Rebellion Developments has hit us with another game in the Sniper Elite series, with the appropriately named Sniper Elite 5. This is the third Sniper Elite game that I have played, beginning with Sniper Elite 4 and Rebellion Development’s spin off Zombie Army 4. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with both games, even though I had some small gripes with some game play elements, and was very excited to get my hands on Sniper Elite 5. How does Sniper Elite 5 hold up to it’s predecessors? Let’s dive into our full review of the game to find out.
Sniper Elite 5 takes place in 1944 in France. You play as the series’ protagonist, Karl Fairburne, who is working with the Allies to help put a stop to varies Axis secret operations. In this case, you are tasked to infiltrate various Nazi installations to discover the details of Operation Kraken, Hitler’s plan for the invasion of North America. Each mission begins with one specific story goal, this goal fitting into the overall story surrounding Operation Kraken and Fairburne’s actions to put a stop to it. As you move through the maps, you will discover secondary and tertiary goals, which will include assassinating key Nazi’s for the SOE (Special Operations Executive), or other objectives like removing radar installations to support the D-Day invasion or finding hidden stolen art in a large chateau.
The story line for Sniper Elite 5 is intriguing enough to keep one interested, even though it is completely fabricated for this game. The pacing for the story feels like the other Sniper Elite games, you get dropped into a map with one objective and it is up to you to figure out how to solve that objective, and to locate any or all other optional objectives to complete. Once you have completed the primary objective, then you are ready to exfiltrate and do it all again in another map. Sniper Elite 5 does have cutscenes to help the story along, but the majority of the story is told through action and how you play the map.
The characters in Sniper Elite 5 are interesting and fit the narrative well, though can be seen as stereotypical in some aspects. Fairburne is what you would usually think of as your hardened WW2 super soldier (no not that super soldier). He’s tough, never smiles, and gets right to the point. Other characters round out other roles in the game, for instance Marie Chevalier plays the typical angry French resistance soldier and your SOE contact in France is Charlie Barton, a black Irish woman who landed in France first to help gather intel. I would love to see more character development in these types of games, it’s what makes us care more about the story and character, but I also understand that there are a lot of people that don’t really play this game for character driven narrative. Overall, the plot and characters to a good job to tell the story, but it could be so much deeper and more interesting then just playing off of typical WW2 tropes.
But you didn’t load up Sniper Elite 5 for the story, you loaded it up for what it is known for, tactical third person shooting and x-ray sniper shots. Let me put you to ease and let you know that both are still in Sniper Elite 5, and are honestly better then ever.
As I said earlier, you are dropped of in each mission with one key objective and your loadout, which can be customized as you progress through the game. Your loadout consists of one rifle, one smg, and one pistol, each of which is completely customizable as long as you can find the specific workshop for each weapon on the map. The name of the game in Sniper Elite 5 is exploration. This is how you will find these workshops, alternative starting points, the other objectives, and collectibles you need to master each map.
The maps in Sniper Elite 5 are huge and detailed! Once of the biggest improvements between 4 and 5 is the updated graphics and detailed maps. The maps feel much more complete then they did in 4. This will help push you to explore and to look for different routes to your objective, but also to keep an eye on each nook and cranny for more intel and optional objectives. The only negative I see with the size of these maps is, for me, I loose my patience and start to run a little more or not look as closely when crossing the road the more I play a map, which inevitably leads to many Nazis seeing me and raising many alarms.
The sniping in this game feels even more tighter then it did in 4. This is where the game really shines. Your sniper rifle is fully customizable, as I mentioned above, so you should feel very comfortable with your loadout as it is tailor made to how you play. Some scopes have varies levels of zoom, while others only have one, and the scopes also have range finders to help zero in your shot. You can hold your breath to tighten up your shot, then when you are ready, pull the trigger. If you are on target, you will be treated to one of Sniper Elite 5’s x-ray kills that shows you exactly what you just did you that soldier. Planning your shot around other sound sources will also help hide your shot from other soldiers in the area, or you can customize your weapon to add in subsonic rounds or a suppressor.
Sniper Elite 5 also comes with 3 other game play modes that may interest you, if the standard campaign does not. There is the typical multiplayer mode, where you can go it solo or with a team in various types of matches on much better designed multiplayer maps then 4, there is a co-op horde mode where you must defend a point against waves of Nazis, and there is a cool new feature called Axis Invasion, where you can invade another person’s campaign as an Axis sniper, adding in a new level of stress. Out of all of these options, I loved the Axis Invasion one the best as it felt more like invading a player in Dark Souls. With the maps being so large, it makes it a fun cat and mouse type of mode.
Sniper Elite 5 is more of Sniper Elite 4 but with better graphics, better sniping physics, better maps, and more customization. The core game play has remained unchanged, but everything else surrounding that game play has been given a nice upgrade. If you liked Sniper Elite 4, then you will like Sniper Elite 5. If you are new to the series, then this is a great place to start. Sniper Elite 5 isn’t perfect, but it is a fun game to play. I ran into some glitches on occasion, but nothing game breaking, and I did find that the large maps would lead me to play more run and gun the longer I played on a map. I would be so focused on the sneaky sniper aspect for the first hour or so, then just get impatient then tommy gun every Nazi I saw until I got away. Overall, I highly recommend Sniper Elite 5 and would recommend this game over the others as it is the most up to date and has the best game play of any game in the series. Sniper Elite 5 is available now on Steam.