After four Sniper Elites and four Zombie Army games, Rebellion decided it wasn’t quite done having us kill Nazis. With the new setting in France, the open map exploration, and new invasion mode, Sniper Elite 5 aims to keep things fresh for a nearly two-decade old franchise. If you’ve played Sniper Elite, and more specifically the 4th installment, you know what you are getting into. Sniper Elite 5 doesn’t stray to far away from old formulas but it does make minor changes that enhance the experience.
Similar to the 4th game, Sniper Elite 5 keeps the open mission design. You are dropped in a map and it’s up to you on how you want to tackle it. You are given the main objective location, but to get the full experience you will want to deviate from the main path. Deviating will bring you to undiscovered side missions and assassination targets. You also get to find hidden workbenches that grant you new attachments for your guns as well. It does take the experience one step further by letting you discover two other locations in the map to start to mission at. These locations can help get to the assassination target or the main objective faster. It helps make replaying the mission feel fresher than just starting at the same spot each time.
As far as missions go, you aren’t going to find a ton of variety. Pretty much sabotage or kill is the objective, but the variety comes in the gameplay. Sniper Elite 5 sort of the ditches the elite sniping mentality for a more Hitman style sandbox. Most locations have multiple entry points that will give you different vantage points and different ways to complete the objective. For example, an objective like taking down a base can be done in two to three ways. You can get to the point and place a satchel charge, turn valves to increase pressure, or shoot a rocket. It keeps things interesting and makes you want to try out other paths.
One thing that stood out about the maps is that it does seem like you are more often close quarters rather than in the distance sniping. Don’t get me wrong, you’ll definitely be using your sniper of choice, but I had more kills with my pistol and knife in a couple of the maps. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it seems like the franchise is distancing itself more from long range kills. It is an odd feeling that every sniper vantage point has a very limited view and is only good for a few kills. Another thing about the maps is that even though they are fairly open, the game still does try to funnel you in specific ways. Whether it be giant walls or brush, there are enough obstacles that’ll annoy the crap out of you when you are running from one side to another.
Customization plays a much larger role in this game. Pretty much every aspect of each gun can be customized, but how you obtain the objects are a little more complicated. Scattered throughout the maps are workbenches that unlock new attachments for your guns. Once you do get them, it unlocks it for every weapon in that class. The cool thing about the attachments, is the change to your playstyle. The game shows you how loud your gun is and how quiet it is with different suppressors. There’s also other stats like damage and range you can mess around with, but there’s far more customization than you are use to seeing in a Sniper Elite game.
The big addition to Sniper Elite is the new invasion mode. Invasion mode allows you to have a human player join your game and play as a German sniper. It gives you an added element of surprise and makes hunting down Nazis even more difficult. It’s a very similar approach to being invaded in a souls game. Sniper Elite 5 does a good job of making sure the invasions don’t last too long. Players can use phones in bunkers and other areas to get the position on the other sniper. Also, if the computer spots the sniper, you are able to use that knowledge as the German sniper. For me, it’s an okay mode that throws in an interesting wrench in the plans. I’m not personally a big fan of those modes in any game, but I understand why people love it. It’s just not something I’m going to rave about to others. The couple matches I’ve played ended quickly with the other sniper sprinting through open roads and it wasn’t a very fun match.
Making a return is the survival mode. It’s nothing new, and it’s just a way to extend the game a little longer. You can play with 3 more players, but there are other games like Gears of War that have better survival mode options. It is really upsetting the overwatch missions (the missions where one player is a sniper in a higher vantage point and the other player is on the ground with a machine gun and pistol) didn’t make a return for Sniper Elite 5. That honestly was my favorite part of the 4th game. The competitive multiplayer also returns, and it’s pretty much more of the same. You can have a good time with it, but it probably won’t hook you in like other games on the market.
I did also want to point out I had a few very weird glitches in my game. There was a spot where my character never stopped with the falling animation. That only happened a couple of times though, and another one was that my weapons would sometimes reload infinitely. Sometimes picking up ammo would do the trick, otherwise it would continue to reloading circle and I was unable to use the gun. Nothing was that game breaking, but I did want to point it out.
All in all, Sniper Elite 5 is a solid game. It doesn’t revolutionize the 3rd person shooter franchise, but there is fun to be had here. I know that I absolutely love this franchise when I play it on co-op mode on authentic difficulty. I don’t care much about the invasion mode, but I can appreciate the inclusion and understand that others will love it. The open mission structure is great, but I do wish it focused more on sniping instead of being “assassin elite”. I think with the big maps it could be really fun getting to vantage points hundreds of meters away and lining up a perfect shot on an assassination target. Fans of Sniper Elite will surely think this is one of the better installments, and I also think new fans will appreciate the hard work Rebellion put in to making this game.