During these trying times, its good to focus on something other than the depressing news and near-global lockdown, on the topic of focusing and being a lone wolf, let’s take a look at some of the best sniper games available to play in 2020.
All of these games are playable in 2020 on PC, more recent entries have Xbox One/Ps4 ports available, while earlier games are likely to have Ps3/ Xbox 360 ports.
In some select cases, Nintendo Switch joins the party, despite being several games behind due to hardware limitations.
Case in point Sniper Elite 4 (2017) has yet to release on the Switch, while Sniper Elite 3 (2014) only released for Switch in 2019!
Sniper Elite (2005)
Sniper Elite is a solid game for its time, but its age is starting to show, with graphics and controls more common around the late Playstation 2 era its a blast from the past.
As with most titles Indie/A released in the mid-2005’s, voice acting sounds muffled and fake, with characters sounding like friends and family of the developers voiced them,
Map and world design follow the norms of the era, with box-like corridors and invisible walls dominating the landscape.
Reduced mouse sensitivity aside, the gameplay is solid and the narrative. At the same time, simple is playable, If you have no great nostalgia for this title, I suggest giving it a skip and playing Sniper Elite V2 Remastered, Sniper Elite 3 or Sniper Elite 4.
Sniper Elite v2 (2012)
Sniper Elite V2 shares much the same design philosophy that went into Sniper Elite.
While the overall graphical quality has improved dramatically and voice acting and sound effects are on par with a modern title.
The world and maps still feel constrained and at times like a corridor shooter, but for the most part, are far more extensive and at times offer the appearance of a faux-open word.
Sniper Elite V2 brings a far smarter AI to the table than its predecessor, and the story is more interesting and far less generic, despite still not being brilliant.
Palatable graphics and solid audio make this Sniper Elite title playable in 2020, but I would still give it a miss and pick up the remaster.
Sniper Elite V2 Remastered (2019)
While Sniper Elite V2 Remastered shares the same map design as the original release,The new lighting system, foliage, and overall graphical fidelity have brought the Sniper Elite V2 world alive with a vibrancy and depth that was impossible in 2012.
Audio is crisp and clean, and the control scheme feels far closer to a modern title, and less like trying to wrangle a drunk cat, something the older sniper elite titles suffer from in 2020 on new systems /high resolutions.
We see Sniper Elite 4’s version of the sniper kill cam return in all its gory detail, something which I am sure someone is happy to see, I find it immersion breaking and tacky, but to each their own.
The AI is far smart than the original sniper Elite v2 and shares more in common with their Sniper Elite 3 brethren than the initial V2 release.
The addition of all previous optional DLC into the base game is great for those who may not have owned it originally.
Multiplayer also saw a boost with seven unique pvp and co-op modes, as well as seven new playable characters from the Zombie Army games.
Finally, there is the addition of photo mode for those who wish to have keepsakes of their most epic kills and worse fails.
Sniper Elite III (2014)
Sniper Elite 3 swaps the confined/box-like maps of its ancestors for an expansive semi open-world. At the same time, each story mission has its map, the amount of territory that map encompasses has been given a shot in the arm since Sniper Elite V2, with rivers, camps, cities, depots, ruins, bases, mountains and more being added to the map, up until this point Sniper Elite had never been more immersive.
The graphics in Sniper Elite 3 look great still in 2020, as well as the audio, which now feels more immersive than ever due to the greater attention to ambient and direction audio.
The AI has once again gone back to school and now can perform better as a group, such as coordinated searches, while it still has the perception of a dead toad, it least makes an effort to find the sniper.
Ghosting is now a core gameplay element and the concept of kill > relocate > kill > repeat is necessary to be efficient. At the same time, Sniper Elite $ expands upon and improves this system greatly, sniper Elite 3 at the time was revolutionary.
Overall it’s a superior quality game and one which fans of the genre will greatly enjoy in 2020.
Sniper Elite 4 (2017)
Sniper Elite 4 Ramps up everything that made Sniper Elite 3 so good, with a larger emphasis on large open spaces, the world feels massive, and fully exploring each map takes a considerable amount of time, as you search for the best locations to take your shots.
Unlike earlier titles in the series you now have almost complete autonomy in regards to how you complete your mission, do you stalk the streets as a ghost with traps and long-range kills? or do you prefer going in John Wickes style and decimating the nazi forces at close range, both methods are possible, but honestly stealth is the most fun, and Sniper Elite 4 has elevated the stealth gameplay to the pinnacle of the genre
Once again the AI have been good little soldiers and brushed upon their training, now the Ai will sweep buildings, split into groups, look for high ground etc., the leap in AI intelligence between Sniper Elite 3 and Sniper Elite 4 is not as huge a leap as between Sniper Elite V2 and Sniper Elite 3. Still, it’s an impressive leap none the less.
A fantastic game with stunning visuals, breathtaking world-building and near-perfect gameplay mechanics make this a love letter to fans of the sniper/stealth genre.
Hitman Sniper Challenge (2012)
While not a game and almost impossible to get hold of in 2020 outside of third-party/grey market resellers, Hitman Sniper Challenge is a great playable demo that whose unlocked carried over to the acclaimed Hitman Absolution upon release.
A single mission with a dozen or so optional hidden objectives kept people busy in 2012 while they awaited Hitman Absolution, certainly worth a play, if you own it, but not worth buying a key considering most third-party sellers are charging around 20usd per key, for what is essentially a 15-minute game.
Sniper: Ghost Warrior (2010)
Sniper Ghost Warrior, looks stunning for its age, as with all games powered by CryEngine its graphical depth and clarity is roughly 3-5 years ahead of anything else that was available on the market at the time.
Despite looking a far sight prettier and being a Playstation 3 era title, the feel of the Sniper: Ghost Warrior is decidedly Playstation 1 era, and that is no insult, that era of gaming gave us some fantastic titles, and the design philosophy behind.
Its age, however, shows in multiple areas, chief among them the awful mouse controls, terrible dialogue and poor quality voice overs, everyone sounds like they were cast on the spur of the moment during a company BBQ, and recorded their lines on a Nokia flip phone.
The world feels larger than it is due to wonderful world-building and map design, giving an almost Far Cry quality to the title.
The blood and kill cam effects are a poor quality attempt to recreate the Sniper Elite kill cam, later games in the Sniper: Ghost Warrior series refines this bullet cam, and it’s honestly more immersive than the Xray kills of Sniper Elite in the long run.
Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2 (2013)
Sniper Ghost Warrior 2 expands upon everything that made Sniper Ghost Warrior a niche success, as well as addresses some of the major issues with the first title in the series.
Right off the back Sniper Ghost Warrior, 2 offers a deeper more mil-sim approach to sniping than the Sniper Elite or Sniper Ghost Warrior, for some this will be offputting however I feel it’s introduced well enough through tutorials so everyone can get enjoyment from the title, the addition of difficulty levels allows those who want a more arcade-like experience to still enjoy the title to its fullest.
The weapons models would not look out of place in a AAA release today, and the world itself is stunning.
On the voice acting front, the dialogue is now on par with any action movie, and the recording/acting quality of the voice overs is superb, for me this was one of the most important areas of progress between Sniper Ghost Warrior, and Sniper Ghost Warrior 2.
The AI has gone to school and is less likely to stare at you like a target dummy to be mowed down, they hit hard and react fast, something which adds both challenge and immersion to the title.
A wider selection of weapons and gear rounds out what is already an exceptional title.
Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 (2017)
Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 focuses more on horizontal evolution than vertical, having almost perfectly captured mil-sim aspects of sniping in Sniper Ghost Warrior 2, instead focuses on expanding the world and gameplay options.
With large open-world maps, dynamic weather, crafting, and a Far Cry like approach to completing objectives, you have almost complete autonomy to get revenge and bring stability at the same time, talk about multi-tasking!
The world is not only larger but better looking, with the almost next-gen level of detail and graphical fidelity you cannot help but be impressed by the power of CryEngine.
It’s not all good news, however, the intro cutscene while attempting to build the backstory of our playable character comes across as comic, with stunted dialogue and horrifically bad facial animations, that thankfully do not plague the game itself.
That being said, it’s worth ploughing through the terrible flashback movie to watch nightmarish butterface versions of Johnathon and Robert North interact.
The story is solid, however, is very much the generic action movie plot, with your character being the “hero who goes rogue/did some bad stuff for good reasons/has an axe to grind, and does not go by the book”.
Overall, a solid game, that surprisingly still has functional multiplayer matchmaking.