holster system that has six weapon slots: two over-shoulder, two chest, and two hip. There’s also an ammo pouch and two grenade slots around the waist. From my time playing the game, I felt the holster system had too many slots, making it easy to misplace an item because it got put in the wrong slot, or accidentally replace one item for another, causing the first to drop to the ground. At a minimum, the over-shoulder slots felt very reliable, which is good because that’s where your primary weapons are.

While gun handling is decent, world interaction feels like a complete afterthought in Sniper Elite VR. The game’s idea of interacting with most objects is to reach your hand near them and pull the grip while watching a circle fill up and then something happens.

Beyond that, you’ll quickly learn that almost none of the objects scattered around the environment are interactive in any way, save for ammo boxes and explosive barrels.

Sniper Elite VR makes an attempt at a Half-Life: Alyx ‘select and pull’ method of force-grabbing objects, though it comes off as being far less polished. Object selection is hit-or-miss, with the system sporadically leaping between objects as a result of minor hand movements.

On top of that, the game almost seems to prefer force grab over directly reaching out toward objects, as it doesn’t make it particularly easy to do without gripping the precise interaction points.

I appreciate the game’s attempt at an immersive menu. Unfortunately it comes off a bit half-baked, with too much reliance on blatant HUD elements, and a mixture of immersive and non-immersive interactions (ie: page turning vs. ‘hold grip to start level’).

On its default settings, the game’s HUD is a serious detractor from immersion. Expect to see white rings around anything that’s interactive, a kill log popping up after every single kill, floating score counters popping out of dispatched enemies, text-based ammo counters, and a big red icon to show when a grenade is armed. Fortunately there’s a HUD option which lets you tone this down a few levels, or turn it off entirely. While I would have liked to turn it off entirely, it quickly becomes clear that the obnoxious HUD is there for usability reasons—reasons which have immersive solutions, but not in this game.

Also harkening back to Medal of Honor: Above & Beyond, a major flaw is Sniper Elite VR’s pace-destroying level structure. There you are, a soldier going through harrowing war scenarios, only to reach the end of a segment and see a ‘Mission Complete!’ screen pop up to give you a bunch of stats and a score before ejecting you back to a menu. This destroys any sense of tension or mood that the game’s story was attempting to build.

Speaking of the story… it’s an entirely forgettable affair—I honestly don’t know the main character’s name (maybe they never told me what it was?). It presents itself as a serious war story, but the game ultimately feels like a series of ‘go there, do that’ prompts, in which you’d have no idea what you were doing on a given level if you weren’t guided step by step.

Comfort

Image courtesy Rebellion

I found Sniper Elite VR to be entirely comfortable throughout, and was easily able to play for more than an hour continuously while using free movement with no blinders. I don’t recall a single point in the game that made my stomach lurch.

While the game offers a wide range of comfort options, the teleport implementation is so painfully slow that I simply couldn’t recommend the game to a player who can only play with teleport.

In my review copy of the game there seems to be a bug with height calibration which would constantly make me too tall, by an order of feet. I had to make regular use of the height recalibration which, oddly enough, seemed to make me taller when I crouched down low and strangely shorter when I stood up high.

The game’s holster belt could be a little annoying to reach at times when it didn’t want to track correctly, often rotating away from you when you wanted to look down to find a grenade to grab or to check the ammo counters on the ammo pouch.

Sniper Elite VR Comfort Settings – July 8th, 2021

Turning

Artificial turning
Smooth-turn
Adjustable speed
Snap-turn
Adjustable increments

Movement

Artificial movement
Smooth-move
Adjustable speed
Teleport-move
Blinders
Adjustable strength
Head-based
Controller-based
Swappable movement hand

Posture

Standing mode
Seated mode not explicit
Artificial crouch
Real crouch

Accessibility

Subtitles
Languages English
Alternate audio unknown
Languages unknown
Adjustable difficulty
Two hands required
Real crouch required
Hearing required
Adjustable player height
REVIEW OVERVIEW
Overall
5

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  • no shock here. even tho i don’t trust reviews on here. i never found this game to look interesting

  • Pascal Tremblay

    A ruthless review,. You currently have the most severe rating

    • Bob

      Ben and Scott tend to review games more critically than others which I see as a good thing.

    • kuhpunkt

      “We scored this game 5/10 – ‘OK’ by our linear scale.”

  • David

    The game’s levels are immensely unforgettable due to the game’s inability to offer up more than a handful scenarios, leaving the game feeling like shooting gallery after shooting gallery.

    I’ll assume the author meant to write “immensely forgettable” here, unless they’re so bad that you’ll never forget it

    • benz145

      Haha yes you’re right, will fix.

  • benz145

    Thanks for reading our review! Please note the following before commenting so that we can have a thoughtful discussion:

    • We scored this game 5/10 – ‘OK’ by our linear scale.

    • Even if the text of the review focuses more on critique than praise, or vice versa, the score aims to boil down the reviewer’s overall opinion of the experience.

    • If you haven’t played the game, understand the limits of your knowledge.

    • If you have played part of the game, your experience may differ from those who have completed it in its entirety.

    • Road to VR does not ever accept payment for reviews or any editorial content.

  • Jarom Madsen

    Your review score makes no sense. For reference, you also scored Medal of Honor a 5/10 with Gameplay: 5 | Immersion: 5 | Comfort: 6. So even though you rated gameplay a 5, the same as MOH despite praising Sniper Elite for the implementation of it’s main mechanic of SNIPING and having nothing good to say for MOH, you rated Immersion +1 and Comfort +4 but you refused to budge from a 5/10 score???

    A 5/10 for the majority of consumers means to stay away. I don’t think this game deserves that treatment. You don’t have to shower it with unwarranted praise but putting it on the same level as MOH seems unfair especially with how good the Quest port turned out and MOH is only PCVR requiring 200+ GB of space and ended up lackluster anyway. Sniper Elite was clearly developed with more care so fix whatever issues and biases you have in your review process so that your scores actually carry some value. I’d even accept a 6/10 based on your points even though a 7/10 seems more fair in my opinion.

    The average of your scores by the way is a 6.6/10 meaning you docked it 1.6 points of bias without really justifying a reason.

    • benz145

      You may want to read our review rating scale:

      https://www.roadtovr.com/road-vr-review-rating-scale/

      “In addition to an overall score, we separately score several key metrics: Gameplay, Immersion, and Comfort. The overall score is not a mathematical average of the sub-scores, as some metrics matter more in some games than others.”

      I rated the game “OK,” but it didn’t break into “Good” for me.

      If you haven’t beaten the game yet, I’d encourage you to do so before deciding our assessment isn’t correct.

      • Jarom Madsen

        I’ve read your review rating scale many times and think it’s a cop out for good reviewing standards. If your score can’t even be cross examined with your other reviews and definitely departs from traditional reviewing metrics than what’s the point?

        Obviously I haven’t had the time to beat it yet since I didn’t have a review copy but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be allowed to call out BS when I see it. Regardless, my point isn’t that your criticisms are invalid or that you enjoyed the game more than you let on, just that you are inconsistent with your ratings without holding yourself accountable.

        • benz145

          How is having a clearly defined scale and all the reasoning behind our approach to rating games laid out a cop out for good reviewing standards?

          It’s pretty simple, both games were OK, and rated in the OK range of the scale. I didn’t find them Good and I didn’t find them Great.

          The sub-scores are not averaged for the overall score, they’re just feedback on specific points that we think are worth highlighting for a VR-focused audience. There’s elements beyond those three things that contribute to how a game is rated, so trying to “cross-examine” them to say that the score is ‘wrong’ doesn’t make any sense.

          Let’s continue this conversation after you complete the game, I think it’s meaningless to argue over scores if we we’re not working from the same experience.

          • Jarom Madsen

            Hmm… my previous reply got marked as spam albeit it was a bit of an essay. The tl;dr of it though is why focus the entirety of your review on the subcategories and apply specific scores to them if they’re not going to influence the overall score. You don’t have to take an average of them but if you deviate significantly from that average, you should probably make an extra effort to explain why.

          • benz145

            They do influence the overall score, but they are not equally weighted and they are not the only categories which matter.

          • Jarom Madsen

            Then where are the scores for the other categories that matter? The overall score should be a reflection on the review or vice versa. If you rate the game based on categories you didn’t clearly focus on in the review you’ve obfuscated your own communication. My guess is your “hidden category” that pulled the score down was the Story which you barely touched on in the review but I do know that you really love your story games and so I could see it affecting your overall experience. If you’re going to let it affect the overall score though, a clearer way to communicate that would be to either add Story as another subcategory or include it in Immersion and give it a score of like 2 or something so at least your readers don’t have to read the footnote that says to navigate to another page to read about how your subscores have no real affect on the overall score.

    • pasfish111

      On Steam, the people are not very amused as well about the game.
      In my opinion, MOH is a way better looking and more polished game …MOH is for me, because of its problems on day one and the fact that it gets better and better after a few hours ob playing (most people quit before that), a underrated VR game. Yes it is by far not perfect, and we can expect more from EA but what incredible game did arrive since then? :D …and I don’t expect too much good VR PC games coming for the rest of the year (Elite Sniper was one of my favorites beside Lonely Eco 2 and After the Fall) :D:D:D …and i promise After the Fall will be also not that good VR Game that everyone of use hope ;-)

      • Jarom Madsen

        I shouldn’t pick on MOH but I just was using it as a counter example to how R2VR’s subscoring system appears to not carry any real weight so why make the entire review about those metrics at all if they’re not going to relate to the overall score?

        • pasfish111

          I think the different sores out there are from different groups of VR Gamer ;-)
          You know, a very good-looking Quest Game is for most PCVR gamer already outdated and ugly …it’s simple like that.
          I’m sure you know, Onward! …it was loved from PCVR Gamer …but after the Quest-downgrade nearly every PCVR Gamer has left the Game. If you have a 3080 you can’t accept graphics from 2005 – even if you try it.

    • Kunakai

      I think you need to reconsider how you “cross examine” review scores to be fair. Depending on which source you go to you could make an argument for a higher or lower score.

      (The opinion of the steam community seems in line with this review for instance, which is not only a larger sample but also individuals who invested enough to have bought the game and leave a review. Meanwhile, Oculus trends towards the higher end of the scale, though with a much smaller sample)

      • Jarom Madsen

        Oculus store has 220 reviews whereas Steam has 202 reviews? Not sure why you think Steam has a larger sample size. Quest games typically get more reviews than Steam since the headset is cheaper than most PCVR headsets.

        You’re right though it’s got mixed reviews on Steam. Not trying to give Sniper Elite unwarranted credit, just expressing frustration about R2VR’s rating system.

        • Kunakai

          You’re right, I overlooked the quest reviews.

          In any case, review scoring has always and will always be a controversial subject. (Knowing that doesn’t stop me from facepalming at Felthams questionably high scores to be fair though).

          Personally I think it’s for the best someone is trying to tame consumers expectations. This game has over four stars on the oculus store, implying an experience on par with something like HL:Alyx / Blade and Sourcery. SE getting more than 5/10 discredits the work those games have done to improve what a VR game can be post 2020 (in my opinion at least).

  • doug

    Maybe use your non-dominant eye a few times next game so your readers can see.

    • benz145

      This was an oversight on my part, it wasn’t until I was reviewing all the captured footage that I realized the issue. Luckily I’ve recently found a way to switch to left-eye recording on Quest for the future.

      • If this can help you in feeling better, I had never thought of such a problem when reviewing a game either, so I completely understand

  • D-_-RAiL

    That was my experience a just ok game.

  • pasfish111

    :D …5 months of waiting for the next “promising” VR Game … and gues what it’s absolute rubbish :-/ … see you in 5 months again ;-)

    • jbob4mall

      Maybe you should watch or read more than one review to make a better informed decision. And perhaps, if it looks like something you enjoy, buy it anyway and form your own opinion.

      • pasfish111

        After 5 test and a short try on steam, i stay with my opinion :-/ … Sniper Elite VR is one of the “best” VR games of 2021 (so far) …but it’s not good at all!
        Thanks to Facebook and mobile VR we have now in 2021 the mostly ugly and weak VR games since 2016.
        The nominated “best VR Games of 2021” is a real joke :D
        https://mixed.de/vr-awards-2021/#Bestes_VR-Spiel

        Congratulations to Facebook and Quest, you gave VR gaming with your mobile shit in only 1,5 years its gimmick image back … it will take years again to get the interest of normal flat games back to VR.

  • From all the big marketing around this game, I was expecting something more…I am a bit disappointed

  • Mike Moo

    I’ve actually submitting for refund. I found it very dull and ropey, and I felt the physics totally paled in the light of something like Walking Dead: Saints and Sinners.

  • John Duncan

    I agree with this review and am pretty baffled by some of people who love this game. I am really baffled by how Oculus store reviews differ from steam reviews. Is there lower expectation on Oculus store that people give game 5 stars , yet Steam user are more critical. For triple AAA company , lack of immersion here is baffling. The story is boring , and it not open world stealth game which is what we come to expect from Elite Sniper. The AI aren’t a challenge.

    • benz145

      Part of the discrepancy is likely the ease of use of Quest compared to PC VR. Since Quest is easy to use, games don’t need to be quite as good to be entertaining. PC VR on the other hand is a little harder to use, so users want something that really justifies the hassle.

      Another issue is headset specific problems on the PC VR side. For instance, if a game launches with fully functional support for Oculus and native SteamVR headsets, but has technical issues with its WMR implementation, then you’ll get a bunch of WMR users giving poor reviews because of a headset-specific issue. On Quest this doesn’t happen as often because developers only need to worry about Quest/Quest 2 which are quite similar.

  • I didn’t think it was too bad. I’m a few hours in and it’s a competent shooter. At this point, we’re DYING for content! Even “Competent” seems amazing compared to virtually nothing.