Sniper games are about perching at the top of a structure and perforating holes using the aid of a high-calibre rifle away through bad guys.
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Unfortunately, there are not many games that focus only on making the player feel such as the best phantom warrior, however there really are an enormous variety of games with sniper missions and realistic sniping mechanisms to fulfill that itchy trigger finger of yours.
Let your action movie dreams are indulged by us in the comfort of your house. Here would be the most effective sniper games on PC:
- Sniper Elite 3
Sniping is fun and all, but wouldn’t it be better if we could see the damage each bullet caused in stomach-churning detail? Whether that means blowing a Nazi general’s testicle off or watching a bullet carve a path through a soldier’s spinal column, Sniper Elite 3’s X-ray killcam will keep you playing for far, far too long.
Sniper Elite 3 is more of a sandbox game than its predecessor, so you’ll have to plot your own path of destruction through each one, performing impromptu vasectomies, timing shots with claps of thunder or engine splutters to remain hidden, and sliding knives across the necks of German soldiers – it’s up to you how you get the job done. However, make a mistake and you’ll have an entire military base to answer to, so it’s best to relocate after every undisguised shot or lobbed grenade to avoid an unwinnable fight.
- Arma 3
Being a sniper in Arma 3 is no mean feat. It’s a war simulator, and as such it prides itself on painstaking realism – you’ll have to use a rangefinder, zero your scope and steady your breath ahead of every long-range shot. You’ll also have to engage with extreme caution, as making your position known when you’re operating as a ghost behind enemy lines will get you killed very quickly.
Arma 3 is so realistic in fact, that some snipers pair up with a spotter who handles all the sums for them and points out new targets. Unlike many sniper games, Arma 3 makes sniping a cooperative experience. Better still, Arma 3 is always receiving new updates and expansions, so you are never too late to fall in love with this military simulator.
- Battlefield 1
Online matches with 64 players means one important thing: more targets. And not just the boring old on-the-ground targets either, you can take out a plane’s pilot and watch it plummet from the sky, or explode a jeep from a mile away with the help of the Tank Hunter’s behemoth 13mm anti-tank rifle. You’ll also be dealing with century-old equipment, which makes long-range shots incredibly difficult to pull off thanks to extreme bullet drop and antique rifle scopes – it’s tricky to get a handle on, but you’ll still have a huge advantage over everyone else at long range.
Battlefield 1 also has a sniper mission in its spectacular single-player campaign, which sees you ghost your way through a village occupied by German soldiers, armed with a sharpened spade and a silenced sniper rifle. The gameplay is a huge departure from the scripted bombast of the campaign’s other levels, leaving the player free to tackle this sandbox-like mission at their own pace.
While there isn’t a sniper role in Squad, there is a marksman class – and if you don’t think there’s a difference between the two then Squad probably isn’t for you. This game is all about teamwork, and as such there’s no room for lone wolf roles like snipers. A marksman’s job on other hand, is to accompany the fire team wherever they go, providing the team with a response to longer-range fire and generally extending their effective reach when attacking and defending.
Communication and teamplay are essential Squad, even for prospective snipers. Engaging targets over 500 metres away will yield little success, but a higher-magnification scope and superior stopping power ensure the marksman always has the upper hand in long-range skirmishes. Just the way it should be.
It’s not as realistic as Arma, nor is it user-friendly and frag-laden as a Call of Duty game – Insurgency is somewhere between the two. Don’t expect much in the way of bullet drop, as not only does most of the action in Insurgency play out across urban battlefields, Insurgency also started out as a Half-Life mod, which means no fancy projectile models to master.
So what does Insurgency offer the prospective sniper? Purpose. There’s no HUD, no mini-map to detail enemy positions, no red markers hovering above every visible target. As the team’s long-range specialist you can use your scope to recon enemy positions and provide fire-support over open terrain. You might not have much use when it comes to storming the objective, but if you’re using a headset then you’re practically indispensable.
- Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered
Quickscoping and noscoping may not be as feasible in Modern Warfare Remastered as they were in the original game, but the remastered edition of the game is still home to the best pair of sniper missions in gaming: All Ghillied Up and One Shot, One Kill.
These heavily scripted missions take the player through the ghost city of Chernobyl on a mission to assassinate a Russian ultranationalist-cum-arms dealer. The atmosphere is palpable, the surrounding narrative engaging and the pace relentless. Modern Warfare Remastered is more than a shiny HD makeover, it’s a complete remake of the old game.
For a long time Hitman’s Agent 47 has made do with nothing but a selection of silly disguises and a spool of piano wire, but it turns out he’s just as devastating with a high-powered sniper rifle in his icy cool grip. What Hitman lacks in convincing bullet physics, it more than makes up for in scope sway, which makes taking that perfect shot a tense affair. And in most cases perfection is your only option, as targets will be nearly impossible to kill after you’ve startled them with a near miss. Get it right however, and you’re rewarded with a satisfying pink mist and an easy escape.
- Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
Sniping isn’t all about taking that one perfect shot. In the hyper-competitive space of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, it’s about taking thousands of perfect shots with a split-second to line each one up and no margin for error. So you might want to seek out the CS:GO console command for accessing the game’s practice mode before you head into the killing fields of multiplayer.
We also have CS:GO to thank for what is arguably the best and most famous sniper rifle in gaming, the AWP. Why so much love for one gun? Aside from the pleasing kablammo sound each shot rings out with, it’s also the only gun in the game that’s capable of killing an enemy with a single shot to the torso. It’s Quake’s railgun distilled into a realistic form, and in the hands of a pro it’s just as devastating. Forget the ghillie suit, CS:GO cares only for muscle memory and precision: nothing less will do.
- Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising
There are lots of loadouts to choose from in Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising, but when you’re operating in a sandbox that’s roughly 200 square kilometres only a sniper rifle makes any sense. Especially when you can command a squad of AI soldiers to do all the room-clearing and dirty work for you, leaving you free to take potshots at bad guys from the safety of a grassy knoll far, far away.
So far away in fact that it’s possible to kill enemies over 1,000 metres from you. There’s some considerable bullet-drop to take into account but few things warm the cockles like picking off an entire enemy squad without them ever figuring out where you are. Of course, because Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising is a war simulator you’ll also have plenty of opportunities to pluck helicopters out of the sky with a single shot.
- Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2
City Interactive did well to fix the myriad issues of the first Sniper: Ghost Warrior game for the franchise’s second outing – they fixed the horrendous AI, tidied up their level design and, most importantly, made the game all about sniping. That means a much slower, leaner experience, which is exactly what you want from a sniper game.
Perhaps the most important change present in Sniper: Ghost Warrior 2 is with the sniping mechanics themselves. Gone are the amped-up environmental effects that would send a seemingly simple shot careening off the screen or falling humiliatingly short. You’ll still have to observe wind direction and distance, but they’ve been dialled down to realistic levels.
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