Sniper Elite 5 puts players back in the shoes of Karl Fairburne, a fictional American sniper who will stop at nothing to defeat the Nazi regime. From the team at Rebellion Developments, Sniper Elite 5 comes to PC and consoles on May 26th.
Sniper Elite 5, a third-person tactical sniping game, is part of a series that’s famous for its detailed x-ray kill cameras. In the latest iteration, players take control of Fairburne as he works to dismantle the Atlantikwall in northwestern France. Taking place in 1944, Sniper Elite 5 also brings in the French Resistance as Fairburne works with them to help clear the way for an Allied invasion of Europe to push back the Nazi advances. The task ahead for the Resistance and the Allies is daunting, and Sniper Elite 5 does an excellent job of showing the sheer difficulty of defeating the Nazi regime. Seeing just how beaten down the French Resistance has been drives home how vital Fairburne’s job is, and each mission takes on extra importance when you consider the many who have died to make freedom for France possible.
What I appreciate most about the story in Sniper Elite 5 is that it doesn’t attempt to blur the lines between who the good guys are and who the bad guys are. With every mission objective, it becomes clearer and clearer just how dangerous the Nazis are and how badly they need to be stopped. The portrayal of the French Resistance is also top-notch. While they may be beaten down and in an almost impossible situation, they never give up hope. Of course, while many of the specific elements are fictional events created for the game, it helps that this story is based on the real-life conflict between the Allies and the Nazis. In the same way that the French Resistance did not give up hope in their real-life battle, the fictional war in the game matches the same levels of desperation and hope.
The best part about Sniper Elite 5 is, hands down, the combat itself. There are few things out there in the world of video games as satisfying as killing Nazis, as many Nazis as your heart desires, with some genuinely gruesome x-ray camera shots showing the severity of the damage you cause. It never gets old to see time slow down as you land a perfect head or heart shot. The game actually became more entertaining the more I ended up killing. As the levels get more challenging, the reward of killing Nazis increases as well.
The challenge of Sniper Elite 5 is not necessarily in the difficulty of the levels themselves but in the myriad of options available. Each mission takes place in incredibly highly-detailed environments mainly based on real-life locations. Rebellion painstakingly replicated the various 1944 locales. That attention to detail presents players with various routes and plans as they work towards the main objective. As you choose your path, multiple secondary objectives will also appear based on your decision. The more of these you do, the higher the chance you could risk being discovered and eventually dying. While I wanted to do everything I could to sabotage the Nazis, I often debated whether or not to avoid particular side objectives because of how challenging the circumstances were.
On top of all the options to choose from in-game, there is also a large focus on weapon and loadout customization that can make or break a mission. Upgrades can affect the distance your shots are heard or the effectiveness at specific ranges. Spending time at the crafting bench figuring out the perfect loadout to help kill as many Nazis as possible is as intricate as it is rewarding. Seeing decisions pan out by making the mission easier is always a good feeling. Similar to a game like Hitman, it is also nice to be able to go back and replay old missions as you unlock more weapons and tools. Approaching even older missions with a new strategy or loadout keeps the levels feeling fresh regardless of how many times you play them.
While most of my time with Sniper Elite 5 was thoroughly enjoyable, not everything went as well as intended. For a game built around stealth, it was quite frustrating when my painstaking efforts to avoid detection were foiled by either my noise cover not working as intended or armor-piercing rounds not always penetrating when I expected. Of course, being discovered isn’t always a game-ender, but it still made for a really frustrating time. There were also a handful of bugs that left my guns stuck in an unending reload loop, which was fine when I could switch to another of my weapons but still was not optimal.
Sniper Elite 5 shines when it does what the series does best and lets you kill Nazis with unrelenting fury. You can be as strategic or guns-blazing as you’d like, and the number of options will have players coming back for more quite often. While some of the bugs were frustrating, I still really enjoyed my time with the game and can’t wait to spend time in co-op with friends once the game launches.
Sniper Elite 5
- Rating - 8.5/108.5/10
Sniper Elite 5 does what the series does best: letting you kill Nazis with unrelenting fury. You can be as strategic or guns-blazing as you’d like, and the number of options will have players coming back for more quite often.