It’d be easy to think that you spend all of your time lurking in bushes and waiting patiently to get that long-distance kill in Sniper Elite 5, but the game is about much more than that. This is a series that has evolved between entries, bringing with it as much of a focus on action-packed shootouts as it does picking off your prey from afar. It lets you play the way you WANT to, whether that’s as a stealthy ghost who’s in and out like a demon’s whisper or a Rambo-like warrior who leaves his enemies behind in a blaze of glory.
It also just so happens to be the best release in the series so far, with the debut on current gen consoles bringing with it some of the most exhilarating action and impressive visuals we’ve seen from Sniper Elite to date.
Check out some screenshots down below:
Sniper Elite 5 follows the tried-and-tested formula of previous entries as far as the narrative is concerned, with series protagonist Karl Fairburne once again called to duty to help dispose of the Nazi threat. This means moving between a bunch of locales spread across France where he’ll have to shoot down some baddies, gather top secret information, and put a dent in Hitler’s plans for domination.
Missions are spread across multiple open environments, with Sniper Elite 5 offering a non-linear approach in how you complete them. Your objectives are clear and marked on the map so you know where to go, but it’s the process of getting to them that’s most liberating: do you quietly sneak in without making your presence felt, do you pick off enemies from afar with your sniper and try to hide yourself in cover when enemies investigate the gunshots, or do you go all-guns-blazing and take everyone out with the wide arsenal of weaponry on offer?
It’s this freedom that makes Sniper Elite 5 so much fun to play. There’s no right or wrong approach to take, but rather a varied set of options that can help you out in any given situation. Typically, I’d take a silent approach and carefully try sneaking through enemy camps, picking them off quietly, and luring them out of my path when they were blocking an objective – I might have even taken a few of them out with my sniper to begin with, but only those who were isolated and out of view. And if I got caught during this? I’d switch to a machine gun, take cover, and kill everyone I could, until I was able to escape from the Nazi threat and repeat the cycle all over again. Of course, a better player than I could probably go through whole missions undetected, but I just can’t resist the temptation of taking those unnecessary risks.
“The sniping feels better than ever, with the satisfaction of lining up that perfect shot, pulling the trigger, and then having the kill-cam glorify your gruesome pin-perfect shot feeling darkly fulfilling (it’s just a game, don’t worry).”
Each mission in the game is cleverly designed to cater for multiple playstyles and it makes them so much more enjoyable to complete. Things can go right for you when sneaking or they can go completely wrong; either way, there’s an answer for any situation that helps make for an intense showdown that’ll keep you thoroughly entertained as you look to take down the Nazis. It caters for multiple styles of play, with the clever map design ensuring there’s no right or wrong way to tackle each objective. And hey, sometimes you can be extra creative with your approach, which will be perfect for those players who like to do the likes of drop chandeliers on their enemies to kill them…
Of course, the game IS called Sniper Elite 5, so there is a heavy emphasis on sniping. The sniping feels better than ever, with the satisfaction of lining up that perfect shot, pulling the trigger, and then having the kill-cam glorify your gruesome pin-perfect shot feeling darkly fulfilling (it’s just a game, don’t worry). There’s a semblance of realism to taking shots, with players having to consider factors such as the distance, wind speed, and the bullet’s trajectory when firing – it makes pulling off those perfect head shots all the more rewarding, especially when you’ve carefully scouted out the area ahead of you and picked the perfect moment to actually take the shot.
Whilst your main objectives are clearly marked, the large and open environments leave plenty of room for exploration for players. Whilst this might be to find new vantage points or new routes to approach your objectives, there’s also the reward of hidden collectibles or workbenches to make upgrades to your weaponry. There are plenty of medals to unlock along the way too, whether that’s from completing certain tasks within levels or by mastering the different weapons of the game. Sniper Elite 5 certainly isn’t slim on content, with plenty on offer across its meaty campaign to keep players hooked in for hours.
Check out some screenshots down below:
There’s also the option to play the campaign in co-op with a friend, which adds a whole new dimension to the gameplay. Admittedly, I’ve not tried it so I can’t speak on it too much, but the idea of having one player infiltrate a base whilst the other provides support from afar with their sniper rifle is SUPER cool. Then there’s the new Invasion mechanic, which lets other players invade your game as a Nazi sniper to try and take you out. Much like its implementation in Deathloop and the Souls series, it’s a brilliant idea that gives players an extra challenge, but that also feels incredibly rewarding when you manage to take your rival out. And, of course, you can play the role of the invader if you like, and believe me, NOTHING beats taking out a player who’s mid-way through a mission. Alternatively, you can dive into some of the game’s more traditional multiplayer modes if you prefer, though they didn’t have the same appeal as the game’s campaign.
It’s clear then that Sniper Elite 5 gets lots and lots right with its gameplay, both with the quality of the gunplay and mission design. It also just so happens to look fantastic, with some wonderful environmental design on the PlayStation 5 that makes each level feel all the more immersive to explore. Whilst having invading forces in France is terrifying, it doesn’t make the country any less beautiful, with some truly picturesque sights to be seen thanks to the capabilities of the current-gen consoles. The game also utilises the DualSense controller in some really cool ways, with the haptic feedback adding an additional sense of atmosphere to the more dramatic sequences and the trigger resistance making each gunshot feel like it REALLY packs some punch. I know that Sniper Elite 5 being available on Xbox Game Pass will make it more appealing to Xbox Series X owners, but they’ll be missing out on some of the immersive extras that are only achieved with the DualSense controller.
I’ve just got heaps of praise to give the game, with it clearly the pinnacle of the series so far. Of course, there were a few things I wasn’t such a big fan of, such as the voice acting which could be a little iffy and some in-game animations which looked a bit clumsy when compared to everything else. It might be a PlayStation 5 title, but it’s clear that some aspects of the game’s visuals feel a little dated in design. The enemy AI could be a bit inconsistent too, with them sometimes noticing even the slightest of sounds I made when infiltrating a base, but then other times being oblivious to the obvious trail of death and destruction I left in my path. In fairness, these are small issues, but they were still noticeable during my time playing the game.
Sniper Elite 5 Review
Sniper Elite 5 is a fantastic release that blends together stealth, all-out action, and, of course, satisfying sniping into one heck of an enjoyable experience. Whether you’re sneaking through an enemy camp, blasting apart the skulls of Nazis from afar, or simply unleashing hell in blazing gunfights, you’re sure to have a great time playing through the game’s open and varied campaign – the fact that it’s carefully designed to allow players to approach it in their own playstyle just makes it sweeter.
Add to that the cool Invasion mechanics, the outstanding environmental design, and the multiplayer gameplay and it’ll become clear that Sniper Elite 5 is a very impressive shooter (especially on the PlayStation 5 where the DualSense controller is perfectly implemented). It does have a few little flaws here and there, but they don’t stop the game from being the best release in the Sniper Elite series to date.
Platform(s): PlayStation 5 (Reviewed), PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC