Test – Sniper Elite 5 – The Desert Shadow is back | Xbox One

 Test - Sniper Elite 5 - The Desert Shadow is back |  Xbox One

At the dawn of the release of its fifth episode, we no longer present the Sniper Elite saga. Rebellion’s infiltration title signs its return after five years of absence and once again immerses us in the shoes of a sniper in the heart of the Second World War. As a reminder, 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. .

Operation Kraken

After a passage in Africa or even more recently in Italy, we leave this time for France in 1944 a little before D-Day and the famous Normandy landings. Always in the guise of sniper Karl Fairburne also nicknamed the Shadow of the Desert, our mission will be to thwart Operation Kraken and neutralize its mastermind, Abelard Möller.

Without being a work of art, the proposed scenario holds up and takes us to several 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 additional hours to recover all the collectibles and accomplish all the secondary objectives. The different missions retain the format already adopted in previous episodes of the license, namely a large map on which main and secondary objectives are arranged. More or less vast, 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 really appreciated the Château de Beauregard or the verticality of the island of Beaumont-Saint-Denis.

Overall, the level design of the places is a success and offers very interesting things. It allows for many different approaches and paths to achieve a goal, through unobtrusive or unobtrusive means. High grass, high viewpoints or a number of explorable buildings, our sniper is spoiled for choice and also has a hell of an arsenal to carry out his mission.

One Man Army

This is not new in the license, Karl is not only equipped with a sniper rifle. He also has at his disposal a submachine gun, a handgun and a multitude of gadgets among which are first aid kits, mines (personal or anti-vehicle) or grenades. This package is customizable before each mission and in the workshops available in each level (you will have to find them beforehand). On the other hand, a small novelty not the least, you can now customize your weapons by modifying the accessories (barrel, bezel, handle, etc.). Each part will have its advantages and disadvantages on the handling of the weapon, which makes it possible to adapt this one to its way of playing.

Note that it is also possible to pick up enemy weapons, or recover ammunition. The latter will also be a precious resource, the forces of Möller being able to be numerous in the event of an alert triggered.

In addition to his 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 acquired by validating objectives or by killing enemies (the amount of the reward differs depending on the method used).

Before talking to you about the gameplay, it is important to talk about the difficulty and in particular its customization since this can have a direct impact on the way of playing. The difficulty is adjusted according to two scales, either globally, by choosing from several degrees (very easy, easy, normal, etc.), or by customizing the different aspects of the gameplay. Thus, we have for example the leisure to adjust independently of each other, the aiming system, the level of the AI ​​​​or the regeneration of health. The most important and impacting remains the aiming system. Indeed, 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 its target. While in lower difficulties, 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 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 still as satisfying as ever, especially since it also fires with the other weapon types now. It has also been tweaked to be even more realistic. Indeed, the trajectory of the ball at the exit of the body is directly impacted by the bones or organs that it will encounter.

Unfortunately, despite the very good level design, the title of Rebellion shows its age in terms of its technique and animations. Our movements remain very rigid, especially when opening doors, using ladders or changing position (standing/squatting/lying down). The levels, while vast, are filled with invisible walls and we encountered a few collision bugs that stuck us in the scenery. Finally, if visually the game manages to offer us some pretty panoramas, it still shows a lot of delay and does not really flatter the retina (in particular the faces). Difficult besides to note a true evolution with the preceding opus of the license on this point. It’s a shame, no doubt that with a slightly larger budget, Sniper Elite 5 could get rid of these technical errors.

Stealth game requires, the question of the level of the opposing AI must be asked. Half fig half grape, we do not escape some grotesque situations during the infiltration phases. Indeed, we can at times find ourselves almost facing an enemy without the latter noticing us, but in other cases, we will be detected more than 100 m away while bushes and other plants separate us. Note also that the enemies still do not ask questions about their colleagues lying on the ground once the alarm and alert raised. On the other hand, during the alert phases, we were pleasantly surprised to find formidable enemy forces, not hesitating to circumvent us intelligently while others maintained a suppressing fire.

With several the party is more crazy

Playable solo, the campaign can also be played with a friend (online only). Everything works quite well, it is possible to share ammunition and objects, resuscitate each other or place markers to signal a point of interest. Unfortunately, this last possibility is not available once the eye is in the riflescope. It’s a shame, because suddenly the game lacks a real coordination option forcing the two players to try to describe to the other which enemy they want to kill and to systematically count down to coordinate. We’ve also seen a few issues where player 2 had a black screen during cutscenes, but the issue should be fixed quickly by the dev teams.

Just like in the previous episode, Sniper Elite 5 offers a Survival mode in which you will have to resist waves of opponents. The game also provides us with a Versus mode for clashes with up to 16 players. This last mode is divided into several types including the classic Everyone for himself and Match by team, Squad match where the players are divided into 4 teams of 4 and a last one, unique to the franchise, where the two teams compete at 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’s not all. For the first time in the license, Sniper Elite 5 also brings Invasion mode. Here, a player plays as an Axis sniper and infiltrates another player’s campaign. His goal is then to find the player playing Karl and eliminate him, and vice versa for the other player. Then follows a real game of cat and mouse, where the ingenuity of the level design takes on even more meaning with the multiple places to place yourself. Both players can use phones placed everywhere on each map to have information on the position of the other, but be careful abusing it will also reveal our position. Similarly, if the invaded player is spotted by the game’s AI, then the invader is also notified. If this option can be deactivated at any time in order to be able to enjoy the campaign quietly, we cannot advise you to leave it active, as it adds a little exhilarating tension as soon as we are tracked. In return, if invasion is allowed, experience rewards are increased. For the invader, each defeated player grants new weapons and outfits for subsequent invasions.

Tested on Xbox Series X (Optimized).