Perhaps also thanks to icons such as Sniper Wolf and The End, both born from the mind of Hideo Kojima, the figure of the sniper has always had a certain charm in the eyes of gamers. While not enjoying the fame of the two Metal Gear Solid bosses, one of the most popular sharpshooters in the world of video games is certainly Karl Fairburne, nightmare of the Nazis and protagonist of the long-lived Sniper Elite series, which boasts five canonical chapters and some brain-eater spin-offs (in this regard, here you can find our review of Zombie Army 4). And it is precisely of Sniper Elite 5 that we will talk to you today, as we have had the opportunity to play, even more than once, the latest adventure of the American soldier with German origins. Will Rebellion be able to improve what was seen in the fourth episode? Let’s take the sniper rifle and go find out.
The war that never ends
In the Sniper Elite universe the second World War it is, at least in appearance, a conflict of immoderate duration and made up of a myriad of events that in one way or another always see our sniper as the protagonist. The good Karl Fairburne is not the holiday type and, after putting a spoke in the wheel of the Germans in Italy, he touches him foiling another dangerous Axis plan.
This time the Nazis, hunted by the allies and retreating after a series of defeats, are planning something big in French territory and it’s up to our shooter to find out what’s boiling in the pot and stop everything before it’s too late. The plot is very similar to that of the previous chapter and of little impact but it is only a pretext to catapult us into a series of scenarios populated by Nazis to be decimated with one of the many methods at our disposal.
From a playful point of view, the starting point is precisely that of the fourth chapter but Rebellion has not failed to introduce some small additions that aim to make the gameplay more varied and to encourage users to replay the levels several times. Despite the obvious differences in terms of gameplay, the structure of Sniper Elite 5 represents a further approach to the Hitman reboot trilogy (Hitman 3 review here).
The game is in fact structured in eight scenarios characterized by numerous secondary objectives and different ways to complete the primary mission. The enormous value of Rebellion production is precisely theno restrictions that oblige the player to advance through the campaign in a predetermined way. We are not just talking about the possibility of acting silently or with weapons at the ready, since the freedom granted by the game also affects how to complete the tasks that are assigned to us. Whether it is entering a closed room or sabotaging a Nazi weapon, it is possible to either opt for the hasty route (which usually consists in the use of sedge satchel), or to find secondary access, thanks to tools such as shears and key. In short, there is a lot of room for maneuver, combined with the possibility of unlock more entry points to various maps, so that infiltrations can begin from different places in the area. This feature makes it really pleasant to relive the same mission to try a different path and maybe complete all the secondary quests, often far from the main path and of great importance for the expansion of the protagonist’s arsenal.
The new one will then extend the longevity of the adventure Invasion mode, very particular for a product of this type. This is in all respects a Dark Souls-style intrusion, with one player entering another user’s game as a Jagera skilled German sniper who can use the help of NPCs to locate the unfortunate on duty.
Activated or deactivated at will, this mode is a lot of fun, especially in the guise of the invader but perhaps some may ignore it. In a title like Sniper Elite 5, in which some players move with great caution for a clean and flawless run, falling under enemy sniper fire could generate a lot of frustration.
Regardless, though, breaking eggs in the basket of a meticulous soldier it’s a blastespecially if the meeting is closed by a blow with the classic X-ray results. The possibility of playing the entire campaign in cooperative is also very pleasant, instead we found the horde mode and multiplayer less impactful, in which they continue to be active the X-Ray but in a much faster version so as not to interrupt the action excessively.
Violence and X-rays
As in every episode of the Rebellion series, also in Sniper Elite 5 the gunplay is a central element of the experience, with the developers taking great care in recreating how the sniper rifles.
Although there are not many weapons belonging to this category (the arsenal is not the richest in general), we have noticed a fair difference between one gun and the other, which can be further accentuated after applying one of the many changes present, which allow you to customize weapons similar to what we are used to seeing in the last Call of Duty. Accomplice one enviable amount of difficulty options, shooting with the sniper rifle is a pleasure for anyone, from players who simply want to have fun, to those who want to take into account factors such as distance, bullet drop and so on, elements that make it more satisfying to be able to reach the skull of the target. And it is here that we come to a spectacular stretch of the playful recipe, represented, needless to say, by the incons X-Ray. Just pull the trigger at the right moment to start a slow-motion sequence in which we witness the slow and inexorable journey of the bullet from the barrel of the gun to the body of the Nazi on duty, whose organs, muscles and bones, are at a certain point overtaken. in a macabre spectacle visible thanks to X-rays. Now this scenic solution is no longer limited to the primary weapon of the game and in fact it has been extended to grenades, pistols, SMGs and melee eliminations.
To make all this less pleasant is the presence of some sessions set indoors such as bunkers and military bases which, inevitably, force the player to put away his trusty sniper rifle in order to manage small groups of enemies with automatic weapons or to take them out with his bare hands and avoid the annoying sound of alarms. Let’s be clear, moments like these represent a minority compared to the totality of the campaign but in any case in these situations Sniper Elite 5 turns into a shooter without infamy and without praise.
We would also have appreciated a skill tree more complex that allowed the player to develop talents according to their own style but unfortunately the one envisaged by Rebellion proved to be not very incisive and largely unable to allow Fairburne to “improve” in a perceptible way.
A dated technical sector
One of the main flaws of Sniper Elite 5 is its technical sector not exactly in step with the times: Rebellion’s shooter is graphically dated and, in addition to being almost identical to its predecessor, leaves a lot to be desired in terms of animations. The cutscenes do nothing but enhance these criticalities, due to characters who move in an unnatural way and endowed with an expressiveness far from modern standards.
Me too’artificial intelligence it is not the best with enemies who, for example, tend not to deepen too much when they see something wrong over the distance, returning to their place in a few moments. Instead, we really liked the way they were built settings that form the backdrop to our Nazi hunting sessions. In addition to offering us splendid views of the French coast and a beautiful villa surrounded by greenery, the development team has managed to reproduce suggestive scenarios without giving up the playful component: there are covers for those who want to play at gunpoint, secret areas and many other elements that also work in view of the aforementioned replayability. On the latest generation consoles there are no graphics options and Sniper Elite 5 runs stably at 60 frames per second. The PlayStation 5 version also enjoys the full DualSense support, which has been exploited quite intelligently. Aside from the negligible use of the pad speaker, Sniper Elite 5 uses adaptive triggers both to give the player the sensation of pulling a real trigger, and to adjust the aim. Our L2, in fact, does not offer any resistance until halfway and thus allows you to activate a first shooting mode behind the character.
By applying more force and fully pressing the trigger, however, we will switch to first person view to take down enemies with great precision. Maybe it takes a while to get used to this specific expectationor the control system but then switching from one aim to another becomes comfortable, even when using weapons other than sniper rifles or when facing groups of enemies.
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