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The Sniper Elite series fills a void in my life that I, before playing them, didn’t know was there. In these games, you get to wander around cool environments and shoot Nazis in the testicles. Or other places. You can shoot Nazis anywhere you like. Just remember that head shots aren’t the only thing on the table. I digress. So, when I got a chance to take a look at the latest entry in the series, Sniper Elite 5, I was ecstatic.

The demo level for this preview is set around a French chateau. S.S. Officer Abelard Möller has taken control of the chateau and turned it into a Nazi stronghold. Our mission is to drastically reduce the amount of Nazi testicles in the region. I was born for this role. With my rifle, SMG, and pistol, I headed into the belly of the beast.

1940s France

Rural France is a beautiful setting for a game. So, an immediate stand out in Sniper Elite 5 is the scenery. Rebellion’s environment artists and level designers had a field day with this one. Lush green meadows and whispering rivers lead you up to your target area. Of course, there are also Nazis to shoot along the way. You couldn’t ask for a nicer venue!

One of the things I love about the Sniper Elite series is how the maps are designed. Most of the maps are on the larger side and offer multiple avenues to your goal. Not having any luck with one route? Try another! And that doesn’t just go for the surface areas, there are a lot of little tunnels, caves, and catacombs that come out in surprising places.

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The gameplay

Beautiful environments aside, we’re all here for the same thing – slow motion replays of Nazis getting shot in the nads. If you haven’t played one of these games you might not understand the appeal. Let me explain.

You can hold your breath while aiming to get high precision shots. A little crosshair pops up on your screen and shows where your bullet will ultimately land. If where you shot was particularly good, according to the game engine, you get a slow motion replay. Not only that, the replay shows an x-ray of the target with the bullet making its way through their body. The bullet will meet different organs and say hello in the way only a bullet can. One of those internal organs is Nazi testicles.

Other than the grandeur of the slow motion shots, the guns feel good in Sniper Elite 5. With your rifle, the game gives you a few options and tweaks. For instance, you can use regular or silenced ammo. Silenced ammo is limited, so it’s best to save for those shots for when you absolutely must remain quiet.

Speaking of stealth, strategy is king when killing Nazis. There are sound sources throughout the game that can muffle a rifle shot. These environmental cues spit out loud noises on a regular basis. Combine this with the ability to mark enemies, revealing their facing on the map, and you can time your shots to minimize notice. A little timing can save you the trouble of being bum-rushed by ball-defending Nazis.

The celebrity’s ball

Did I mention that there’s DLC that lets you shoot Hitler? I will never get tired of shooting Hitler. Ever. This, and many others, are the reason, Sniper Elite 5 is currently one of my most anticipated releases of the summer. Creeping around France spreading liberty, one set of testicles at a time (or in Hitler’s case, testicle), sounds like a party to me.

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