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Sniper Elite VR: Winter Warrior

Developer / Publisher – Just Add Water Ltd  / Rebellion
Price – US $14.99 / CAN 18.99 / EU €14.99 / UK £12.99
Release Date – November 30th, 2023
Input – 2 x Motion Controllers
Play Area –  Seated, Standing, Roomscale
Store Links – Meta
Reviewed on – Quest 3

I enjoyed the 1st VR Sniper Elite game, perhaps more than most, as I thought it delivered a satisfying and varying campaign that took me through various WW2 era locales.  With that said, I did enjoy that game on PC and PSVR and while I did dabble with the Quest 2 version, the higher quality presentation of the tethered headsets really brought the game to the next level.  So, when I found out that Winter Warrior would only be getting a Quest release, I was a little disheartened by that news, but tempered my misgivings in favor of just hopping back behind enemy lines to take it to the Nazi scum and their machines of war.

You’ll visit some pretty cool WW2 locales

The opening moments of Winter Warrior find you back at the shooting range where you learn about the basics of controls and gunplay which is standard for an FPS though to throw any item (grenades or otherwise) you can toss them manually or use a button press and reticle for more accurate throws.  Weapons are handled in realistic fashion in regard to reloading and you’ll have the option to use various pistols, machine guns & shotguns but the stars of the show are the scoped rifles which feel fantastic in hand and offer up X-Ray Kill cams, one of the most satisfying rewards after a successful shot.  You’ll have to contend with stealth section that require you to stay out of sight, melee kills as well as collectibles and items hidden throughout each stage.   What this all makes for is satisfying 3 1/2-hour campaign with plenty of replay value if you care about finding all those WW2 era items or tackling each of the mission’s bonus objectives.  Those could be just getting a certain score, a certain number of specific kills, not setting off an alarm and a host more challenges that could potentially change how you tackle a stage.

Once you do beat the game, you get access to 2 additional modes; Last Stand & Sniper Hunt, the former of which is a wave-based mode where you need to last as long as you can while the latter has you tasked with hunting down elite German Snipers.  I couldn’t really care less about Last Stand as it’s a run of the mill wave shooter, but Sniper Hunt is interesting in that you need to kill some regular infantry troops 1st in order to lure out the snipers and move from position to position while repeating the same pattern and it is hard thanks to the enemy snipers having deadly accuracy though it easily offers up the most challenge in Winter Warrior with its addictive, but sometimes frustrating gameplay.

Stealth is key when sneaking around Nazi bases.

Now, while I did find the overall campaign and story enjoyable, by no means is the game perfect thanks in large part to terrible AI and a host of other minor factors that do hamper that fun.  Whenever Sniping was emphasized, Sniper Elite shines and as I took cover to dispatch foes, I was gleeful at every successful shot, oftentimes triggering that X-Ray camera to see all the internal damage I did to my target.  From up on high I could see the enemy closing in and taking them out one after another had me feeling like the war hero this game presents me to be.  However, when the action was a little more close quarters, things get a little more suspect.  Nazi soldiers will walk the same paths over and over (a classic stealth game trope) making for an easier time to pick and choose when and how you want to kill them, but should anyone be alerted to your presence, things can get weird.  If enemies see you, a reticle above their heads will quickly fill up, giving a quick second to find cover before you are officially discovered.  If that reticle fills up, well, they are on to you and will head your way to try and kill you.  You can’t take too many hits so it’s best to take them out quick and when facing 1 or 2 foes, things go ok, but when a base has been alerted to your presence and soldiers come at you like lemmings, it can be hilarious.  At a few points during the campaign, I just sat at a doorway while Nazi’s came at me, 1 by 1, killing them and creating a pile of bodies that was nothing short of comical.  If soldiers discover a body, an alert may be raised and for some reason, even if I was hidden in shadow, they immediately knew exactly where I was and took care of me. The line of sight for the Nazi scum is also hilariously limited and I found myself sneakily coming at them from an angle that no human save for a blind one could ignore.  These issues really did push me to snipe whenever I could which I think makes for a better experience and though running and gunning is an option, that’ll probably ruin the game.

Sniping is always a good time!

The stealth elements are also a little hit & miss with you having to press a face button to duck which makes your steps inaudible but given just how much the game emphasizes not being seen, I think I played almost the entirety of the game squatting, and no, you can’t go prone here.  When in shadow, your vision gets darker, indicating that you are harder to see, but accompanying that is a noise that indicates when you are and aren’t hidden which gets fairly grating, especially considering just how unnecessary it seemed at times given that enemies need to look right at you to see you anyways and that some stages constantly have you navigating from light to dark areas quite often.  None of this is bad per se, but it did become annoying during some stages.  That said, sniping from the shadows is still fun and even sneaking up on foes to whack them unconscious with my gun was a good time with a few of my favorite moments happening when you need to time your shots with passing plane or gust of wind to mask their noise.  Outside of the poor AI, nothing in here is broken and depending on the stage, some of these stealth elements are used to great effect, but on the same token some stages feel much more aligned to closer quarters combat, which really just isn’t that satisfying.

Blowing things up is fun.

Moving on to presentation, Winter Warrior isn’t going to win any awards for best visuals. It’s not awful looking but after just playing Assassins Creed Nexus, it feels like more could have been done here to increase immersion.  The winter setting can make some outside levels look bland though the campaign does change things up nicely with it’s mix of indoor and outdoor stages.  You’ll visit an array of locations from a small village, a mansion, cave system and a few Nazi bases and while it is nice just how often things change up, the reduced texture quality and lack of dynamic lighting really has the entirely of the game looking unimpressive.  No matter where I was, everything around me looked flat, thanks in large part to the sharp edges that make every building, box, handrail or whatever else I was looking it.  There’s also some pop-in throughout the campaign with no noticeable improvements between the Quest 2 and Quest 3 outside of the slight bump in clarity and resolution  offered up by the newer HMD. It’s not bad, but outside of those kill cams, I don’t recall a single moment where I was impressed by the presentation as it all just comes off as…serviceable.  Now as for the kill cams, they still don’t compare as well to the PC & PS versions of the 1st VR game, but dammit, I still enjoyed them here just as much as ever and it was soooo satisfying to watch my bullet blast apart skulls, deflate lungs and shatter bones making each kill even more vicious.

The close quarters action is a little suspect.

Sound design is alright with some decent 3D audio in use which makes it a little easier to hear when enemies may be approaching or walking away from you. Each stage has a soundtrack playing that falls into the background, but makes everything feel just a little more cinematic.  It’s not perfect as it was sometimes hard to tell if soldiers were above or below me, but with most of the stealthy stages being somewhat flatter, this was rarely an issue.  Nazi soldiers will spout out some dialogue when they see you are in search of you though for the most part, they remain silent.  The story plays out from the point of you as an older man, recounting his brave tales and narrating the stages with each level completed bringing you back to his farmhouse where sets up the next stage.  if you’ve played the 1st game, the storytelling format is nearly identical and outside of that annoying stealth noise, is a solid audio package.

I enjoyed this next chapter in the Sniper Elite VR series despite the issues I had with it.  It did feel a little more formulaic and samey at times but given the shorter length campaign, that might need be a bad thing.  Despite my misgivings, this is on the cheaper side of things making it hard not recommend to just about anyone interested in feeling like a badass WW2 sniper.

Rebellion provided The VR Grid with a press code for this title and, regardless of this review, we thank them for that!


  • It's fun to snipe!
  • X-ray kill cams are glorious
  • You'll visit a variety of locales
  • Sniper Hunt is intense fun


  • Enemy AI is poor
  • Lower texture quality
  • Outside of sniping, the gunplay isn't great
  • Some minor pop-in and slight jank


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