Xbox One, PS4, PC, PS5, Xbox Series X|S
May 26, 2022
Sniper Elite returns for the fifth entry in this surprisingly long-running series, spanning multiple console generations and continuing to excel and thrive during the ever-changing landscape of the video game industry. Developer Rebellion is a rarity in the game development scene, in that they retained their independence after all these years, especially during the recent period of significant acquisitions from console platform holders.
This franchise has seen constant iteration and improvements throughout the years, culminating in the most modern and clean-looking Sniper Elite entry in the series to date. If Hitman or Metal Gear Solid are the types of games you like to play, it’s more similar to those titles than ever before. With long-distance assassinations and stealthy antics, Sniper Elite 5 has the accidental humour of Hitman combined with the gameplay sandbox of Metal Gear.
Set during D-Day on the coastlines of France, the many levels of Sniper Elite provide open-ended gameplay theatres that provide plenty of terrains to traverse and strategise with. Guard patrols, bunkers, and artillery installations provide plenty of opportunities to weaken the enemy position while pursuing your main objectives. It’s this open gameplay structure that allows players to choose how they approach mission objectives and leads to the organic discovery of a plethora of side quests. These side quests can offer varying degrees of reward, from experience points, collectibles, or additional ways to complete main mission.
“It’s this open gameplay structure that allows players to choose how they approach mission objectives and leads to the organic discovery of a plethora of side quests”
While the narrative thread concerning a secretive Nazi operation exists within the realm of plausibility for the period, Sniper Elite prides itself on historical accuracy where it matters. Weapons, locations, vehicles, and more are all beautifully detailed in their modelling and feel right at home during the era. A first for the series, environments are now utilising photogrammetry technology to add further depth and realism to the game’s many picturesque environments. This also extends to the sheer amount of detail on display for the game’s many weapons. Materials such as metal and wood grain are all rendered beautifully, matching their real-world counterparts seamlessly.
Combined with this attention to detail, Sniper Elite 5 also brings back full weapon customisation. Any weapon, whether it be sidearms or rifles, can be customised to your preferred play style. Muzzle breaks, stocks, and scopes can be tweaked for extra damage, improved bullet drop, as well as noise level which is vital for a game like Sniper Elite. This level of customisation allows for the player to experiment more frequently with different weapons and not be overly cautious when engaging in firefights when all hell breaks loose.
Returning to the game’s narrative conceit, Sniper Elite opts for a stereotypical plot that provides the framework for exciting gameplay. Our main character, Karl Fairburne, along with the help of the local French resistance, stumbles upon a secret Nazi plot – Operation Kraken. A list ditch attempt to turn the tide in the Nazi’s favour, something that nobody in their right mind would ever wish to occur. While this provides plenty of motivation to blow up enemy bunkers and explode Nazi heads; outside of the initial introduction, there isn’t much more to the story. But to be honest, that isn’t what players come to Sniper Elite for. People want to shoot exploding heads in slow motion, and preferably not ask questions later.
Compared to previous entries in the series, Sniper Elite 5 seems to be the most content-rich. With an exciting and challenging campaign, this can be further optimised with many gameplay modifiers to make the game as realistic or as chaotic as you like. The most notable addition is the inclusion of online player invasions into your single-player game. Similar to Dark Souls, other players can choose to invade your single-player missions as an enemy sniper. This provides a thrilling cat and mouse style of gameplay that puts pressure on the player to achieve their normal objectives while being actively hunted by a player with all the same tools and equipment at their disposal.
Other modes are on offer from previous Sniper Elites such as online multiplayer lobbies for up to 16 players, and a fairly robust co-op mode for you and a friend to cause havoc in the game’s many open level environments. The options available at launch are numerous and really allow for players to engage with the content in a way that suits their tastes. This level of freedom will definitely be appreciated by long-time fans and will aid in the longevity of the game living on months after launch.
All in all, Sniper Elite 5 plays identically to past Sniper Elite titles, but with this latest entry, the game’s quality has reached a level of polish that shows the team’s tried and tested gameplay formula is a damn fun time. If you’ve ever been curious about the series or haven’t played in a few releases, Sniper Elite 5 is the ultimate version of this franchise. With plenty of player customisation options to truly tailor the experience to suit your needs, fun is easy to find here. And with the sheer amount of content and gameplay modes on offer, there is plenty to keep players occupied and engaged during their time in Sniper Elite 5.
- Environment and object detail and texture material work is a step above.
- Sound effects for weapons are loud and historically accurate to the weapons they originate from.
- Player custimisation is a key component, ranging from weapon mods to gameplay difficulty and modifiers.
- Animation work isn't the most graceful, but serves its purposes in providing player freedom
- Narrative takes a backseat, with little thematic depth or interesting characters
Sniper Elite 5 is a culmination of many years of gameplay systems and development processes being polished to a mirror sheen. Making tremendous strides in both technology and visuals, Sniper Elite 5 can stand amongst the likes of its AAA contemporaries with gorgeous, realistic environments and visuals. Character modelling and animation could still use some refinement and the narrative left something to be desired, though the story thread was enough to provide adequate pacing for the action on screen. If you’re a fan of the series or looking to finally see what all the fuss is about, Sniper Elite 5 is the best the series has ever been.