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On What Difficulty Should You Play Sniper Elite 5?

Sniper Elite 5 3

The latest entry in the Sniper Elite series is here, and for those who like to sneak around and pop Nazi skulls with sniper rifles, it’s a must-play.

Available on consoles and PC, if you’ve just started playing Sniper Elite 5, however, you might be wondering which difficulty you should select. After all, you want to enjoy your time with it, don’t you? Hopefully we can help you with your choice.

The presets

Sniper Elite 5 has a wide range of difficulty options – you can even create your own – but for most, the presets will be adequate. The five standard difficulty options are Civilian (Very Easy), Cadet (Easy), Sharpshooter (Medium), Sniper Elite (Hard), and Authentic (Very Hard). Each of those set three key aspects of the game – combat, sniping and tactical – to the respective difficulty levels.


Combat difficulty affects things like enemy perception, resilience and skill, as well as the availability of items such as ammo, and your own resilience and ability to heal. Those wishing to play the campaign in co-op should pay particular attention to this setting, as when set at Civilian players can easily respawn. On Authentic, a med-kit must be used to revive another player.


The Sniping difficulty option, on the other hand, determines whether the effects of bullet drop and wind are brought into play, as well as the functionality of emptying your lungs. Bullet drop only applies when playing at Cadet difficulty or above, while the affect of the wind comes into play when playing at Sharpshooter or above. Play on Authentic difficulty, and you’ll find that emptying your lungs no longer slows down time or shows you where your shot will land.


The last difficulty factor to consider, Tactical, determines how much information is available to you via your HUD. On Authentic difficulty, most of the HUD is disabled, leading to a more immersive but also very challenging experience.

What’s right for you?

For those new to the Sniper Elite series, or games in general, it might be a good idea to start on Civilian (Very Easy) or Cadet (Easy) difficulty. Sniper Elite 5 can be tough when you don’t really know the ropes. Those just wanting to enjoy the game’s story might want to play on those difficulties as well.

For most, though, Sniper Elite 5 is perhaps best enjoyed on Sharpshooter (Medium) difficulty. Offering a balanced experience, sniping is more rewarding due to the effects of bullet drop and wind being taken into consideration. And while you need to proceed though the game with caution, employing stealth at all times, it’s not too frustrating if your position is given away.

For the completionists

Those wanting a real challenge can choose to play on higher difficulties if they wish, but they really can be tricky. They’re perhaps best saved for replays. Trophy / Achievement hunters will have to play through the campaign on Authentic (Very Hard) difficulty level at some point if they want to 100% the game, though.

Ultimately, the difficulty can be changed at any time by going into the options menu, so don’t be afraid to raise or lower it as you see fit. And if none of the presets work quite right for you, consider customising the difficulty to your individual needs.

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Editor in Chief // An avid gamer since discovering the wonders of the Acorn Electron in the '80s, Rich has nearly played more games than he's had hot dinners. Not one to put all his eggs in one basket, Rich is happy to play games of all genres, but he particularly enjoys racing games and anything that's full of non-stop action, especially if it includes a good dose of humour, horror or crudeness!