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.
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.