Sniper Elite 5 is the fifth instalment in the franchise which once again has you play as gravel-voiced sniper Karl Fairburne, using your specific set of skills to thwart the Nazi project known as Project Kraken by means of exploding the heads, lungs, hearts, and testicles of enemy soldiers in whatever way you see fit.
For anyone familiar with the series, you know what to expect. Beautifully disgusting kill-cams, stealth gameplay, and a decently long and varied campaign mode. It has everything you knew and loved from the previous games and given them a bit of a tweak.
The graphics are impressive and the environments you get to explore are vast and are very well realised. The enemy character models look like you would expect from a current-gen machine. They are rich and nicely varied in appearance. However, the cut-scenes are not quite as impressive and can look a little jarring when compared to the in-game experience.
But we all know what you are here for: The X-ray kill cams. I am pleased to say that they make their return, and they are as grotesque and visceral as ever before. It is unbelievably satisfying to watch your bullet leave your gun, traverse 500m and watch it explode a Nazi testicle. It is as fun as it sounds. They have upped the ante with the way in which the bullets destroy whatever body part they meet, with every kill feeling unique with regards to how the enemy reacts. If I had one quibble, sometimes when the camera reverts to normal gameplay, the wounds on the soldiers do not match the animation during the kill cam, but that is nit-picking.
The movement controls can at times feel just a little clunky when vaulting or climbing. There are times when a place or area, which looks easily reachable, is surrounded by an invisible barrier that prevents you from scaling a wall, the size of which you have leapt over countless times at different stages of the game.
I Did Nazi That Coming
The enemy AI is also a little erratic. Sometimes, it is possible to snipe an enemy in full view of his comrade without any reaction, other times you will get spotted from an impossible distance and no matter how much hiding you do, an alarm will get triggered. It also at time be a little too easy to lose a team of enemies who are hunting you down. Conversely, at other times it might be impossible to shake them. The uncertainty of how effectively they will hunt you down can sometimes make all your pre-planning moot. That can be frustrating if you have spent an hour sneaking around trying to get to a certain point.
You’re not limited to stealth though if you are not a fan of sniping (and if that is the case, why did you pick a game called Sniper Elite 5?). There is a choice to go in all guns blazing and use your customisable machine guns, grenades, landmines, and a host of other weapons that may take your fancy. You can boobytrap generators, place satchel charges, use parts of the environment as a trap or even plant a grenade on an enemy, timed to explode as their body gets discovered.
There are also quite a few options as to how you go about your missions, with various paths to glory available to you, depending on your preferred play style. It is a nice blend of open-world and linear. You know what you ultimately must do, but you do not have to go in the easiest or most obvious direction.
Stealth and Safety Training
Sniper Elite 5’s campaign can be played solo or through Co-op which is always a great option. It can make some of the longer and more difficult missions a lot more fun.
Survival mode allows you to pick off waves upon waves of enemies as they try to reach you. It’s very good and can get quite intense, quite quickly
There are also more traditional multiplayer modes such as Deathmatches, Team Deathmatches, Squad Matches and No Cross. These modes, while capable, are not the high point of Sniper Elite nor should they be. If people want a multiplayer shooter with assault rifles and pistols, they’d be best looking elsewhere.
Rebellion has not tried to re-invent the wheel with Sniper Elite 5, but that is a good thing.
It is a solid, thoroughly enjoyable stealth shoot-em-up which furthers the already great reputation the franchise has built.