Review – Sniper Elite 5

Hitting the target

Courtesy of the folks at developer and publisher Rebellion, I’ve been taking a look through Sniper Elite 5. The latest in a long-running franchise, I’ve been exceptionally excited about this one, having thoroughly enjoyed all of the Sniper Elite titles since V2 released back in 2012. As usual, here you can find our full video review, extended written review and our common-sense parent’s guide for Sniper Elite 5.

The Basics

In this the fifth instalment into the Sniper Elite franchise, we return once again to take control of our hero Karl Fairburn. Initially dropped behind enemy lines to weaken the Nazi “Atlantikwall” fortifications, the mission soon goes awry (there’s a surprise). Meeting up with the local French resistance, you’ll undercover the Nazis’ secretive Operation Kraken. Kraken leads players on an adventure through nine expansive locations, allowing you to choose your own playstyle and tactics.

Sniper Elite 5 doesn’t only look to extend the franchise by adding new story, and there are a number of welcome new features in this iteration of the title. To start with, a number of the locations in game have been captured using photogrammetry, allowing Rebellion to base levels on real-world locations, accurate to historical photography. This has made the various locations feel expansive and immersive, as well as providing a variety of ways to approach each target.

Players can also traverse these locations much more freely within Sniper Elite 5. New mechanics include the ability to utilise zip lines, handy for escaping a compromised sniper’s nest or bell tower. In addition, players can now shippy along ledges as well as climb trailing vines. These new abilities work together to allow much more freedom in how you approach each level.

Photogrammetry has provided some exceptionally immersive levels

The new Invasion game mode is one of my favourite new features. This new mode places you as a specialist German sniper, and allows you to invade the campaign missions of other players. Similar to Dark Souls invasions, Sniper Elite allows you to turn this feature on or off within your campaign gameplay. Invasion provides a great opportunity for stealthy and tactical one-on-one multiplayer, and as the German sniper you’ll work alongside NPC characters to track and eliminate the player’s Karl Fairburn as they attempt to complete the mission.

Players can also now team up with a friend in two-player co-op through the whole campaign. In addition to further multiplayer modes including cooperative survival and adversarial PvP matches, there’s a lot of multiplayer to get stuck onto in this new addition into the Sniper Elite franchise.

Within the campaign, players are also able to customise rifles, SMGs and pistols using workbenches hidden within each level. Finding these workbenches (three within each location) will allow players to unlock and swap out various stocks, barrels, sights and more, to customise their experience. Each new unlock brings pros and cons, and you’ll have to spend a little time looking over each in order to build your perfect weapon.

The kill-cam shots are unwaveringly satisfying

Parent’s Guide

Rating: Adult Only

Sniper Elite 5 is rated by PEGI at 16 and above and by the ESRB as a Mature 17+. Sniper Elite brings back the well-loved kill-cam, which now also extends to knife, SMG and pistol kills as well. Each shot in Sniper Elite can now bring this in-depth view, with new mechanics meaning that bullets will rip and tear in more detail. There’s also language to consider as well as many online modes, and overall we’re saying this one is for Adults Only, from around the age range suggested by the PEGI and ESRB warnings.

Accessibility

Rating: Low Barrier

In terms of accessibility, Sniper Elite 5 has a decent number of difficulty options, and while the levels are expansive it’s still relatively easy to drop in and out. It’s still not the easiest in terms of aiming, but good hints and guides do make it relatively accessible.

Stealth plays a big (and welcome!) part, as ever

The Run Down

Visuals – Good: I’ve been playing through Sniper Elite 5 on both PC and Xbox Series X. In both cases the visuals for environments are pretty great, and each level provides a realistic battle ground, often modelled on real-world locations. Character models could do with a little polish here and there on all platforms, which is especially noticeable during cutscenes. Overall, while the close-up views of characters’ faces leaves a little to be desired, things do work well, and the new kill-cam mechanics are definitely worth a look if you’re a fan of the more gory side of Sniper Elite.

Audio – Outstanding: Sniper Elite 5 brings the usual fantastic musical score and I need it to be made available on Spotify as soon as possible. The voice acting holds up well in cutscenes and also works nicely in game to give you a steer and potential clues as to what’s happening. The weapon effects are well executed, and the sounds for Sniper Elite’s close-up kill cam are suitably nasty.

Narrative – Outstanding: The franchise has a history of solid narratives and Sniper Elite 5 is no different. I have really enjoyed the story within this one, and as well as having it front and centre within cutscenes and missions briefings, there’s a fair amount to discover in collectables as well.

From the first bullet, I was pretty sure I was going to enjoy this year’s Sniper Elite

Replay – Outstanding: Sniper Elite 5 really shines when it comes to replay value. Even played alone, the solo campaign covers roughly 20 hours, or a little more if you’re anything like me. Added to this the various multiplayer modes, and this one has significant value. The availability of co-op gameplay throughout the whole campaign is very welcome, as is the new Invasion mode which will tickle anybody who enjoys trying to screw over other (consenting) players. Survival and adversarial multiplayer on top of this, as well as a significant number of collectables on each level, means that there’s always something to come back for.

The Verdict

Pixel Bandits Achtung Headshot Level for Sniper Elite 5 is Outstanding. Sniper Elite has been a long-term love of mine for around ten or so years, and it’s great to see it improving over time. The new story is excellent and in truth I would probably have enjoyed Sniper Elite even without the new features. The pistol, SMG and knife killcam provides a nice little touch, and the locations brought to life with photogrammetry have been exceptionally immersive. I’m awful at it, but the new Invasion mode (where I’ve been killed by the player far more times than I’ve managed to stop their mission) has been a genuinely enjoyable PvP experience as well.

The net mechanics to allow you to zip, shimmy, slide and climb your way through the nine expansive levels is also very welcome and (potentially due primarily to this) I’ve felt much more free in this iteration of the franchise, and able to approach levels as I like. If you’re a fan of the previous titles, Sniper Elite 5 brings enough of the old to keep it familiar, while adding enough new to give fans a reason to go out and grab this one as soon as possible.

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