Updated: Jun 16, 2022
As humanity has brought many good things to this world such as videogames, KFC’s 11 herbs and spices and 95% of the MCU (we don’t talk about Eternals). There have also been many low points for the human race, a big one being war. Even today we still deal with the fallout of past wars and the same mistakes are still made, crafting situations that lead to the destruction of lives. WWII was without a doubt a bad time, and the reality of this time period was both tragic and full of hardship.
However, if there’s a group of people that developers love killing more than anything it’s the Nazis, which the Sniper Elite series is famous for. So, join me now as we delve into the latest entry, Sniper Elite 5.
Joining American hotshot Karl Fairburne yet again, Sniper Elite 5 takes us to a new setting within the harsh times of WWII and lets the player cut loose in more well-crafted missions. The formula here is very identical to SE4, however, the additions are what stand out here and cut this new entry above the rest. For starters the mission includes story cutscenes with various characters both with and without Karl, much like Hitman’s story is crafted. The scenes don’t steal from what the formula of SE is as they are short, skippable and only serve to strengthen the writing of our protagonist and his enemies. They also serve to provide a narrative on the endgame of Karl’s mission, as well as provide context on side missions available on each map.
Jumping into the actual gameplay, as I said before much is the same here as SE4 with the general controls and navigation being identical. With a new setting comes new opportunities and the lush coastal countryside of Italy is a very good place to start. Aside from pushing the next generation consoles to provide a beautiful setting, the way that characters and enemies act serves to enhance the narrative. Sneaking through villages and towns to enter heavily guarded castles with secret rooms and hidden doors. Using the sounds of the very weapons used to kill your comrades to mask the sound of a shot that will turn the tide of a battle. The world is one of the biggest changes and how you affect that world feels much heavier here.
To move on to the general changes and differences thrown in, Karl now was the ability when focusing on a target to learn about them. Although not explained within the game, upon highlighting an enemy through binoculars or through the scope you will be given a short biography on a snippet of this enemy’s life. This does serve to humanise the men you could very easily kill as you learn about the highs and lows of their current situation either within or outside of the war. While many still choose to fight and kill as many enemies as possible the game does attempt to push you to stealth as a sniper.
Both styles of gameplay, loud or quiet, are given the ammunition needed. With workbenches located at multiple points on each map, you can set Karl up with the equipment that he needs. With various ammo types that can push for stealth or damage included, this can be a good time regardless of play style.
Finally, I need to discuss the multiplayer, which does lead with the return of Co-op which was a good time in previous entries and still is. The real game-changer is the ‘Axis Invasion’ mechanic which is arguably the selling point of this entry. Upon mission set up you will be asked if you want this setting turned on and I cannot recommend it enough. Axis Invasion allows you to be infiltrated by an enemy player at any time whilst prowling the countryside of Italy.
This position flip will turn you from the hunter to the hunted and will serve to provide a massive challenge depending on the invading players' skill level. Through the use of intel and stealth, you can overpower or assassinate your opponent in anything from an unaware shot from afar to a shotgun to the face. This pressure that is added to an already overwhelming situation of 1 vs 100 makes a massive difference to the experience. Although I never got a kill on an invader, I enjoyed the cat and mouse game and came close once or twice.
With all that being said, this is a great experience that provides just as much freedom if not more than previous entries. With the additions of the Axis invasion and customisation of weapons Sniper Elite 5 arrives with a tried and tested formula with some entertaining additions. Sniper Elite 5 is available on Last Gen and New Gen consoles, as well as PC and is even available on Game Pass. So pick up that sniper soldier, because your country needs you.
Take a look at the video review here:
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