Sniper Elite 5

When it comes to video-game sequels, there are bad problems and there are good problems. Here’s an example of a bad problem: A developer makes a good game, but then follows it up with a vastly inferior sequel. After playing Sniper Elite 5 for a bit, it definitely seems like we don’t need to worry about that specific problem, which is great news.

Now, here’s an example of a good problem: A developer makes a highly polished game, and when the sequel surfaces, there’s not necessarily much new stuff the devs can add to it, mechanics-wise — but they can certainly take everything that worked in the previous game and make a brand new, badass title. Thus the problem is not really a problem, if you think about it. And that’s where it looks like Sniper Elite 5 is headed.

Sniper Elite 5 France

Realistically, Sniper Elite 4 was so great and so polished that it’s hard to imagine what crazy new thing the team at Rebellion could’ve done to make this next installment feel newer. I guess they could’ve set the game in space, but maybe now’s not the right time for that. Maybe Sniper Elite 16 can be set in space, but Sniper Elite 5 doesn’t need to do anything more than be an awesome sequel — and it’s on track to being exactly that.

While playing Sniper Elite 5, I was surprised by how easy it was to fall back into the series’ tried and tested mechanics. Everything felt familiar, which is to say there was this tight level of polish that was carried over from Sniper Elite 4 into the new France setting of this fifth entry in the franchise.

I was tasked with infiltrating an enemy base. In true Sniper Elite fashion, going from point A to point B can be tackled in a variety of ways. The map of the area I played was large, and I could literally snipe my way through, run-and-gun it, or stealth kill my way through some bad guys.

Sniper Elite 5 Kill Cam

Though I did a little bit of everything, the most enjoyable way (at least for me) to approach scenarios was to find a bush or wall to hide behind, or maybe a perch to camp on, and then take out enemies from afar. Sniper Elite 5 includes the popular Mortal Kombat-esque kill cam of previous entries, so when you pull that trigger, you’ll see your bullet travel across the map in slow motion toward its target.

What follows is pure carnage. Headshots result in skulls shattering, with bits of bone chipping off your enemies and flying every which way. You can also puncture vital organs like lungs. Or you can shoot an enemy soldier right through the eye. It’s visceral, it’s gruesome, and it’s awesome.

Though Sniper Elite 5 lets you get into shootouts with Nazi soldiers, your best bet is to play to your rifle’s strengths. Sure, a tommy gun will get you out of a pickle in the most extreme of cases, but true to its name, the Sniper Elite series has always been at its best when you’re methodically sniping fools left and right. This is a game that’s meant to be enjoyed at a much slower pace than most other shooters.

Sniper Elite 5 Gameplay

That’s not to say that Sniper Elite 5 is necessarily a super-niche game. While, yes, it may not be everyone’s jam, if you’re looking for something a little different out of the shooter genre, the core mechanics offered here are so satisfying and well-put-together that you’re bound to have a good time if you’re just looking for a solid experience.

The bit of Sniper Elite 5 I played felt great, with precise aiming and tight shooting action. It retained everything I loved about Sniper Elite 4 when I first played that game on PlayStation 4 and then again on Switch. This time, though, it drops you into an aesthetically pleasing 1940s France. Fundamentally, it doesn’t stray far from the franchise’s core concepts, but those concepts have been damn near perfected, so why mess with what works?

Sniper Elite 5 is due out on May 26, 2022. It will be available on PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and PC.

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