Sniper Elite 5 | Xbox Series S Review
Sniper Elite 5 is the latest instalment in the award-winning and thrilling third-person WWII set tactical-shooter series from developer and publisher Rebellion. The game is set against the backdrop of the heavily war-torn French coastline during World War II. It is currently available on Windows PC, PlayStation, and Xbox. For the purpose of my review I was playing on the Xbox Series S, with the base game along with the Season 1 and Season 2 DLC packs. These review keys were very kindly supplied to us for coverage by the wonderful folks at Lick PR. At the time of writing Sniper Elite 5 is also available on Game Pass for Windows PC and Xbox, and it has just been included on PS+ for PlayStation on the Extra and Premium tier options.
You take on the role of Karl Fairburne, the elite sniper, working alongside the US Airbourne Rangers in France during World War II. With most of the gameplay focused on the coastline and the Axis attempts to thwart the Allies, the missions on offer here vary from taking out AA Gun placements on the French beaches and through the countryside, to infiltration top secret bases to take out high profile enemy targets. There are a 9 missions in the base game, all with very large scale maps. On the DLC side, there are 5 additional maps/missions as well as some new skins for the characters and some new weapons for you to use. This content can be purchased individually, or as part of the Season 1 and Season 2 DLC packs. You do get a lot for your money with each pack though, and I should point out that my weapons of choice in the game were the Mosin-Nagant sniper rifle and the Sjögren Inertia shotgun. Both of these were part of the Season 2 DLC pack. I found the Mosin-Nagant was my favourite at distance while the Sjögren was second to none for those more close-up and personal John Wick style encounters. You do have lots of options for upgrading your weapons, and this can be done gradually throughout the game, allowing you to change everything from the colour and skin of the weapon, to the barrel, magazine, grip, stock and the scope. Everything that you do in this 'workbench' scenario will change and alter the look and the feel of your guns.
If, like me, you are not familiar with the Sniper Elite series of games (I know I really should not have taken so long to play them), there is an x-ray kill cam where you can actually see each of your bullets travelling through the organs or the parts of the body that you hit in glorious slow-motion. It does add a little satisfying touch to those head shots. You can also turn this off in the settings, should it not be your cup of tea. Talking of cups of tea, it's not often that I can say this about a game, but Sniper Elite 5 is #ColdTeaCertified, by which I mean I can sit down with a freshly made cup of tea, put the game on, and before I know it, hours have past and my tea is still sitting there, untouched, and now cold. I also found myself become quite the collector in the game, searching out every item from the 'Collectibles' list. There are 19 of these in each mission and comprise of intel messages, cherished items, as well as stone eagles. Some of the eagles were tough to locate, but I did manage to eventually collect all the items. Workbenches are also part of the collectibles, with a Rifle, SMG, and Pistol one on each mission. Once you locate each workbench, new parts will be available to you for your weapons, and you can switch and upgrade before going back to your mission. You also get different types of ammo for your guns, with subsonic 'quieter' ammo, non-lethal ammo, and also more hardcore metal penetrating ammo, which you definitely will need to use at times.
I mentioned the size of the maps before, and for me they seemed to get bigger with each new one. Each of the 9 mission maps are played in order, with you unlocking each new one once you have completed the previous. My favourite by far had to be Spy Academy, which is set in Beaumont-Saint-Denis. The map itself is based on the tidal island Mont Saint-Michel, which is in Normandy, and it has a bridge to access it, with the roads spiraling up and up eventually reaching the cathedral on the top of the island. As you start in a default position with a new game, there are extra starting points that you can unlock for future playthroughs. Some of them will make getting across the map easier and more convenient. You play the game on foot, and even though there are vehicles in the game, like motorcycles, cars, trucks, as well as armoured vehicles and tanks, you cannot access them for transport. You can set traps on them or destroy them completely. The game supports cross-platform play and a great addition to any game is always co-op, and I was very glad to see the full campaign in Sniper Elite 5 can be played in co-op with a friend. There are multiplayer options as well with a host of game modes. We tried out Survival mode which you can play either solo or with friends, and in this mode, you take on waves of enemy soldiers, while trying to prevent them from capturing your base section. There were 3 waves within each level, and 4 levels in total.
Visually, on the Xbox Series S, Sniper Elite 5 looks amazing. The detail in literally everything that you encounter just looks so good. From the scale of the buildings and the towns, the beaches, bunkers, interiors, exteriors, even the smallest of objects, I really could not fault the game at all in any way. You can traverse Karl down zip-lines, climb walls and shimmy along ledges, sneak around undetected, waiting for that all important moment to get the perfect melee kill. Realism also plays a big part in the game, with the wind and also Karl's heart-rate affecting the gameplay, as well as certain attachments to your weapons causing more recoil than others. Finding the perfect weapon with the correct modifications to suit your style may take time, but it is worth it. You can always try all of the weapons out in the Shooting Range before you take to battle with them. There is also includes a photo mode, for anyone wishing to capture the sights of coastal France in 1944, or to just take photos during your gameplay. Options wise, you can customise the game, HUD, and cameras, re-map the controls, as well as a whole array of accessibility settings. There are various difficulty options and you can customise things even further in the settings. I was playing on the easiest difficulty level for my playthrough, and the enemies were a good balance for me. I mentioned that you can disable the melee and x-ray kill cams, if the level of graphic detail shown gets a little too much for you, and Sniper Elite 5 comes with a PEGI rating 16 for intense violence and gore.
I thoroughly enjoyed playing through Sniper Elite 5 along with the DLC. I think I spent about 60 hours in the game overall, spread between the single player missions, with some co-op and survival with friends. Having always had an interest in WWII, whether it be on screen, or with the history of it, I was always going to enjoy the setting of the game. I really could not fault any aspect of it. The action is intense, the visuals are stunning, and the gameplay just ticked all of the boxes for me. If you like shooters, if you like the setting, and are looking for a game where the stealthy approach is best, but you can also go in all guns blazing, Sniper Elite 5 has you covered, and then some. With the game being on both Game Pass and PS+ just now, there really is no better time to try it out. Warning though, it can be very addictive. g1a5w3g1an's Rating: 5 long distance rifle shots out of 5.
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Many thanks to Lick PR for the Review Key.