Also On: PS4, PC, Xbox Series, Xbox One
Sniper Elite is a series that other developers need to take some notes from. They found a formula that works, and have made it exponentially better over time, but they hold true to the motto of ?If it ain?t broke, don?t fix it?. While the overall enhancement to the systems has morphed, the series’s core feeling and gameplay has stuck around through all 8 (There were 3 spin-off games with Zombies) releases. Beautiful as ever X-Ray cams, smooth gameplay that can be as challenging as you desire, and a new functionality for multiplayer makes Sniper Elite 5 stand out as both the best that the series has to offer, and a game that feels as familiar and consistent as ever.
Let me start off by focusing what everyone who comes to Sniper Elite 5 is looking for. For the unfamiliar, Sniper Elite?s big gimmick that makes it stand out is the fact that often when you shoot an enemy, your camera will detach from the player and follow the bullet through the air in slow motion. You get to watch an X-Ray camera as the bullet passes through your target and breaks bones and organs. Yes, the X-Ray cams are just as good as ever, with enhancements on the formula that make them happen in more scenarios and with more focus and detail than previously. Grenades, bullets, knives, mines will give you detailed close-ups of every little bit of damage dealt.
The usual formula offered by Sniper Elite remains, with heavy customization on how often you want to see the kill cams and a myriad of toggleable options. If you don?t want to deal with all the hassles of the difficulties and logistics of sniping, you can turn off wind and bullet drop, as well as various other functions like how your heart rate affects your aiming stability or how being shot shakes the screen. On the flip side, if you want more of a challenge, turn off the game?s assisted aiming function present on Normal difficulty and solve how to handle your long range shots on your own with wind measurements and distance scaling. There?s no wrong way to play Sniper Elite 5, but there are a lot of different ways.
Sniper Elite 5?s story is nothing to write home about, but it?s fine. The campaign involves you trying to stop a Nazi plot to destroy America, and it?s not exactly the most dramatic of stories. The campaign of Sniper Elite has never really been the draw, and it mainly serves as a reason to line several hundred Nazis up in front of your sniper scope and tear through them. The story being weak isn?t really a concern with what the game is trying to give you, don?t think too much about it, just keep mowing through the enemies. There?s honestly not much to say about it, because I?m having a hard time remembering the details of it 2 days after completion. What I do remember is all the beautiful scenery and bullet cam shots.
Sniper Elite 5 does include a new mechanic that is pretty interesting in the campaign, and that is the function of invading other players games. You can join into another person?s game as the sniper Jager, whose only goal is to stop the player. It maintains the full open-ish world area available, and neither of you know where the other is at at any given moment, save for a few lifelines the game throws each of your ways. There are phones around the map that can be used to show the other?s current location, but it?s a one moment blip that does not maintain a live view. It helps in narrowing down the hunt, but not to actually point you right to each other. It?s a fun little game of cat and mouse that helps add some good variety to the campaign as you play through. I had one invasion per level I experienced, and the ones where I did lose, it only set me back a short distance, so there?s not a huge loss if you?re defeated. It mostly serves to give some spice to the game, and it does it well.
If you?ve played previous Sniper Elite games, you already know if you?re going to like Sniper Elite 5. If you haven?t, I can?t recommend it enough, as well as the previous entries. The quality is consistent all the way back to the first entry, and it?s a ton of fun. Don?t forget to check out the Nazi Zombie Army games as well. As I mentioned at the beginning of the review, Rebellion knows the meaning of ?if it ain?t broke, don?t fix it?, and they?ve used that to pump out a series of great games. If you?re on Xbox or PC, Sniper Elite 5 is on Xbox Gamepass, so I would absolutely recommend checking it out if you already have membership.
Note: Rebellion provided us with a Sniper Elite 5 PS5 code for review purposes.