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Essays 28 October 2021, 16:00

author: Darius Matusiak

A wannabe fighter pilot, racing driver, and a spec-op; an adventurer and a space marine – hence, a gamer. I’ve been playing games since Wing Commander, and writing since Destiny.

The Best Sniper Games 2021: One Shot One Kill!

A sniper rifle with a scope are an irresistible duo found in almost every shooter. However, only a few titles enable you to feel like a real sniper. Here are the best sniper games where you can play as a marksmen.

One shot – one kill. Or rather, one click – one frag. Using a big rifle and a scope seems to have some special charm, because many players, and even novice airsoft fans, tend to reach for this type of weapon right from the start. It's probably all about that unique feeling of playing the stealthy assassin who watches targets through the scope, takes an accurate shot and then disappears. The fun of landing shots at great distances, which even in virtual reality requires a bit more effort and skill, is also a big part of the appeal.

Of course, sitting comfortably in front of a monitor, there is no way to experience the real inconveniences of sniper missions. This can include having to lie motionless for hours in one place, often in harsh conditions – snow, mud, sand, mosquitoes... you name it. You don't have to be a master of camouflage, which even the best shooters can have trouble with, and most importantly, you don't need to be able to make complicated calculations of scope settings depending on wind strength, distance, temperature and many other factors.

Games heavily oversimplify many factors, while greatly exaggerating others. One reason is the limitations of game engines in the range of terrain drawing, so that scopes often zoom in more than they should. Likewise, it unnaturally increases bullet drop at distances where it is usually negligible and brightens the enemy sniper's optics reflexes a lot to make them easier to locate.

Interestingly, very few games released to date focus solely on the profession of snipers. Many titles simply allow you to use sniper rifles and, on occasion, offer a few related mechanics and missions. And it's even harder to find a real sniper game simulator where getting into the target area, waiting in place for a long time, firing an extremely difficult shot, and retreating from the enemy area is the clou. Most sniper games simply allow you to select a rifle with a scope to be better at long-distance gunplay. So, here are the best and most extreme examples of sniper games. We tried to choose those sniper games that you will find on all popular platforms: PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, PS4 and PS5.

The Best Sniper Games:

Sniper Elite 4

Release year: 2017

Developer: Rebellion

Platform: PC, PS4, XONE,. Switch, PS5, XSX

Best sniper rifles in Sniper Elite 4: Gewehr 43, Mosin-Nagant M91/30, Carcano M91/41

Sniper Elite 4 – it’s all about sniping! - The Best Sniper Games: One Shot One Kill! - dokument - 2021-10-28
Sniper Elite 4 – it’s all about sniping!

In a nutshell

You can’t write about best sniper games without Sniper Elite 4. The fourth installment of the adventures of Karl Fairburne, a sniper and OSS agent, takes us to picturesque Italy to lay the ground for the Allied counteroffensive from Africa. The plot focuses on the Germans' secret plans to create a wunderwaffe to turn the tide of the war, and cooperation with the local resistance. Traditionally, the series' calling card is here, namely the X-ray shots depicting what a bullet does to the human body right after it hits. In addition to the main missions, there are side quests and a pretty extensive selection of sniper (and non-sniper) weapons from World-War-II era.

What does a typical sniper mission look like?

Sniper Elite 4 is a combination of stealth and sniping, playing as Karl, a secret OSS agent. So, apart from typical shooting, exploration of locations is an integral part of the missions, and there, a pistol with a silencer comes in handy more often. Semi-open maps have been designed for this type of gameplay, bringing both sniper nests for clearing enemy camps from a distance and detailed building interiors.

The fourth part introduced the ability to fire the farthest shots in the series to date, at a distance of about half a mile. After checking the distance to the enemy with binoculars, we have to make appropriate adjustments of the scope. The scale here allows for corrections every 100 meters, so in the case of some intermediate values, e.g. 140 meters, you have to show a little intuition. At higher levels of difficulty, there is also a correction for wind, and in either case, a standard holding of breath. In part four, there were also interactive elements of the environment, which could be triggered by an accurate shot.

Overall, Sniper Elite 4 is a fairly accessible, arcade version of sniper crafting, with slightly exaggerated mechanics to make ranged shots stand out more. The game's big selling point is the raw, traditional look of the era's weapons, although those who prefer a more shiny look will also find something for themselves in the skin collection.

  1. Sniper Elite 4 in our encyclopedia

CS GO – Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

Release year: 2012

Developer: Valve Software

Platform: PC, Xbox 360, PS3

Best sniper rifles in CS GO: AWP, SSG 08 (scout), SCAR-20 (autorifle)

 

In a nutshell

The immortal CS GO probably needs no introduction. Exciting online clashes between two teams: terrorists and anti-terrorists have been with us in different versions for over 20 years. For some, CS GO became an e-sport, for others, a tool to collect or trade extremely valuable skins, and for most, a way to spend free time. Regardless of what you enjoy in Counter Strike Global Offensive, everyone probably has a history of running around with an AWP or Scout to score quick frags.

What does a typical sniper mission look like?

Practically it doesn't look like anything, because it's hard to talk about missions in Counter Strike. There's no use of typical anti-terrorist tactics, i.e. placing snipers on rooftops or other vantage points and waiting for a convenient moment to shoot. In fast-paced matches, a player armed with a sniper rifle is just part of his team, so they stay close to their companions and usually have to be constantly on the move. The sniper rifle is most often used for quick scope mechanics, which involves very quick elimination of enemies who run into the crosshair. Not very realistic, but it works well.

  1. Counter Strike: Global Offensive in our encyclopedia

Call Of Duty: Warzone

Release year: 2020

Developer: Raven Software / Infinity ward

Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, XONE, XSX

Best sniper rifles in Warzone: Kar98k, Swiss K31, Pelington 703, AX-50, HDR

In a nutshell

Although it seemed there was no more room on the market for another battle royale, the popularity of the Call of Duty series, the new, greatly improved engine of the new Call of Duty Modern Warfare, and the free distribution model compelled millions of players to try CoD: Warzone. Call of Duty has so far been dominated by quick-scoping with sniper rifles, but it turned out that the mechanics of shooting from small locations with a little modification also work well on a huge map in battle royale mode. And then there's the excitement of a map shrinking, leaving fewer and fewer teams on the map.

In general, sniper weapons aren't recommended in Warzone – most of them are heavy, ponderous, take forever to reload, and aiming is awkward. But there's one exception: the Swiss K31. It resembles Kar98k a little, which is another marksman rifle; both guns are great over long distances, and they're the best weapons to chose if you need to learn quick scopes.

What does a typical sniper mission look like?

Assuming you've managed to get your hands on a sniper rifle (which isn't always a given in battle royale), playing with such weapon be very different than the standard quick scope. Huge spaces on the map allow you to act like a sniper, i.e. hide in a vantage point, in the so-called high-traffic areas, where other players may appear particularly often, if only in search of loot. Verdansk is also a heavily vertical map, so there's good opportunities for snipers to find elevated locations with good view. The shrinking of the map makes it impossible to camp in one place for too long, so every sniper has to be ready to quickly change positions from time to time, and in the case of surviving to the very end, have a very close range weapon at hand as well. Bear in mind, too, that sniper rifles in Warzone are revealed with the scope reflection from miles away, so there's a specific risk to using them.

Do we still remember PUBG?

When talking about battle royale snipers, one must mention a game that probably has its prime time behind it, but will forever be remembered as the game that launched the battle royale phenomenon. Before Warzone, Playerunknown's Battlegrounds was home to thrilling clashes. At first, there was a fight over the sniper rifle itself – a prized possession usually found in random drops, attracting many players. Later, you could play as actual sniper, that is take a vantage point overlooking a cluster of buildings where others will be looking for loot and attempt landing accurate shots at moving targets.

  1. Call Of Duty: Warzone in our encyclopedia

Battlefield (series)

Release years: 2002 – to date

Developer: DICE

Platforms: PC, PS4, XONE, PS5, XSX

Best sniper rifles in Battlefield series: M1917 Enfield Silenced (BF1), Lee-Enfield No4 Mk1 (BF5), Kar98k (BF5),

In a nutshell

Like CS GO, the Battlefield series probably doesn't need a detailed introduction. For almost 20 years, it has been providing us with extraordinary emotions during great, full-scale online battles. And that means not only footsoldier battles, but also tanks, armored vehicles, planes, helicopters, and in some installments also ships, horses, or huge Zeppelins! No matter what era of war Battlefield presents us with – modern conflicts, Vietnam, World War I or World War II – there's always room for sniper action. Lone wolves can work just as well here as close-knit teams providing the sniper with protection and an extra pair of eyes when observing targets.

What does a typical sniper mission look like?

Battlefield mixes typical arcade gameplay with the feeling of participating in a real-world conflict in just the right way. The maps are large enough to shoot at distances typical of a sniper, and they don't shrink by any battle-royale mechanics, so as a sniper, you can spend a reasonably long time in a vantage point – usually until enemies locate you. And the threat may come not only from other soldiers, but also from vehicles, even helicopters and fighter jets. Aside from the atmosphere of waiting for that one shot, there's nothing stopping you from being highly mobile and using quick-scope tactics. And it's the only game where you can count on all sorts of sniper moments #onlyinbattlefield!

  1. Battlefield 2042 in our encyclopedia

Sniper: Ghost Warrior Contracts 2

Release year: 2021

Producer: CI Games

Platforms: PC, PS4, XONE, XSX, PS5

Best sniper rifles in Sniper Ghost Warrior Contracts 2: UK 50, MSSR 10, LSRR MYSH 2

In a nutshell

Sniper: Ghost Warrior series has a long history and in the absence of any competition, even those first, not entirely successful installments gained considerable popularity, if only due to the subject. After a big failure the the attempt to release a sandbox game was, CI Games focused on a formula closer to the Sniper Elite and Hitman series, that is, smaller maps and a combination of sniping with a typical, stealthy exploration of locations with more buildings. Sniper: Ghost Warrior Contracts 2 has improved many of its predecessor's shortcomings and is now the best installment in the entire series and one of the best sniper games. It has very nice views of Middle Eastern landscapes, satisfying shooting model, and an acceptable mini-storyline with climatic movie cut-scenes.

What does a typical sniper mission look like?

In the second installment of Contracts, we have to deal with two types of locations. Smaller enemy camps and buildings can be cleared from a distance of a few hundred meters or so, or infiltrated by stealth, since you usually have to pass through them anyway. You can also combine both of these approaches. Some locations, however, allow for record-breaking shots at a distance of over a kilometer and there, we act like a typical sniper – we take down targets and withdraw to safety, without having to visit the areas from which we wanted to keep away.

Shooting from a thousand yards doesn't increase the difficulty level on one hand, because the exaggerated zoom of the scope still allows you to clearly distinguish targets. Longer distance is felt in the time it takes the bullet to cover that distance. With a few seconds between pulling the trigger and reaching the target, the subject can change position and the shot will turn out to be a "miss". This forces you to choose your targets much more carefully. Each such "miles-long shooting range" is generally a puzzle of sorts, in which you have to figure out the right order to eliminate enemies so as not to raise alarms.

It's just a shame that we only sporadically have to deal with truly sniper thrills, i.e. covering the escape of a VIP and the need to properly identify the target before shooting. Another simplification is the lack of proper exfiltration, or leaving the mission area. At the beginning, we arrive in a helicopter in a climatic sequence, but we finish the mission by running into a beam of light coming from the sand... Apart from that, it's the standard operation, i.e. setting the scope and taking corrections for distance and wind. Unfortunately, the game is not licensed to real weapons and contains made-up brands of guns, and the skins available have nothing to do with realistic paints.

  1. Sniper: Ghost Warrior Contracts 2 in our encyclopedia

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Wildlands

Release year: 2017

Developer: Ubisoft

Platforms: PC, PS4, XONE, XSX, PS5

Best sniper rifles in Wildlands: SR-25 Jungle, Desert Tech HTI BDC, MK14

In a nutshell

Yes, there is a newer Ghost Recon installment subtitled Breakpoint, but given its not-so-great performance, the overall vibe of the new adventure, and much more, the older Wildlands is still the preferred choice. Virtual Bolivia, with its realistic locations recreated in this installment, is still breathtaking in its landscapes, whether you traverse the map on foot, by helicopter, or boat. The plot itself is also much more atmospheric and believable. In Ghost Recon: Wildlands, we take on the role of a member of the Ghosts' special forces in order to weaken and ultimately eliminate a drug cartel rampant in the country. Traditionally for Ubisoft games, we have an open world and full freedom of action.

What does a typical sniper mission look like?

Wildlands is a typical arcade game. The ballistics and the shooting itself is somehow not particularly complicated here. There is no influence of wind on the bullet's flight path, but the lack of ability to adjust the optical sights, set firmly at about 200 meters, is quite a handicap. This means that you have to compensate for larger distances yourself by appropriately lifting the scope's crosshair. Another inconvenience is the limitations of the game engine, which is able to draw characters at 700 meters tops. A feet more and the target disappears!

What makes up for these flaws is the immense freedom, as the sniper missions here look just the way we want them to. You can start by traveling to the designated area by helicopter, ATV or boat, and then continue on foot in search of a convenient observation point. The game world is teeming with civilians – so be sure to accurately identify your victim before pulling the trigger. When playing solo, we are always accompanied by three teammates, so you can take advantage of synchronized shooting. For dessert, there are also very large customization options of your commando to resemble the snipers of real units or movie characters, although a larger selection of rifles would not go amiss.

And the moment when Ghost Recon: Wildlands really starts showing teeth is when you're playing the co-op, preferably with interface turned off. Then, the immersion is really amazing and makes you feel like a special forces operator behind enemy lines with a secret mission to complete. There are shortcomings in terms of realism, but you can turn a blind eye to them with such a huge expanse of available terrain, freedom of action, and beautiful visuals.

Similar open-world freedom can also be found in the Far Cry series from the same studio, such as the recent Far Cry 5 and Far Cry 6. The gameplay there is even more action-oriented, and the atmosphere is less militaristic, but the sandbox-like freedom and vast space teeming with enemy camps guarantee a lot of sniping fun. It’s not a sniper game but it’s worth checking out.

  1. Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Wildlands in our encyclopedia

Hitman (trilogy)

Release years: 2016 – 2021

Developer: IO Interactive

Platforms: PS5, XSX, XONE, PS4, PC, Switch

Best sniper rifles in Hitman: Hackl Levithan Sniper Rifle Covert, White Sieger 300 Ghost

In a nutshell

Another example of a good sniper game. Although the reboot of the Hitman series was released as three separate games over the course of a decade, it's hard not to treat this production as a single entity. After all, the games share the same menus, continue story threads, and the maps from subsequent sequels only increase in size. The series' protagonist, the iconic contract killer Agent 47, is not strictly a sniper, but he certainly is no stranger to the sniper rifle. Each contract is set on a sizable map full of buildings, nooks and crannies, and can be executed in almost any way you please, and firing a stealthy shot from a distance is among them.

What does a typical sniper mission look like?

The titular Hitman is not a soldier, he doesn't operate in a theater of war, so his mode of operation is a little different. The first problem during a mission is smuggling the sniper rifle into the location, and then discreetly reaching a convenient vantage point, which can be more challenging than landing the shoot itself. This is because the ballistics are very simplistic and distances are short. The challenge is finding the target in a crowd of civilians, hitting the, usually moving, object, and very discreetly retreating to the extraction point. Despite the lack of emphasis on realism, Hitman certainly provides a unique opportunity to test your sniping skills in a crowded urban environment.

  1. Hitman 3 in our encyclopedia

Escape from Tarkov

Release year: 2016 (alpha version); in closed beta since 2017

Developer: Battlestate Games

Platforms: PC

Best sniper rifles in Escape from Tarkov: SVD, RSASS, Mosin

In a nutshell

Escape from Tarkov is one of the most hardcore, uncompromising online shooters, and as such – still far from its final version. The idea behind it is simple – start at point A and get to one of the exits, collecting more or less valuable items along the way. In Tarkov, however, there's an absolute lack of rules. Single players are cast into the same raid as well-communicated teams armed to the teeth. Characters at levels 1-5 face off against veterans at level 40+. You can die from a single shot if you don't understand the rules of bulletproof vests and dozens of types of ammunition for each weapon. In addition, each death usually entails losing of everything you owned, and the need to start the mission completely over.

And the scariest part is that you usually feel like you're alone on the server when traversing Tarkov's locations. It's empty and there is often absolutely nothing going on. Only it's a very illusory feeling; other players are there, some even look like AI bots, if they just enter a match as a faction of local Scavs, and sooner or later, there will be a quick and brutal exchange of fire. Or you'll just get sniped out from afar.

What does a typical sniper mission look like?

Let's be honest – being a hated camper. The sniper in Escape from Tarkov consciously chooses a rifle with a scope, goes to a point that provides a convenient view of the high traffic areas – and waiting! And the wait can be really long, because it's not at all certain that someone will show up in a particular location in this raid, even if it's at the starting point of the map. The shot itself usually has to be fired at a moving target that's able and likely to return fire if missed. So it's a good idea to have a predetermined escape route.

On top of that, getting the sniper rifle of your dreams takes a really huge effort in EoT. It involves visiting the most dangerous locations and counting on luck – first with random RNG algorithms drawing the loot, and later when evacuating the map. The second option is to reach character level 20 and unlock access to the in-game store, where you can buy all possible parts and weapons. And here, Escape from Tarkov is a real paradise for gun lovers, as it brings a detailed gunsmith mode that allows you to disassemble the rifle into parts, and you won't find so many accessories in any other title.

  1. Escape from Tarkov in our encyclopedia

Squad

Release year: 2020 (early access from 2015)

Developer: Offworld Industries

Platforms: PC

Best sniper rifles in Squad: M110 SASS, L129A1, SVDM, SVD

In a nutshell

Squad is an extremely realistic simulator of a modern soldier (or a rebel standing on the other side). It puts emphasis on cooperation in the team, so it's multiplayer-only, pitting up to a hundred players against each other on very large maps. The key to victory is communicating, helping each other, working together, and a band that knows what to do – both at the team level and the army level.

The gameplay in Squad is very slow and tactical. Nothing can happen for 40 minutes, and then, all of a sudden, a cannonade breaks out, with enemies ambushing you, armored vehicles rolling and helicopters roaring. A lone wolf can't achieve anything here – either you're part of a team, or you're left running around the map like a headless chicken.

What does a typical sniper mission look like?

They're quite different from popular action games. In this game, the number of accessories and weapons to choose from doesn't matter – each army has only one type of weapon. In Squad, we are not a sniper, but a marksman – a team member, but with a scope on the rifle (so called DMR, Designated Marksman Rifle). Provided we can reserve such a role in time, as there's limited number of marksmen slots. And even if we do – there's a good chance that the commander will immediately remove such a delinquent from the squad! You can, of course, try to form your own team and operate on your own terms, but that's not what this game is about.

So, why might choosing a rifle with a scope make the commander so angry? Marksman in the Squad is one of the most important roles. They are the eyes and ears of the team, equipped with the optical viewfinder and rangefinder binoculars. Considering how hard it is to spot an enemy at distances the game offers, this has to be someone who knows exactly what they are doing and how important a role they are taking on. The survival of the entire team practically depends on it, not your personal K/D ratio. Communication, observation, staying close to the team, judicious choice of targets and the moment of opening fire, once again communication and observation – this is what a sniper mission in Squad looks like.

A sharpshooter, or sniper, operates on similar principles to Squad in realistic online second-war shooters: Post Scriptum and Hell Let Loose.

  1. Squad in our encyclopedia

Arma 3

Release year: 2013

Developer: Bohemia Interactive Studio

Platforms: PC

Best sniper rifles in Arma 3: GM6 Lynx,

In a nutshell

Despite being 8 years old, Arma 3 still remains the most compelling and rich in content soldier simulator on the market. It offers single-player capmaigns and missions, co-op, and PvP multi-player. At the time of its release, its highlight was a feature campaign depicting a fictional conflict on a Greek island, but no one is likely to remember it now. Once there were a lot of add-ons to expand gameplay options, and even more important were the countless modifications created by the community around the game.

Realistic infantry action, and slightly less realistic tanks, helicopters, and planes have been enhanced with a choice of almost every faction, unit, or equipment used in battle. Arma 3 today is about war in Vietnam and the Middle East, clashes between NATO and the Warsaw Pact, or Navy Seals against ISIS fighters. The list is endless and Arma 3 is in fact similar to GTA 5 – immortal and still great, but in serious, a military setting. It's a game where you can choose your own soldier, role, and conflict, it just takes a bit of effort to sort out and upload the appropriate add-ons.

The developers have even released an official DLC – Marksmen – which adds several sniper weapons and gadgets, missions, and options focused on long-range shooting.

What does a typical sniper mission look like?

Just as the mission creator requested! It can be a simple task of going to point A and firing a shot, or a long mil-sim-style co-op mission. The multitude of mods and add-ons to choose from allows you to select almost any rifle, uniform or ghillie suit, as well as the location and era of the armed conflict. Some take place in open terrain, others in urban areas. Exchange of fire happens at really long distances, so you'll always need to zero your scope, and with mods that increase realism, like the ACE3, it's even worth getting a ballistic calculator and laser rangefinder.

This is the only game (or rather: simulator) where you have to take into account the exit velocity of the bullet, its size, the current air pressure, humidity and temperature, the speed of the target, its direction, the shooting angle and a few more things. The list is long, and all that together manages to show just how complicated it really is to make that one, accurate, long range shot. It's probably hard to find a greater opposite to the popular quickscope in online games, although all these games use the same weapon models.

  1. Arma 3 in our encyclopedia

Darius Matusiak | Gamepressure.com

Battlefield 2042

Battlefield 2042

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive

Hitman 3

Hitman 3

Call of Duty: Warzone

Call of Duty: Warzone

Sniper: Ghost Warrior Contracts 2

Sniper: Ghost Warrior Contracts 2

Battlefield 4

Battlefield 4

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Wildlands

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Wildlands

Sniper Elite 4

Sniper Elite 4

Arma III

Arma III

Escape from Tarkov

Escape from Tarkov

Squad

Squad

Best Crossplay Games 2021 - Play With Your Friends!
Best Crossplay Games 2021 - Play With Your Friends!

If you have a PC and your friend has a PS4, that doesn't mean you can't play together. There are multiplayer crossplay games that you can still play even if you have different hardware. Here's a list of cross-platform games for 2021.

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