Title: Sniper Elite 5
Release Date: May 26, 2022
Reviewed On: PC
The Sniper Elite series has received numerous entries since its 2005 debut. Across these spin-offs and Nazi Zombies, there’s a thrilling third-person shooter experience waiting for fans. The series isn’t afraid to build on the success of its predecessors, and Sniper Elite 5 pushes this experience to new heights. Returning is the tactical sniper gunplay and x-ray kills, but added is a high level of freedom for players to take down Nazis in new and exciting ways.
Sniper Elite 5 introduces Karl Fairburne on a mission to meet up with the French resistance before D-Day 1944. The threat of a Nazi victory is approaching, but Karl isn’t about to sit back and let that happen. The campaign spans 8 missions and is full of twists, war crimes, and plenty of over-the-top action that is almost more than you’d expect from a game about sniping. There was work put into making the campaign flow regardless of whether you completed the side missions. You are in for a hyper-masculine treat during character interactions as these bruting characters fight against all odds. The supporting cast is also of note as added objectives expand on their resolve.
Depending on your approach to missions, the campaign can offer plenty of intense tactical moments across its semi-open world set pieces. This is also found in the game’s co-op mode, where players can divide and conquer objectives while setting up distractions or clearing a path for a pal. The entire game can be played like this, but I found the one-man-army approach to offer a bit more challenge. Other online elements revolve around players invading other’s games as a sniper. This can happen during normal gameplay and can even be turned off, but it definitely keeps you on your toes.
The environments across missions are well constructed with lush plant life and various ways to set up a lookout and take out targets. The game encourages you to take your time and explore, if not to complete side-missions, then to take out large groups of enemies from a distance. Similar to the freedom players have when navigating the areas, there are various ways to approach secret areas and objectives. For example, it’s possible to locate keys on fallen enemies or just simply blow up a locked door at the expense of being discovered.
Players will find a variety of grenades, bombs, and med-kits to pick up, but I wouldn’t say I liked the way they were organized. The equipment wheel is overly complex to a fault, as you can dive in and change ammo type and bombs to your heart’s content, but I was often lost as to whether or not I was actually equipping the items I selected. The tutorial walks you through all the icons and equipment, but with nearly every button on the controller being used, with extra use cases if you’re holding down the button or not, things can get a little messy during early missions.
Still, everything comes down to gunplay, and the game offers enough fine-tuning in its options to get the job done. While some of the camera work can feel floaty as you make your way through the closed-quarters spaces of hallways and bunkers, taking aim at a Nazi has never felt this good. You’re encouraged to take things slow as your health pool isn’t anything to write home about. So, getting spotted is practically a death sentence unless you run away.
Each gun has a degree of customization, with the barrel and stock of the gun being only the beginning of what players can mess around with. It’s fun to get lost in, especially after a few missions of unlocking additional options. This further encourages exploration, given that having the added control over your weapon may make encounters with other players land in your favor.
Sniper Elite 5 takes the online elements a step further with additional modes for players just wanting to show their skills. I’ll be honest and say I’m not the best, but the environments offer an entertaining playground for these online matchups to take place. Further, the cooperative modes of taking down waves of enemies were almost cathartic as you set up a position and held it. During these moments, you realize you are having a lot of fun with this game. Admittedly, it’s a bit mindless in its premise, but there’s just so much depth here that you can’t ignore its appeal.
A lot of work went into making this one of the prettier entries in the series. The character models were decent, and each level had a few notable set pieces that allowed them to stand out. Sadly, the AI will quickly remind you that you’re playing a video game, and stealth elements when inside a building are somewhat limited. This is a game about sniping, and playing it any other way may cause some frustration.
Sniper Elite 5 excels at being an entertaining experience with a high level of tactical challenge that matches the player’s engagement. It’s a game that delivers on everything it’s trying to provide and doubles down with excellent sniping mechanics, gun customization, and gorgeous environments. It can be a bit overly complicated in some areas, and the random AI glitches can hurt the immersion, but this is the best entry of the series to date, and I don’t see it slowing down any time soon.
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