Sniper Elite is a series so confident in its execution that Rebellion doesn’t really need to reinvent the wheel. The latest instalment, Sniper Elite 5, takes the gravel-voiced Karl Fairburne and his immaculately shaped short-back-and-sides to Nazi-occupied France, where he uncovers a MacGuffin plot called Operation Kraken which threatens to turn the tides of the Second World War. Armed with his trusty rifle and unwavering willpower, the seasoned veteran embarks on yet another one-man crusade to halt the Axis – one pair of bollocks at a time.
While the core gameplay remains tried-and-true, the release’s eight sandbox stages are denser than they’ve ever been. There’s no doubt the British developer has been peeking at Hitman’s playbook, and the result is a versatile military crusade that shines in repeated playthroughs. Take the gorgeous Beaumont-Saint-Denis stage, for example, which has been inspired by the real-life tidal island of Mont-Saint-Michel. This architectural wonder is bursting with gameplay opportunities, spanning underground infiltration points to turrets that provide devastating sightlines – exactly how you approach is up to you.
The result is missions that have taken this author upwards of two hours to complete, and that’s without even doing everything there is to do. As you explore the surprisingly vertical environments, you’ll discover intelligence and briefs which can help inform your approach – and while there isn’t quite the same number of assassination options as Agent 47 has at his fingertips, you’ll be surprised by some of the possibilities, which include dropping chandeliers and overloading blast furnaces. The game’s missions are intended to be played over and over, with co-op and a new Axis Invasion mechanic – where rival snipers infiltrate your game online – adding to the replayability.
Of course, beneath the intricately designed sandboxes and cartoon killcams, the game’s beating heart rests with its gunplay. As you’d expect, bullet ballistics are once again taken into account, meaning you’ll need to account for gravity, wind, and weather before popping enemies in the eyes. A dense suite of customisable difficulty options mean you can determine exactly how realistic you want the bullet ballistics to be – and difficulty can be tailored across a variety of different elements. This means if you want deeply realistic gunplay, for example, but easier to manage stealth gameplay, then you can. It’s entirely up to you how you want to play.
This extends to infiltration points and areas of interest. You can enable options which will guide you around the surprisingly large levels, helping you to locate specific sections that will aid you in your mission – or you can go in blind and find them for yourself. The sheer scalability of the experience is a selling point, and when paired with the immense scope of the gameplay variety – spanning traditional third-person shooter all the way through to stealth simulation – it should appeal to a variety of demographics.
The game is a serious looker, too, with photogrammetry used to create some truly authentic scenery. A distinctly Parisian soundtrack helps enhance the presentation, although some mechanics like climbing lack the precision of more polished third-person shooters. The camera can also be a little loose, although we quickly adjusted to this after tinkering with the settings for a few minutes.
One neat trick is how the title takes advantage of the DualSense controller. You can toggle between third-person and first-person aiming options for all weapons, but while this is a button prompt on other platforms, Rebellion has used the PS5’s adaptive triggers to create a pressure point to differentiate between the two perspectives. It takes a little getting used to but it’s a smart inclusion which allows you to quickly transition between the two unique viewpoints. Haptic feedback is also well-implemented, allowing you to “feel” nearby sound masks, like planes flying overhead and generators whirring nearby.
While the campaign is thoroughly entertaining, the developer still hasn’t solved some age-old problems, like the fact that you can get totally overwhelmed after a simple mistake. Obviously the title encourages stealth, but it absolutely punishes any minor slip-up, and you will find yourself relying on regular saving unless you’re an elite operative. The aforementioned difficulty tuning can help alleviate this problem, but just be aware that the release is particularly penalising unless you’re permanently on-point. As a consequence, of course, slipping in-and-out of a level unnoticed is euphoria inducing.
There’s a progression through-line between all of the game’s modes, which extends to ribbons, medals, and cosmetic unlocks. A robust customisation suite allows you to tinker with your arsenal down to minute details like recoil recovery speed, and we suspect firearm enthusiasts will get a particular kick out of this. The online multiplayer suite includes a wave-based survival option and competitive skirmishes, in addition to the aforementioned Axis Invasion.
The Axis Invasion is a fantastic inclusion, which adds an entertaining layer to the campaign, but does come with some caveats. Effectively, when enabled, elite snipers from all around the world will be able to infiltrate your game, with their goal being to sniff you out and take you down. There’s a reward track attached to incentivise the mode, and the German soldier comes with unique perks, like the ability to influence AI allies. But while it’s fantastic fun, and genuinely adds replayability to the campaign levels, some oversights – like the ability to overhear Karl Fairburne’s commentary – stack the odds in the favour of the invader, and will need to be patched.
You can, of course, also play the entirety of the campaign with a friend – and an invader will need to take out both players in that case – while there’s a separate, horde-style co-op mode for up to four players which is as entertaining as you’d expect. The package is rounded out with a competitive multiplayer suite, which emphasises long sightlines and ranged combat rather than up-close Call of Duty-style combat. One neat trick is that it encourages snipers to move from their nest by offering multipliers to those who maintain killstreaks and relocate, which complements the gameplay style. In our opinion, the co-op and Axis Invasion modes are the highlights, but with crossplay available the competitive multiplayer should find an active audience.
Sniper Elite 5 knows exactly who it’s aimed at, and Rebellion is on target as always. The developer’s dense French sandboxes are hugely replayable, and look fantastic to boot. There are some sloppy gameplay mechanics, like the climbing and twitchy camera, but these are easy to forgive. A wide array of difficulty options mean both super-agents and rookies can eke something out of this title, and with the release accommodating so many different play styles, it represents a real bullet to our heart – or should that be balls?
Eagerly awaiting the score!
I hate games that do nothing new or interesting.
Sounds great, can't wait to play it tomorrow. Have loved every entry so far, more of the same but with new sand box maps is all I need.
@Bismarck It does have some big new ideas like the Axis Invasion feature, I just haven't been able to properly test it yet. Review will be updated in a few days.
@Bismarck That's like 95% of games, but you do you
@Bismarck. When they change it.you will complain like the rest of them.oh its not sniper elite anymore🤔.wtf.come on. Sniper elite 5 is amazing. Easily a 9 out of 10 for me.word up son
@playstation1995 no one would have complained if the final product was good.
I don't even need to know the score, this is a day one purchase for me. I have gone for the Deluxe Edition.
I am so fed up with Sony, their prices and strategy and the fact they won't embrace Dolby and pay for Dolby licensing that I've gone to the dark side... I've bought an Xbox.
I am going to be playing Sniper Elite 5 tomorrow morning at 08.01am via gamepass. I've already pre-loaded the game.
"A largely familiar format" It's a pass for me then, I grew bored from the formula a long time ago.
Glad to hear that the reviewer enjoyed it though
Nah @playstation1995 has a point, the new assassin's creed games are great games (see review scores) but are in no way an assassin's creed game.
I appreciate any game that lets me kill Nazis.
@Woogy cool story bro
"one pair of bollocks at a time"
@Bismarck. But it is good. Its getting a lot of good reviews.so wtf you talking about.🤔.word up son
@Woogy Literally has nothing to do with the review, but thanks for letting us know.
It doesn’t really have to change. Glad it’s sticking to what it does best.
The sentence “Armed with his trusty rifle and unwavering willpower, the seasoned veteran embarks on yet another one-man crusade to halt the Axis – one pair of bollocks at a time” makes this possibly my favourite review ever. We all know why we play sniper elite and it’s not for the headshots 😂😂😂
Never played one of these… seriously considering changing that though.
Eurogamer gave it an Essential. I’m excited.
still have realy fond memories of the sniper elite 3 MP.
if this one has the same popular playerbase it should be fun.
I got it early yesterday. Have played about 45 minutes, so I can't speak too much on level design and such but while it is essentially the same, gameplay feels so oddly different in this one, e.g. the aiming. Also, I don't know yet whether the new ammo options and more customization really adds anything. But I have a feeling I will still like it.
Mine arrived today (PS5).
Will be playing the hell out of it later
This has been my most anticipated game for months and I’m glad to read that it’s reviewing well. Tomorrow is my day off work and I already have the game pre-installed and ready to go on my XSX.
@lolwhatno they are great in your opinion. For me they are good for wasting time and nothing more.
@get2sammyb I live to give
@Bismarck I'm talking about the general consensus here....
Pure Xbox gave it 9/10 😆🤫
After playing Zombie Army 4 I’m not surprised how well this game gone down.
Brilliant to see a season developer like Rebellion knock this out of the park 👍🏻
I've got it pre-ordered and eagerly awaiting a co-op session with a friend tomorrow. Got a lot of time for this company. They've not let me down so far.
Already playing it, it's great. Can't go wrong here if you liked the series so far
I mean to be fair there is only so much you can really do with this type of gameplay. What else were you expecting?
@Serialsid What game of the series would you recommend to someone who never played any of the games?
I know that I will enjoy it but I don't think I can play more than one game?
Thank you in advance.
From the sound of it this game is probably the best starting off point. As it apparently has the most refined gameplay and in terms of plot the games are all very standalone aside from minor references. If you don't want to spend full price, you can usually nab the 4th game for pretty cheap.
Sloppy controls, terrible cutscenes with the accompanying juvenile story writing aka budget as hell as per usual. Sign me up 😆
@BReal lol i agree..sometimes games dont have to be 100% perfect to be enjoyable..some of my all time fave games have suffered from imperfections but have always been brilliant..
Just wished they improved the shooting mechanics a bit. When you hold your breath the camera zooms in further which means all your reference points are gone and the only way to get a hit without the yellow diamond assistance is just to wing it.
Hope they make a VR version for PSVR2.
10/10 (imho) If you love SE3 and SE4 you will definitely love Sniper Elite 5. Well, I do anyway.
@Dr-M well sniper elite v2 remastered is a good entry point and was on offer(not sure if it still is) the other day. But like most series, they have gotten better over time so sniper elite 4 is the best one to play before trying 5. You can get it cheap on ebay.
this game series is awsum, xray shots do not get old!
many interesting ways to kill the enemies, love the story and plot each game release is the same simple and best. been playing these since the first one.
@Dr-M I'd pick up Sniper Elite V2 Remastered. My personal favorite of the series.
8/10 for this brain cell destroying, poorly designed, embarrassingly written game? I can't speak for anyone else, but I will never read a review posted on this site again. Disgraceful.
I haven't played it but I've watched quite abit and if you told me it was sniper elite 2 or 3 id believe you honestly looks quite bad imo, bit surprised by score but it's all about opinions.
@Bismarck nobody will miss you
Does it look like a next gen game? No.
Is it fun? Damn right it is.
Id go a solid 7 or 8/10
I think it’s a breathe of fresh air, as it doesn’t take itself too seriously 🤩
@Spoonman-2 99% of modern games, movies and tv shows don't take themselves seriously. Sniper Elite 5 is the opposite of 'Breath Of Fresh Air'. I am shocked that you even used that phrase.
As a long time player that's completed them all and the dlc's I'm loving it ,yes it's the same as the rest with a few changes but that's what I love they build on a already loved game series and will play as long as Thier pumping out sequels
Even the small glitches are funny for me eg a ladder on the war factory level won't allow you to climb it but u can slide down it ,you start to climb it and it slides u down ,I'm sure they will fix it eventually but not a big game changing problem
@Bismarck it’s the exact same game they all are too, literally. Some games they crucify for this (Farcry for example) other games like this they say it’s cool. Just like with their users on here they play favourites and don’t exclude personal preference and bias from their reviews which is a massive part of being a professional organisation
Quick question about axis invasion - when enabled does it tell you that your game has been invaded?
Loving the game but my god it's tough in places.
If I learn something, it is that games that debut on one subscription service are eventually given out free to other subscription services or sold very cheap- like Street of Rage 4 or Hades. Hence I never buy them at launch.
Currently playing on Xbox GP, will buy on PS5 too when the price goes down a bit 🤠
Typical Xbox Gamepass game. 90% recycled and 10% new for the undemanding people who need their daily food. Bon appetit nom nom lol
@ORO_ERICIUS Strange that both PlayStation games released this year follow your formula. And one of them is featured in your avatar.
Not a single mention of the coop mode? It's by far the most interesting thing about it!
@NeThZOR I love racing games so nothing whats wrong there imo. Other than that you are right. Almost every game released this year is a remaster or is recycled. Boring... just boring.
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