Sniper Elite 5, the latest in Rebellion’s head-shottin’, x-rayin’ shooter series is upon us. If this is your first Sniper Elite game, or you’re a series veteran, here’s everything you need to know about Sniper Elite 5.
Plot & Setting
Sniper Elite 5 takes place in 1944, at the apex of the Second World War. The Allies have uncovered a secret Nazi plot codenamed Projekt Kraken which will turn the tide of the war in the Axis’ favor. Playing as US sniper Karl Fairburne once again, you’ll head to war-torn France, make contact with the resistance troops defending their homeland, and take down Projekt Kraken before it’s too late. As it turns out, Kraken is a larger Nazi operation to attack America, which would have a huge negative impact on D-Day. Speaking of, the events of the game take place just before and just after D-Day with Karl Fairburne going in to soften up enemy positions for the planned invasion before uncovering and getting swept up in this larger plot.
Gameplay: what's different?
In terms of gameplay, yes, you’ll still be shooting Nazis in the head (or other places) and get those gory x-ray kill cams, just like in previous Sniper Elite games, but the team at Rebellion has made a lot of tweaks and additions for the fifth instalment.
Weapons have been overhauled for the game, and there are a number of customization options available for each. They now all sport iron sights that you can look through in first person. Every level has a number of workbenches that not only unlock various attachments for your weapons but allow you to customize them to your liking. Swap scopes, barrels, mags, ammo type, and stocks to your heart’s content. There are four stats that are impacted: Power, rate of fire, mobility, and control. Rebellion estimate that there are over 200 pieces of weaponry to unlock, meaning you can tinker until you find the balance that suits you best. Sniper Elite 5 has a wide range of classic World War 2 weapons like the M1903 Springfield and Karabiner 98 as well as experimental prototypes, including the SREM-1 Enfield bullpup sniper rifle and the BSA Welgun submachine gun. Not only does your weapon matter when it comes to taking those crucial shots, but so do other factors like wind, gravity, and Karl’s heart rate.
Sniper Elite 5 is more intentionally designed to encompass a range of playstyles to encourage replayability, but the core gameplay loop remains the same: observe, plan, and execute. Common playstyles are stealth, power, speed, and control and there are even non-lethal options now. During missions, you’ll find secrets that can shift your objectives or open up new routes and unlockable starting areas peppered around maps.
Higher difficulty levels like Hard and Authentic change a lot of the game and do things like add more bullet drop, reduce active reloading, crank up the impact of wind as well as reduce the HUD, disable radar, and turn off your ability to zoom further when looking through a scope and holding your breath. That should make mil-sim enthusiasts happy. On the other side of things there are tons of Accessibility options like colorblind modes, aim assist even with mouse and keyboard, and text color options to name a few.
The team worked with a number of British museums, including the Imperial War Museum and the Royal Armouries (hey, that place sounds familiar) to capture reference images of the weapons, as well as record the audio of them firing to ensure they’re as accurate to the real thing as possible.
When it comes to map size, Rebellion is calling Sniper Elite 5's maps the largest and "most immersive" in the series' history. In order to help you get around the huge spaces, traversal has been overhauled, so Karl can slide, shimmy, climb, and even zipline around. To help the maps become the “most immersive,” Rebellion used a technique called photogrammetry: Instead of an artist modelling buildings from scratch, developers take hundreds of photographs, which are then fed into a program, which then spits out a 3D model that’s then cleaned up and put into the game. The dev team visited Northern France, Brittany, Normandy, and Calais, as well as examined Sub Pens and bunkers still left over from WW2.
I mentioned the kill cam earlier, and yes, it’s back, with Rebellion doing their darndest to make it the most realistic version yet. You’ll still get the grisly x-ray camera shots of bullets passing through Nazi skulls, but now the bullets can be deflected by bones unpredictably. And if getting the kill cam with sniper rifles wasn’t enough for you, SMGs and pistols will also trigger it, as can knives and traps.
If you want to get your buds in on the action, then have no fear: You can tackle Sniper Elite 5 in co-op. The game even has crossplay, so it doesn’t matter which platform you’re all on. To encourage teamwork, you can give orders to the other player, share items and ammo, and even heal each other. There’s also a co-op horde mode called Survival, where you and up to three others can work together to take out waves of enemies. Teamwork makes the dream work.
But if that sounds a little too… nice for your liking, maybe Invasion Mode will be more up your street. Invasion Mode is exactly what it sounds like: You drop into another person’s game, taking on the role of an Axis Sniper, and can use the in-game enemies to help you track down the host player. If you succeed, you’re rewarded with weapons, items, and skin unlocks if you manage to kill the host player. But the host isn’t completely vulnerable: Each level has a number of Invasion Phones that you can use to find the last known location of the invader. If you take out the invading sniper, you also get a number of rewards. You can turn Invasion Mode off at any time, but you will get more XP for playing with it on.
If you fancy getting more friends in on the fun, there are regular Sniper Elite multiplayer modes like free-for-all, Team Match, and No-Cross, and a new 4v4v4v4 mode called Squad Match. Other new additions include items like Decoys, which you can use to bamboozle enemy players into thinking you’re somewhere you aren’t, and Supply Drops, obviously they net you great items, but also ping the location of enemies in a 50m radius.
In previous Sniper Elite games, your multiplayer and single-player progression was shared, but now each has its own unique unlocks. Multiplayer has its own perks that are not shared with single-player, and these are split between five different classes. You can then fine-tune each to your liking by selecting perks and a secondary class.
In terms of downloadable content, Sniper Elite 5 has a season pass that’ll unlock a bunch of extras, including two campaign missions, two weapon skin packs, two character skin packs, and six weapon packs.
Sniper Elite 5 will be coming to pretty much every home console, including PlayStation 4 and 5, Xbox One, Series S, and Series X, and will be available on Steam and the Microsoft Store. If you are an Xbox Game Pass subscriber, then the standard edition of the game will be coming to the service on day one, so enjoy. Rebellion has revealed that there are no concrete plans to bring the game to the Nintendo Switch just yet, but Sniper Elite 4 did eventually make the jump, so fingers crossed its sequel will do the same.
Release date and price
Sniper Elite 5 is releasing on May 26th, and if you’re after a physical copy, then your options are limited to PlayStation and Xbox only, but there are a few different bundles available, depending on the extras you’re wanting.
The standard edition retails at $59.99 on PlayStation, Xbox, and the Windows Store, but is $10 cheaper if you grab it from the Rebellion Shop or Steam. Buying the PC version from the Rebellion Shop also bags you a digital graphic novel.
The Deluxe Edition is $89.99 for PlayStation, Xbox, and Windows Store, and $79.99 on the Rebellion shop and Steam, and comes with the game’s season pass included, as well as the digital graphic novel if you get the game from the Rebellion Shop.
The Rebellion Shop also has a couple of extra exclusive bundles if you’re looking to play on PC. The Cadet Bundle comes with a Deluxe Edition Steam code, exclusive shirt, graphic novel, and sticker for $99.99. For $129.99 you can grab the Marksman Bundle which comes with the Deluxe Edition for PC, a bomber jacket, graphic novel, enamel mug, and sticker.
Preordering any version of the game nets you a bonus mission where you kill Hitler at his Mountain Retreat Berghof, and a P.1938 suppressed pistol.
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