After Karl Fairborn single-handedly began the Allied advance across North Africa and Italy, he now set his sights on France. In the spring of 1944, he was sent to the front to facilitate the invasion of France. With the help of the French Resistance, he faced – once again – a diabolical Nazi plan which he would of course get rid of.
It should be clear that Sniper Elite 5 does not explode with originality. The story is not much different from the one from the previous two games, and the setting feels very familiar. The series is based on the same foundation since Sniper Elite 3. Each mission takes place in a vast environment, where you decide how to approach each situation. In addition to the main objective, you will also gradually encounter side objectives. If you discover a high-ranking Nazi somewhere, don’t let him go.
The comparison with Hitman isn’t crazy. While Sniper Elite 5 doesn’t offer the nearly endless creative possibilities to kill your target as Hitman does, this is also a fairly slow game where you regularly look through your binoculars to explore the environment, before taking any action. Each action calls for caution, because one slip is enough to alert all German speakers in the area and then things get a little less fun.
Just like its predecessors, Sniper Elite 5 is at its best when you carefully explore the environment, find the perfect hole, exhale at the right moment and shoot a bullet through someone’s skull from a distance. Yes, the distinctive X-ray kill camera still harrowingly depicts how muscles, bones, and organs give way to your bullet.
With its slow pace, Sniper Elite 5 is definitely not a game for everyone, although a lot has been done to not intimidate players. With the flexible difficulty, you can make the game as realistic and challenging as you want. For example, you can choose to make the sniping itself very realistic. Then, wind and distance have a huge impact on the trajectory of your bullet, without your enemies instantly becoming relentlessly difficult.
Then it is determined how exactly you can see when you crawl or stand, how much time you have if an enemy threatens to see you, or how ambient noises such as a hopping machine or a plane hover over your shot masks. These clear rules ensure that you can quickly find your way around and then start working in a classy manner.
The effect of destruction (intentionally retarded) outside the walls of a large cathedral, for example, causes a lot of turmoil…but actually outside the walls of that big cathedral. Inside, you could then go about your business fairly undisturbed, according to a plan I had laid out very carefully when you were still on a hill in the distance, staring through binoculars.
It is precisely at such moments that “Sniper Jäger” completely turns the game on its head. Sniper Elite 5 offers an invasive multiplayer game where another player can invade your game at any time. We’ve of course seen such a mode in other games, but it also turned out to be completely identical to the Sniper Elite, precisely because you plan a lot and proceed with caution. Your plan is bound to be thrown into the trash if a human opponent suddenly walks among the Nazis, and caution alone is no longer sufficient to bring it to a successful conclusion. Sniper Jäger shakes up the whole game, forcing you to adapt and improvise.
Fortunately, the Sniper Elite 5 does not get bored quickly even without human resistance, despite the fact that the Sniper Jäger is the only significant innovation compared to the previous part. The game has more than enough variety to keep it fun for a long time. In one mission you lie in a vast French meadow and you can snipe to your heart’s content, in another you have to hack a Nazi fortress that is heavily guarded and you can use your silent pistol even more. Despite the game’s name, there are whole missions in which we’ve left the sniper rifle on our backs.
Also, with the option to play the entire campaign in a cooperative mode, as well as a traditional and competitive multiplayer, Sniper Elite 5 really has plenty of content to keep you entertained. It’s a shame that the game isn’t really a highly graphic flyer. Sometimes the game only displays beautiful images on your TV, and this is usually due to the rather dizzying lighting. Thanks to balanced HDR technology, details remain clearly visible in dark environments. This is a good thing, since you often have to hide in the shadows from guarding the Germans.
With that said, it’s all in the graphics field. Especially the faces, which are very reminiscent of molten wax shapes, do not do justice to the current generation of game consoles. There are also some graphic errors. Especially since capturing the enemy is not an easy thing.
On the other hand, Sniper Elite 5 is a traditional console game, without the hassle. There is no “performance” or “quality mode” where the player has to choose what they want to sacrifice, but only standard 60fps and 4K resolution. Call me old fashioned, but I appreciate the simplicity.
The dated graphics don’t detract too much from the experience. After all, Sniper Elite is not traditionally based on story or characters, and this is no different in this fifth installment. In this area, there is certainly an opportunity for developer Rebellion to really rise above itself with the next part, but for now it is enough just to put out another sharp-shooting sniper game.
Sniper Elite 5 will be available on May 26 for PC, PlayStation 4, 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and S. For this review, the game was played on Xbox Series X.
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