At the dawn of the release of its fifth episode, we no longer present the Sniper Elite saga. Rebellion’s infiltration title marks his return after a five-year absence and plunges us once again into the shoes of a sniper in the heart of World War II. Recall that Sniper Elite 5 will be available on May 26, 2022 on PC via Steam and Windows Store, PS4 / 5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X | S and also benefits from an immediate release in Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass. .
After a passage in Africa or even more recently in Italy, this time we leave for France in 1944 just before the D-Day and the famous landing in Normandy. Still as the sniper Karl Fairburne nicknamed the Shadow of the Desert, our mission will be to thwart Operation Kraken and neutralize the mind of him, Abelard Möller.
Without being a work of art, the proposed scenario holds up and takes us to different regions of France, and even to the British island of Guernsey. Count about ten hours to complete the campaign more or less in a straight line and a few more hours to recover all the collectibles and reach all the secondary objectives. The different missions maintain the format already adopted in the previous episodes of the license, that is a large map on which main and secondary objectives are arranged. More or less large, these playgrounds all offer different landscapes and an atmosphere of their own. If the first region did not inspire us much, on the other hand we very much appreciated the castle of Beauregard or the verticality of the island of Beaumont-Saint-Denis.
Overall, the level design of the venues is a success and offers very interesting things. It allows for many different approaches and paths to achieve a goal, through discrete or discrete means. Tall grass, tall vantage points or a series of explorable buildings, our sniper is spoiled for choice and even has a hellish arsenal to carry out his mission.
One man army
This is nothing new in the license, Karl is not only equipped with a sniper rifle. He also has at his disposal a submachine gun, a pistol and a multitude of gadgets including first aid kits, mines (personal or anti-vehicle) or grenades. This pack is customizable before each mission and in the workshops available in each level (you’ll need to find them in advance). On the other hand, a small novelty not least, it is now possible to customize your weapons by modifying the accessories (barrel, bezel, handle, etc.). Each side will have its own advantages and disadvantages on the handling of the weapon, which makes it possible to adapt it to its way of playing.
Note that it is also possible to pick up enemy weapons or recover ammo. The latter will also be a precious resource, Möller’s forces could be numerous in case of activation of an alert.
In addition to its package, you can also assign skill points in three different trees allowing for example to benefit from more life, to be able to wear more equipment, to hold your breath longer. For this it is necessary to level up by recovering experience. This is achieved by validating objectives or killing enemies (the amount of the reward varies depending on the method used).
Before talking about the gameplay, it is important to talk about the difficulty and in particular its customization as this can have a direct impact on the way you play. The difficulty is adjusted according to two scales, or globally, by choosing between several degrees (very easy, easy, normal, etc.), or by customizing the different aspects of the gameplay. Thus, we have for example the free time to independently adjust the aiming system, the level of the AI or the regeneration of health. The most important and impactful remains the aiming system. In fact, if we withdraw all the aids, then it will be necessary to take into account the wind, the distance and the fallout of the ball to hit the target. While on lower difficulty, these notions will not be present and a simple marker will turn red to signal that the target will be hit.
Everyone will find their own account and we can only welcome the efforts of the developers to offer these accessibility options.
A faint smell of mothballs
No big revolution, the sniper rifle gameplay is still as good as in previous games. The X-ray Killcam is even more satisfying than ever, especially since it now fires other types of weapons as well. It has also been tweaked to be even more realistic. In fact, the trajectory of the ball as it exits the body is directly influenced by the bones or organs it will encounter.
Unfortunately, despite the excellent level design, Rebellion’s title shows its age in terms of technique and animations. Our movements remain very rigid, especially when opening doors, using stairs or changing positions (standing / squatting / lying down). The levels, while vast, are full of invisible walls and we encountered some collision bugs that stuck us in the scenario. Finally, if visually the game manages to offer us some good views, it still shows a lot of delay and does not flatten the retina (especially the faces) very much. It is also difficult to notice a real evolution with the previous license opus on this point. It’s a shame, no doubt, that with a slightly larger budget, the Sniper Elite 5 could get rid of these glitches.
Stealth play requires, the question of the level of the opponent’s AI must be asked. Half fig, half grape, during the infiltration phases they do not escape grotesque situations. In fact, sometimes we can find ourselves almost in front of an enemy without the latter noticing, but in other cases we will be detected at more than 100 m away while bushes and other plants separate us. Also note that enemies still don’t ask questions about their colleagues lying on the ground once the alarm and alert have been raised. On the other hand, during the alert phases, we were pleasantly surprised to find formidable enemy forces, not hesitating to cleverly outflank us while others maintained suppression fire.
With many, the party is crazier
Playable alone, the campaign can also be explored with a friend (online only). Everything works quite well, you can share ammo and items, revive each other or place tokens to mark a point of interest. Unfortunately, the latter possibility is not available once the eye is in the scope. It’s a shame, because suddenly the game lacks a real coordination option forcing the two players to try and describe to each other which enemy they want to kill and systematically counting down to coordinate. We also encountered some issues where Player 2 had a black screen during cutscenes, but this should be fixed quickly by the development teams.
Just like in the previous episode, Sniper Elite 5 offers a Survival mode where you will have to withstand waves of opponents. The game also provides us with a Versus mode for battles with up to 16 players. The latter mode is divided into different types including the classic Everyone for themselves and Match by team, Squad match in which the players are divided into 4 teams of 4 and a last one, unique for the franchise, where the two teams compete against each other. long distance. while being separated by an impenetrable barrier. Like competitive games, multiplayer allows you to level up, customize your weapon class, your skills, or even your character’s appearance.
But that is not all. For the first time in the license, Sniper Elite 5 also brings Invasion mode. Here, one player plays as an Axis sniper and infiltrates another player’s campaign. His goal is then to find the player who plays Karl and eliminate him, and vice versa for the other player. Then follows a real game of cat and mouse, where the ingenuity of level design takes on even more meaning with the many places to place yourself. Both players can use phones placed anywhere on each map to get information about the other’s location, but be careful abusing it will reveal our location as well. Likewise, if the invaded player is spotted by the game’s AI, the invader is also alerted. While this option can be turned off at any time for you to enjoy the campaign peacefully, we can’t recommend leaving it on, as it adds a bit of heady tension as soon as we are tracked down. In return, if the invasion is allowed, the experience rewards are increased. For the invader, each defeated player grants new weapons and outfits for subsequent invasions.
Tested on Xbox Series X (optimized).