Sniper Elite 5

Sniper Elite is a small yet beloved franchise with a pretty devoted fanbase; I consider myself among that group. Ever since the first game — which is still my favorite in the series — I have been a mostly steadfast loyalist. Admittedly, I did skip the third entry, which I seem to recall didn’t receive the best reviews at the time, and my enthusiasm had waned a bit coming off the second entry. I felt Sniper Elite 2 had lost some of the magic of the first game, and the third entry seemed to follow suit.

I did end up rather enjoying Sniper Elite 4, but again, the rigidity of the more linear structure sort of gummed up the works and led to a less-than-stellar entry. Although you can sneak here or maybe snipe there, you are very much following a corridor toward the finish line. I even fired up the fourth entry last night in anticipation of the impending release of Sniper Elite 5, which comes out May 26. However, I quickly fizzled out during the opening tutorial section of the game when I remembered how straightforward the experience had become — it’s still enjoyable, mind you, but not nearly as free and open to improvisation as that beloved first game.

For me, the original Sniper Elite was more akin to the original Hitman series. It tasked the player with stealthily navigating a bunch of pretty open levels while avoiding direct combat. You’d often go toe-to-toe with enemy snipers in a tense game of cat and mouse that often resulted in a satisfying long-range, slow-mo bullet to some Jerry’s cranium. And that X-ray kill cam — although perhaps a little overused now — was so fresh for its time. But Sniper Elite 2, and each successive release, has been seemingly narrowed the number of avenues to explore and break through enemy lines.

If the original Sniper Elite felt more like Hitman 2: Silent Assassin, then I would liken the subsequent Sniper games to Hitman Absolution with a smattering of Hitman Sniper Challenge thrown in.

Sniper Elite 5

I imagine Sniper Elite 5 will follow the formula of the last couple entries (which I will still play and enjoy, mind you). But I would love to see a return to form, with more of an emphasis on what made the original so special all those years ago. In a lot of ways I feel like Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain would be a great book to take a page out of, as that game very much felt like a natural progression from the original Sniper Elite. Phantom Pain offered a more open and fluid sandbox, with reconnoitering scenarios, planning a point of insertion or attack, and even allowing time to pass to take on certain areas at night — or, if it felt easier, during the day.

Sniper Elite is a unique and enjoyable franchise, and I always look forward to a new release; Sniper Elite 5 is no exception. But to me, it always feels like the series could accomplish a lot more than it currently delivers. I can’t help but feel the series has yet to live up to its fullest potential. Hopefully Sniper Elite 5 will finally reach those heights.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x