A Review of the Sniper Elite Franchise

Sniper Elite 5 came out just a few months ago. While some gamers have already completed every mission, many of us are still working our way through or haven’t started yet. Since the first in the series was released, over 20 million Sniper Elite fans have loved taking OSS agent Karl Fairburne through missions and killing as many enemies in violently creative ways.

If you’re thinking of purchasing the most recent entry and seeing what all the fuss is about, you might want to consider checking out the previous games to get the full experience.

You don’t need to play all of them to understand and enjoy Sniper Elite 5. However, it’s sometimes fun to be a completist and understand how each game leads to the next. Here is a look back at all the Sniper Elite games in order to give you a sense of how the series has evolved over time.

Sniper Elite

This is the game that started it all, and revolutionized the sniper genre of video games. It starts with OSS Karl Fairburne fighting in the Battle of Berlin in World War II. He’s a German expatriate, so he can speak the language and move around the city more easily than his American comrades. While part of his work is to kill nazis, his primary goal is to prevent their nuclear secrets to fall into the Soviet army’s hands.

Along the way, he will work with various factions in the city, including the German resistance and some soviets as well. There are several high-priority targets to eliminate, and henchmen and other enemies that get in the way. From the very beginning, Sniper Elite places a focus on stealth, rather than shoot-em-up action.

The defining feature of the series is the bullet cam. This is a shot that follows the bullet after you fire it until it hits or misses its target. You can watch as it is pushed by wind resistance and gravity, and then as it strikes the body of the target.

Sniper Elite 2

Instead of a sequel, the Sniper Elite franchise went with what is essentially a reboot. Fairburne is again in Berlin in 1945, and this time his goal is to kill or capture nazi scientists involved in their nuclear program. He again has to battle through nazis and Soviet forces to achieve his objectives.

The gameplay remained similar, but this is the game that introduced another defining feature of the franchise. Along with the bullet cam, Sniper Elite 2 boasted the X-ray kill cam.

This meant that not only can you follow the bullet to its final destination, but if you are on target you will see an incredibly graphic x-ray shot of the bullet going through the body of the victim. You can watch organs, or other sensitive spots, get demolished as your shot enters the body. While it is bloody and gory, it is also delightfully fun.

Sniper Elite 3

They did an original and a reboot, and for the third entry, the Sniper Elite franchise went with a prequel. In this installment, Karl is in Africa in 1942 to battle the Afrika Korps with the British army. This third game opened up the world of the game for players, with more freedom of movement, and more ways to kill enemies. You get points for being creative and for the level of difficulty for getting kills, such as using traps. These points accumulate to help you achieve promotions and other bonuses.

The x-ray cam remains, but it is given an update. You can now see your bullet blast through the muscular, skeletal, and cardiovascular systems in a more in-depth and detailed way. You can also now watch your bullet enter into inanimate objects, such as the fuel tanks of vehicles. Experiencing the resulting explosions can be very satisfying.


If you are looking through the Sniper Elite games on YuPlay, you might notice some games that don’t have a number designation. These are fun “what-if” games that are set in alternate locations and universes. For example, there is Sniper Elite: Nazi Zombie Army, where you battle through undead hordes to complete your missions.

There are 4 zombie games, and the focus in these is on action and adventure rather than stealth. It’s a fun way to connect the realism and intensity of the main game series to the horror genre.

Sniper Elite 4

Sniper Elite 4 is a direct sequel to the third game, and takes place in Italy in 1943. In this game, Karl is tasked with infiltrating a nazi island and killing the general and his underlings that control it. They sunk a British ship and are using film footage for propaganda, and also happen to have a devastating weapon in their possession.

Along the way, Karl will build allies with the local resistance effort and even the local Mafia syndicate. At the end of the game, he is officially recruited into the OSS, which leads to the events of the very first game. This installment further elevates gameplay, and adds the x-ray kill camera to every type of kill. In previous games, you did not get that feature in melee battles or with shrapnel kills. Up until its release, Sniper Elite 4 is generally thought of as the best in the franchise.

Sniper Elite 5

What can you expect in Sniper Elite 5? It continues the adventures of Karl Fairburne in World War 2. This time in France, his missions involve preparing the beaches of Normandy for the coming Allied invasion. You can expect more stunning graphics and visceral kill shots that are both terrifying and gratifying.

One of the top new features is that you can go through a campaign with another player, and a third player can join in and try to snipe you off. Weapon customization becomes a major selling point, and the world of the game is bigger and more detailed than in previous installments. There is good reason to believe that the 5th of Karl’s adventures will be the best game of all.

The fact is, 20 million gamers and 9 video games mean that this franchise is still going strong. People continue to connect with the games, the character, and the outstanding graphics that the series has to offer. Dive right in at any point of the series and you are sure to get your first-person and stealth fighter fix and hundreds of hours of gameplay.