There’s seldom a shot that’s as satisfying as a headshot from a sniper rifle, though it’s rare to find a game that pulls off the mechanic well.
Sniper rifles are often much slower to reload and set up, and while they can inflict massive damage, they aren’t the usual go-to weapon in a PvP match.
First off, we’re going to look at some of the best sniper games of the last decade, so we’ll pick one from the likes of the Sniper Elite franchise rather than list them all. We’ll also look at FPS and other shooters that had excellent sniper rifles and sniper missions, so you can keep your snarky “but it’s not a true sniper game!” comments to yourself.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the best sniper games out there across all platforms.
Best sniper games
Sniper Elite 4
As we said earlier, we’re only going to pick one game out of each franchise, so we’ve gone with Sniper Elite 4. Shooting Nazis is always a fun pastime, and Sniper Elite 4’s stealth elements make it even more exciting.
Sniper Elite 4’s maps are the largest by far and give the franchise more of an open-world feel. It’s just that much more satisfying to watch a bullet travel such a distance and land right between the eyes of an enemy.
The X-ray kill cams were further developed to show damage from the likes of melee weapons, adding another level of glorious gore. It also came with an impressive multiplayer mode and a pretty fun infiltration-based DLC, Deathstorm.
Each mission can be replayed, allowing you to improve your sharpshooter skills as you go. If you enjoy watching skulls get turned into mush, then Sniper Elite 4 is right up your street.
Insurgency: Sandstorm is the perfect FPS for those of you who love some close-quarters combat coupled with meticulously planned sniper’s nests. Alongside a decent campaign, Insurgency: Sandstorm’s multiplayer boasts one of the best FPS experiences available on PC, and it’ll soon be coming to PS4 and Xbox One.
Your role as a sniper is to pick off enemies near and far, as well as keeping an eye on any enemies attempting to flank you. The small but well-designed maps in Insurgency: Sandstorm adds to the adrenaline rush of setting up a perfect kill shot, as well as providing you with multiple vantage points from which you can rain down hell on your enemies.
The multiplayer experience is less hectic than that found in the likes of Destiny 2 or PUBG, so if you like taking a measured and methodical approach to sniping, then it’s definitely one to watch.
If you’re looking for a sniper experience as close to real as it gets, then you need to check out Arma 3. You’ll need a rangefinder, zero in using your scope and regulate your breathing for each shot, as opposed to just having a quick glance and firing at will.
With every shot – whether it’s a hit or miss – you’re at high risk of giving away your position in Arma 3, which can have dire consequences for your allies. One thing that makes it a little easier is that Arma 3 has a co-op sniping mode that lets you employ a friend to find new targets and help you plan appropriately.
Arma 3 is still regularly updated with new expansions, so even if you’ve never played it before, it’s worth jumping in if you enjoy a real challenge.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
Esports giant CS: GO still offers a brilliant FPS experience that doesn’t seem to go out of style. The AWP sniper rifle offers one of the most satisfying shot sounds around and you can net a kill with a chest shot – what’s not to like?
CS: GO has been around for what feels like forever and there some super skilled players out there, so it’s a good idea to jump into practice mode first to get used to the mechanics. There’s no fancy stuff to learn, you just need to build up that muscle memory and git gud.
It’s still one of the most played games on Steam right now and there’s no sign of it slowing down, ever.
Now that we’ve looked at the best sniping games, let’s take a look at some games with the most impressive sniper rifles and sniper missions.
It wouldn’t be a shooty list without some PUBG love, so here it is. PUBG’s sniper rifles inflict massive damage on your opponents, but you’ll still need to consider things like bullet drop, trajectory and travel time when lining up a shot.
You’ll need to think fast on your feet as you’re in an all-encompassing battle royale, but PUBG offers up a wealth of vantage points. From rooftops to lying low in the long grass, you’ll easily be able to snipe off your opponents and be back in time for that chicken dinner.
Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wildlands
It was a toss-up between Ghost Recon: Future Soldier and Wildlands, and we went with the latter as it’s more recent. Tom Clancy games such as The Division 2 and Rainbow Six offer brilliant FPS experiences, but the Ghost Recon titles have much more satisfying sniper rifles.
The MSR is a powerful beast, with accuracy, range and penetration stats at a near-max level. Once you find it in the Choza Padre Mine, it’s yours forever and you can kit it out with different scopes.
There are 11 sniper rifles to find in Wildlands, though other titles boast a similar amount. The Division 2’s Nemesis sniper rifle is arguably the best weapon in the game, and definitely worth the effort of finding.
There are several unique ways to kill your targets as Agent 47, but few are as satisfying as pulling off a snipe attack. While it’s not the most sophisticated sniper mechanic, the stealth and high-pressure aspects of each Hitman mission make lining up a shot quite an exciting event.
As is the norm in Hitman, if you miss your target, your position will inevitably be compromised and you’ll be forced to use an elaborate alternative means. If you take the time to set up properly, watch your target for a while and strike when the time is right, however, it’s a true chef’s kiss moment.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered
While there are decent sniper rifles across the entire franchise, fans of Call of Duty will recall the All Ghillied Up and One Shot, One Kill sniper missions.
You’re on the hunt for a Russian arms dealer through Chernobyl, armed with your sniper rifle and muscle memory. Timing is everything and one bad shot will ruin your mission, as is glaringly obvious in the rOne Shot mission.
The Remaster captures the excitement and anxiety of the original missions well and they remain two of the best sniper-lead missions in gaming. If you can think of a better mission, leave a comment down below and we’ll consider removing this claim.
Again, we’ve picked on title out of the Battlefield franchise to focus on and we’ve gone with Battlefield 5. There are loads of vantage points in both the main campaign and multiplayer modes in Battlefield 5 that are ripe for sniping, as well as access to some of the best sniper rifles in any game.
Battlefield 5 introduced the franchises new battle royale mode, Firestorm, where sniper rifles are deadly in the right hands. It would be easy to scream “Cheater!” down the mic when you get taken out by a sniper, but the aiming and bullet trajectory mechanics are just that good.
A man’s only as good as the tools he’s using, however, and it’s all about practice a la CS: GO to master using sniper rifles in a battle royale. Plus, you can snipe as a woman this time, and we all know the best sniper in WW2 was a woman, so…
Apex Legends/ Titanfall 2
The Kraber-AP .50 CAL from Titanfall 2 and Apex Legends is an absolute beast. Combined with the right scope and stabiliser, there’s nowhere you can hide from the mighty Kraber.
While it’s quite bulky and has a slow reload, the Kraber will one-shot you no problem. Even corners aren’t an issue for it; watch out for that ricochet, friend.
It’s not readily available in either title – you can only find it in Supply Drops in Apex Legends – but it can make a real difference if you’re in the right vantage point in the closing rounds of a match.
While Borderlands 3 has impressive snipers like Dastardly Headsplosion, it’s time to appreciate the Zer0 sniper class in Borderlands 2. There are obviously far too many sniper rifles to choose from – it’s a loot shoot extraordinaire of a game, after all. However, it’s worth completing quests to get the likes of the Amigos Sincero Legendary sniper rifle, as it’ll inflict some series damage to your foes.
Whether you’re playing the main campaign or slaughtering opponents in multiplayer co-op, having a decent sniper build is always worthwhile. If you play as Zer0 class, you can eventually unlock the Critical Ascensi0n skill which grants a buff upon getting a Critical Hit with a sniper rifle, granting addition crit damage. It can stack up to 999 damage, making you a formidable opponent in any game.
Borderlands 3 comes to PC, PS4 and Xbox One on September 13.
If you think we’ve missed any good sniper games, leave a comment and we’ll consider adding it in.