Sniper Elite 5 refines what’s come from the Sniper Elite series before, with classic Nazi-crunching action and some deliciously open maps.
Shooting down waves of Nazis has been an integral part of the video game landscape for an extremely long time. Whether it’s the Wolfenstein games, which date back to the early 1980s, through to modern sensibilities of the Call of Duty games, it seems as though it’s always a good time to take down Nazis. That’s certainly something that Sniper Elite 5 succeeds in, with developer Rebellion providing players with another dose of fascist-head-popping action.
Sniper Elite 5 takes the Sniper Elite series to France, and long-time series protagonist Karl Fairburne is making his marksman skills extremely useful for the French Resistance. However, it’s not as straightforward as Fairburne first thinks, and it’s not long before a larger Nazi plot is uncovered: Operation Kraken. From that point on, Fairburne and the player look to foil Operation Kraken before it can truly start, and scratch off Kill List names along the way.
At its core, Sniper Elite 5 takes the key formula of the last handful of Sniper Elite games and refines it into a lean, mean strategic action game. Throughout a variety of open-ended levels, the player is given a selection of mission objectives and must use their scouting, stealth, and sniping abilities to bring the Nazi war machine to a halt. All the while, there’s also the added bonus of the franchise’s long-lauded Kill Cam, rewarding the player with an X-Ray view of the damage done to their fascist targets.
In essence, Sniper Elite 5 feels like a World War 2 Hitman game, with a similar emphasis on player patience and ingenuity, albeit without the variety that IO Interactive brings to the long-standing assassination simulator. There’s even the replayability that the Hitman series has, with the player customizing their loadout, unlocking new starting points, and with different options for taking down targets. The player is then rewarded if they pull off specific kills, like poisoning a meal or crushing someone under rubble.
This results in Sniper Elite 5 feeling a little more gamified than previous entries, but it works well for the Sniper Elite franchise. After all, it’s a series that works best when it leans into the pulp goof of its antics, whether through the gruff one-liners of Karl Fairburne or the slow-motion gore of its Kill Cam. Meanwhile, there’s also a FromSoftware-esque invasion system that can see another player drop into the game as a Nazi sniper, as well as cooperative and deathmatch multiplayer options.
One thing that’s very impressive about Sniper Elite 5 is its level design, and some of the open environments are truly great. Sniper Elite 5 excels when there’s verticality to its environments, providing the player with a mix of high buildings and cliff faces for target spotting and lower level mazes for stealth play. Perhaps the best example is a level that sees the player moving through an industrial area, where Fairburne’s vulnerability to close combat is really highlighted.
This all adds up to the best Sniper Elite game we’ve seen so far. Each and every stage has been meticulously designed, providing the player with ample room to work out their own strategies and take advantage of the game’s mechanics to provide a fantastic experience. It may be more limited than some of its peers – with a name like Sniper Elite, sniping is often the best route forward of course – but the gameplay loop has been distilled into something truly excellent.
There are a few areas where Sniper Elite 5 falls a little into the frustrating category. The autosave feature seems extremely trigger-happy – rare for a stealth-based game – meaning that the player will want to manually save often to avoid getting stuck in an autosave when they are already in a combat situation. There are also some odd glitches here and there, such as occasionally taking damage after completing a silent takedown and putting enemies on alert, or clipping problems.
Overall, Sniper Elite 5 is a truly enjoyable tactical action game. Sniping Nazis never gets old, and Rebellion has provided a brilliant platform to one again partake in one of video gaming’s oldest pastimes.
Sniper Elite 5 releases May 26, 2022 for PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S. Screen Rant was provided with a PS5 download code for the purposes of this review.
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