Okay Sniper Elite (SE) 5, what to say, what to say. You all should probably be familiar with the series by now, but if somehow you aren’t, this is a sniper series based during World War II. You play as US sniper named Karl, he’s a one man fuck you army, which is fantastic, cause he’s kinda bitch’in. Every game focuses on Karl fucking over the Nazi’s by single-handedly, well nearly anyways, taking out plans, operations, and leaders of the Third Reich that could, and likely would, destroy the Allies and hand Hitler a solid win on a gold platter. In this game the US and UK have gotten intel about rockets that have chemical weapons in them that the Nazi’s are trying to create that would travel further than their current tech allows. So it’s time to shank some Nazi’s and give them a lead enema.
This game I think, is a bit smaller than SE4, which is good, at least to me. SE4 felt like the maps were too big and because of that felt kinda empty and drawn out. I personally preferred SE2 and SE3 because they were so much shorter and had plenty to do in their levels. This game has moved back towards the prior games in the series while keeping a middle ground of having large areas. There’s a lot of enemies in the game, and even more fun, there’s a bunch that travel in and out of the map too, just constantly spawning ones that simply travel to and fro, they will stop their vehicles to investigate things so you have a sizable amount of enemies to blow to hell, if you so choose to simply kill everyone that spawns for your own amusement. There are some wider open areas in the map but they’re always predicated by sniper perches allowing you to see the people dotted around so you can snipe them like a proper sniper, or, I guess, you can just run up to them all and gun them down with SMGs, it’s really up to you.
Difficulty with the game has changed from the prior games, even on easy you can be killed without much fuss because if you alert an enemy they’ll call their friends and maybe set of an alarm which will call everyone nearby to come converge which means while it wouldn’t be too hard to kill the enemies, for every one bullet you dole out, they’re giving you another ten or so easily. The game allows you to find new entry points while playing the level, these let you choose a new starting point from the beginning of the game which is useful because you can play the game on the easiest difficulty, find all the entry points, then start it up on the hardest difficulty closer to the objectives. After all the hardest difficulty is ridiculously hard and you really don’t want to wade through more enemies than you absolutely have to. As per usual there is Authentic difficulty which takes away the scopes that have various zoom levels, the screen alerts to things like noise to know when to fire, the mini-map, distance finder on the scope, focus shot line, and makes enemies significantly more accurate, weapons do more damage to you, enemies are significantly more alert, etc. It’s made to hurt you. It’s great for co-op, hell for solo.
The game does add in a mode, that I don’t think many players will like, it’s an invasion mode more or less. You can set up the game to allow people to invade your game, when they do they become a German sniper and their objective is to kill you. Both of you can find telephones littered across the map and both of you can pick them up and call into your intelligence place and get the last known sighting of the other sniper. Whoever has their information leaked is alerted to that fact. This doesn’t show where they are for long just wherever they were when you pick up the phone. This mode is set to off automatically and I think that’s where it’s going to sit for most people, this kind of mode can cause a lot of grieving and adding in an enemy player to AIs can screw up all the plans a main player had which isn’t fun. One of the major issues I found with this is there’s a number of places an enemy can set up where they can look and fire at you but for some reason are considered behind full cover so even though you can see their head and they can shoot at you they are blocked by magical air that behaves like concrete. Even if it worked one hundred percent perfectly, I just don’t think most players want a bunch of people coming in and fucking with their single player game, it just isn’t fun. If singe player gamers wanted versus modes, we’d play the literal versus mode the game already has.
X-ray kills come back like always. One of the single most enjoyable things in sniping games is SE and their X-ray kill shots. This game doesn’t seem to have as many named types as the prior game, which I’m fine with because the last game had a bunch that were specific to certain organs that were a pain in the ass to shoot. Nut shots are still the best watching a, or both if you’re really good, testicle meet with bullet and explode is just fantastic. X-ray kills are probably the highlight of all sniper games to me, the most important coolest thing. I cannot heft enough praise on letting me shoot Nazi’s in the nuts, just writing this bit brings a smile to my face.
There’s a bunch of weapons to choose from snipers, pistols, and SMGs, each individual weapon has mastery marks, for instance most sniper rifles require X amount of kills from over one hundred meters, X amount of kills with headshots, and something else, once you complete all of those you unlock the mastery skin for the gun, they’re just cosmetic, well unless you’re in versus then I guess what color gun you use could actually be useful based on the map you’re playing and where you’re hiding. Some of the prior games tied skills and weapon upgrades, more or less, to these mastery things, however that’s not the case this time, instead you find upgrade benches and they have certain items at them that you kinda just pick up while interacting with the bench allowing you some customization from interacting with each one, most levels have an upgrade bench for each type of weapon, the rifle, sidearm, and secondary (SMGs). You pick up some new guns by beating levels, but there’s other weapons you can get outside of them, you gain this by killing a special target in a specific way in each level, sometimes they require you to poison them, others require specific bombs, etc. As such everyone can get all the weapons and upgrades just for basic play, and getting the mastery skins isn’t too hard either you can typically load up one of a couple of levels and just farm each weapon out pretty quickly.
Last thing I want to mention is something that you don’t need to do but is rather fun, there’s little challenges for each level that you can do, you find them in your menu area along with ribbons and weapon mastery progress stuff, and they’re typically for doing one or two different things in a mission, sometimes for killing someone a specific way or destroying something a specific way. For instance one of the missions has a challenge to kill your target by dropping him into liquid cement so he drowns and becomes a building block to a place that is cancelled. They’re not overly hard, some of them require you to kill the same target in a couple different ways which can simply be done by reloading a save. I thought these were actually really really fun to do. There’s other ones for getting different ranged shots on a target on both normal and a different set, that’s at lower distances, on authentic as well as some other general ones that aren’t level specific like getting X amount of kills with each gun, etc. They’re fun little distractions and I thoroughly enjoyed them.
Overall, I really like the game. The story is decent, I like the collectibles like in every game they give you more of a sense of life in the game by having letters from angry higher ups in what they believe is bad positions, to people writing letters home. X-ray shots are like the single best thing ever. The only issue I have is simply how hard Authentic mode is, but I made it through that too so meh. I can happily suggest this to everyone who likes sniping games, if you don’t like them and you don’t like slow stealth stuff, then you probably won’t like this obviously. After all that’s the name of the game the four S’s, Slow, Stealth, Snipe, and Stealth.
********Update 1: August 3, 2022********
Okay, DLC 1: Landing Force has come out so it’s time to talk about that too. This is just a single level where Karl lands here to destroy an island compound gun battery, I believe it needs to be destroyed so that the D-day boats don’t get blown to smithereens, but I’m not entirely sure. It’s a quick simple mission, it’s on a tiny island compound so there’s no roads for infinitely spawning enemies or anything. It takes around maybe forty minutes to beat. You’ve destroyed gun batteries before in the main game, this is no difference it’s just larger, so more explosives, mamma makes things go boom baby. Nothing really is any different from the main game so it’s just as amazing as the main game. I suggest it quite heavily.
The game also provides you some new weapons. There’s a new sniper rifle called the D.L. Carbine, it’s a even very low to middling tier rifle even with the best attachments on it. There’s also a new SMG called the PPSH SMG, it’s a middle to high tier SMG, there are better ones, but it’s decent. Along side this stuff there was also a free update added at the same time which is just a new map added to the game, I believe to both the MP versus and co-op survival modes called Flooded Village, I didn’t really look at this to be honest.
To play the DLC, I got the season pass so I went back and played the DLC that comes with every SE game out there, the Kill Hitler mission, this one it’s called Wolf Mountain, it’s obviously part of the season pass. In it Hitler is visiting his villa in the countryside and you get to find various fun ways to kill the schmuck. As I mentioned in the main game there’s a lot of little challenges to kill him in specific ways and there’s even more than that as I think it only has challenges for like three different ways out of I think seven or eight unique ways. For instance you can kill him with an explosive shot bowling pin, which is outright fucking hilarious to be honest. I… it was so funny, I can’t explain to you the joy, oh my gawd it was great.
A review copy of the game was provided by devs.
darkmikasonfire totally gives Sniper Elite 5 the Indie Gamer Seal of Approval, very, very slowly.