Sniper Elite VR: Winter Warrior proved the shooter genre truly comes alive in virtual reality
As a first-time VR player, like this is my first ever game I've played and reviewed in VR, diving into Sniper Elite VR: Winter Warrior provided both challenges and thrills. While it took some adjusting to comfortable VR "legs" as I would get motion sickeness like crazy (it's my first time in VR so...) I kinda understand now how shooters can truly come alive in virtual reality.
The single-player campaign transported me to snow-covered regions of Italy as a resistance fighter working to push back Nazi forces. I guess this is a continuation of the story from the first Sniper Elite VR game, but don't quote me on that. The narration of the story is good too and I like the whole Italian accent as it kinda brought back some fond memories of my boy Ezio. Anyway, the individual missions varied from stealthy sabotage to all-out firefights, making excellent use of the game's arsenal.
Lining up distant headshots through the scope is gratifying and quite immersive. Now trying to write and describe how VR games work feels kinda weird, borderline stupid, to me being this is my first time doing it. Cause, in this case at least, it works like real life. Here, you need to hold the gun with both of your hands, raise it up, line the scope so you can see through it and then take the shot.
The same goes for the manual reloading. Gracefully sliding bullets into clips or pumping shotgun shells creates unparalleled immersion. It's clear significant effort went into faithfully replicating the functions of real-world firearms. While this added challenge in heated moments, it only served to heighten the tension of combat.
Apart from the many sniper rifles, you have access to a lot of other historic weapons from the trusty silenced Welrod to the MP40, Tommy Gun, revolvers etc. Whether I choose precision sniper rifles or run-and-gun shotguns, each weapon felt unique to operate. This also helps with the game replayability as in one playthrough you might go full stealth, using the Welrod and the sniper only when the sound is masked by cannon fire, much like in the mainline Sniper Elite games, or you can go full Rambo and kill everyone with assault rifles, shotguns and bazookas. You can also melee enemies, but it's kinda janky and doesn't really work most of the time.
Apart from the Campaign, there are 2 other modes. Sniper Hunt kept the action intense as you stalk and kill enemies while avoiding enemy snipers gaze and shots. The other one, Last Stand, is just an endless horde mode that I didn't play all that much, but I will definitely go back to it when I want to just, you know, unwind.
As for the presentation, environments like snowy mountain ridges and sprawling bunker complexes look believably lived-in despite some rougher textures. Thankfully the sound department is better with guns sounding meaty and powerful and the ambient sounds add a lot to the immersion. I have not played or experienced enough VR games yet on the Quest 3 to say how good or not this game looks so I don't know.
Being a VR-newbie, I had a lot of problems with motion sickness using the Free Move Movement style. I'm still learning and acclimating my brain to accept VR in general, so having the ability to change the movement to Teleport plus quite a few other comfort/accessibility options is quite nice. In the mainline games, seeing testicles explode via the Kill Cam never got old, and that feature is also present here. But here, in VR, I found it really vomit inducing so having the option to completely turn it off is quite nice.
In conclusion, while navigating the VR space presented initial challenges as a first-timer, Sniper Elite VR: Winter Warrior proved the shooter genre truly comes alive in virtual reality. For an entry-level VR player like me, its authentically violent yet satisfying action comes highly recommended. Thanks for reading!
The game was reviewed on a Meta Quest 3 using a review copy provided by Rebellion. Sniper Elite VR: Winter Warrior is out now on Meta Quest 3, Meta Quest 2 and Meta Quest Pro.