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Sniper Elite 5 review: A worthy addition to Xbox Game Pass

Take aim across the French battlefields of World War 2

<p>Play as WW2 sniper Karl Fairburne </p>

Play as WW2 sniper Karl Fairburne

Sniper Elite has endured since it was first released in 2005 and with each subsequent entry, the formula has been developed to reflect new mechanics.

Sniper Elite 4 introduced co-operative mode that allowed players to team up and tackle missions together and with the fifth installment, a new invasion mode gives an extra flavour to multiplayer excursions in tense games of cat and mouse.

Second Lieutenant Karl Fairburne returns as the series protagonist, a sharpshooting special operative during the Second World War. In this latest installment, Fairburne conducts his operations in France in 1944, as the war nears its end.

The series is known for its emphasis on infiltration as well as its detailed gunplay and bullet-time slow-motion. Players can perform trick-shots, assassinate high-ranking Nazi officers and gather intel on large open-ended maps.

Where the game develops on the series’ strengths it offers players enough of a new sandbox to play in that makes each level interesting enough to revisit, with the additional bonus of new multiplayer mechanics to keep players returning. For our full review, keep reading below.

How we tested

Sniper Elite 5’s campaign mode contains eight main missions along with side-quests, optional objectives, and hidden collectibles. The campaign will take about 12 hours to complete by itself with extra content adding to the game’s total playtime.

We also tested the various multiplayer features, such as co-operative and invasion mode that can also occur in each of the main story missions.

‘Sniper Elite 5’: £54.99, Game.co.uk

  • Rating: 8/10
  • Consoles: PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S
  • Publisher: Rebellion
  • Release date: 26 May 2022
  • Age rating: 18+

Gameplay

Each of the missions that take place in Sniper Elite 5 occur on separate, self-contained but far-spread maps that cover everything from French coastal towns to grand chateaus. Each of which make for excellent backdrops to Sniper Elite’s biggest draw – it’s gunplay.

Like previous games, stealth and long-ranged combat are encouraged and using the varying terrain’s to the players advantage becomes important to ensure blind spots are covered, and enemies are unable to trace you.

With each gun shot ringing out, Fairburne’s position can be quickly deciphered by enemy forces that are able to quickly close in on his position. Moving around quickly and under cover is important for navigation, as it becomes quite easy to be caught out on open ground, surrounded by the enemy.

Maps are impressive in scope and detail

The environment has its uses too. Backfiring cars, or anti-aircraft guns can effectively mask your gunshots and experimenting with different equipment can improve your abilities as a guerilla tactician against fierce opponents.

Enemy intelligence can vary between scenarios, though. In most cases, they are vigilant and even a lone footsoldier can provide enough of a threat to blow your cover and force an entire batallion on your position. Other times, they may struggle to mount a waist-high wall, or run in circles when stuck against uneven terrain.

But at a healthy distance is where Sniper Elite’s gameplay shines. Several points of interest that can be located on each map, make for excellent vantage points and setting off chain reactions to both eliminate and disorientate enemies. This makes for the bulk of Sniper Elite 5’s experience but when objectives across the map need to be completed, close-quarter encounters become a necessity.

Read more: Xbox Game Pass’s May 2022 list includes Jurassic World Evolution 2 and Sniper Elite 5

As far as Fairburne’s maneuvrability goes, he is much more mobile than in previous games, able to scale walls, hang of ledges and find hidden entry points in a similar vein to the Hitman series. This adds another layer to the game’s already impressively detailed environments and with unlockable entry points, level replayability is fairly high.

Weapon loadouts also offer players more customisation, as well as clearly communicate their various benefits and drawbacks in plain english. This makes adapting to different playstyles feel much more flexible, whether you opt for a pacifist stealth run, or want to go in guns blazing.

Multiplayer

Choosing a custom loadout can also help players to play to their strengths alongside co-operative partners in online multiplayer.

In Sniper Elite 5’s co-operative mode, there are no restrictions with how each mission can be undertaken. While players can stick together to revive and communicate, they can also spread out across the map and tackle different objectives at their own pace. Hearing the ensuing chaos way off in the distance from a brother in arms can make for its own compelling moments, as well as drawing the ire of an occupying force in a nearby village to your advantage.

Invasion mode is a highlight

The same can be said of invasion mode. Like other games such as Elden Ring or Deathloop, players can quickly jump into your mission as a sharpshooter of the Axis forces who is able to freely move around the map embedded amongst the NPC soldiers.

This is one of Sniper Elite 5’s highlights. Trying to execute a covert operation while being informed another player has entered your game adds an extra element of intensity as you try and locate their position before they can do the same to you.

Equally, invading someone else’s game gives players free reign to run around the map to find the perfect vantage point, without fear of upsetting roaming patrols. If that sounds like too much of a hassle, it can be easily turned off but like Deathloop it plays an important part of the experience.

The verdict: ‘Sniper Elite 5’

With its large and well executed environments, Sniper Elite 5 is a strong follow up to 2017’s previous entry in the series, with a healthy balance of open-ended approaches and a clear direction. Maps are large enought to revisit and rediscover new areas as well as acting as an endless playground to perform trick shots and discover its secrets.

Where it does falter is in the occasionally stilted AI that is either fiercely intelligent or completely helpless. That said, it’s a worthy follow up in its own right and fans will appreciate the continuity of previous games, but for those curious enough to try for themselves, the game is available on Xbox Game Pass from day one, making it a strong addition to Microsoft’s burgeoning library of games.

‘Sniper Elite 5’

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