Sniper games are all about perching on top of a building and punching holes through bad guys from a mile away with the help of a high-calibre rifle. Whether it’s the challenge of compensating for bullet drop, or the simple pleasure of watching a group of enemies descend into panic as you pick the hapless goons off one by one – the best sniper games thrive off moments like these.
Sadly, there are not many games that focus solely on making the player feel like the ultimate ghost warrior, but there are a huge number of sniper games with realistic sniping mechanics and sniper missions to satisfy that itchy trigger finger of yours. Our sniper games list offers everything from military simulations to more laid back experiences where you can afford to make the odd mistake or even ditch the sniper rifle entirely.
We frequently return to our lists to make sure they are as up-to-date as possible and represent the very best the genre has to offer, so you can be confident that what we list below are nothing less than classics.
Here are the best sniper games:
Sniper Elite 4
Shooting Nazis just never gets old. Sniper Elite 4 continues the series’ gradual transformation from linear stealther to a sniper’s dream sandbox game, marking the occasion with a switch to fascist Italy. The sniper game chops are intact, so expect realistic bullet drop and plenty of scope sway unless you’ve managed to slow your heart rate.
Sniper Elite 4 also fleshes out the franchise’s gory pièce de résistance: X-ray killcams. Now, in addition to being able to shoot out a nazi’s testicle from a mile away, you can see the internal damage caused by stabbing an enemy in the back, or shrapnel flying out from a nearby explosion. And what else are sniper games really about if not waving your crosshairs over a bad guy’s head, pulling the trigger, and then watching in morbid curiosity as their skull disintegrates.
But it’s the sandbox levels of Sniper Elite 4 that are the biggest improvement over its predecessors. Each one is alive and full of possibilities – whether that’s side-quests, a glut of potential environmental kills, or sniper nests waiting to be uncovered and used. As we found when writing our Sniper Elite 4 PC review, each level demands to be replayed and retried over and over again, and that means more sniper game brilliance for your buck.
On top of that, Sniper Elite 4 also got more single-player content in the form of Deathstorm, a DLC mini-campaign in which you infiltrate a naval base. This campaign add-on released in chapters following the game’s launch alongside free multiplayer modes and maps. As sniper games go, Sniper Elite 4 has a lot to offer.
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, there are loads of Arma 3 updates and expansions, so it’s never too late to fall in love with this military simulator.
PUBG is a titan of the battle royal genre, boasting a huge range of weapons, items, and vehicles for you to play with. Among these various tools of destruction, PUBG’s sniper rifles are the ultimate weapons. Their range and power makes them ideal for picking off players from a grassy knoll or rooftop, letting you instantly down a target from over a kilometre away if you can land a headshot. That’s easier said than done however, as you’ll need to factor in things like muzzle velocity, bullet drop, and travel time, which make PUBG one of the most realistic sniper games on PC.
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. Squad’s gameplay 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.
As you’ll see from our Squad tips, communication and teamplay are essential, 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 in sniper games.
The original Insurgency offered a realistic albeit clunky modern FPS with some solid sniping mechanics. Insurgency: Sandstorm overhauls everything from graphics and animations, to sound design and weapon models, and the result is a multiplayer shooter that feels as authentic as Arma, especially when it comes to its powerful, one-hit-kill snipers. There’s not much in the way of bullet drop or travel time as most maps are very small, but the weapon models are impressively detailed, and small details like magnification effects when scoped in immerse you in the role of a marksman.
As so much of Insurgency: Sandstorm’s multiplayer focuses on large-scale attacks, playing a sniper in this FPS is all about holding cutting off flanking routes and holding lines of sight, so expect to pick a spot and stick to it for much of a match. Most multiplayer shooters move too fast to make holding a sniper’s nest worthwhile, but in Insurgency: Sandstorm it’s essential.
Battlefield games have always been ripe for would-be snipers, with bullet drop, travel time, and massive multiplayer maps ensuring long-range killers are well-catered for. Battlefield 5 doesn’t add a huge amount to the equation, but the selection of historic sniper rifles at your disposal are among the best in the FPS genre. Whether you like to lay low in a grassy knoll, punching holes through helmets with a Karabiner 98 kurz, or fancy taking on vehicles with the Boys Anti-tank Rifle. Plus, the new battle royale mode, Firestorm, let’s you put your sniper skills to the ultimate test against over 60 players in the biggest Battlefield map ever.
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 – these missions ignited a passion for sniper games in everyone who played them. As we found in our Modern Warfare Remastered review, the game is more than a shiny HD makeover, it’s a complete remake of the old game.
Hitman might not spring to mind at the mention of sniper games, but while Agent 47 traditionally makes do with a selection of silly disguises and a spool of piano wire, 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.
The episodic structure of the game also means that each level is its own assassination sandbox and, as such, there’s more to see and kill than in any level in the series’ past. The result? We praised the game in our Hitman review was one of the best games of 2016, and in its labyrinthine levels you’ll find an equally worthy sniper game. Better still: if you missed out on Hitman, you can now get all of the episodes in a boxed edition of the game.
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
The best sniper games are not all about taking that one perfect shot. In the hyper-competitive space of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive one perfect shot is not enough (even if you do know the best places to throw CS:GO smoke grenades). You will need to take thousands of perfect shots, with a split-second to line each one up, and there’s no margin for error. Forget the ghillie suit, CS:GO cares only for muscle memory and precision – nothing less will do.
With that in mind, 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. Get you practice in while you can especially that there is now evidence of a CS:GO battle royale mode coming to the game soon.
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.
CS:GO is one of the most played games on Steam and it’s ultra competitive nature and make it one of best multiplayer games on PC. Playing against highly skilled players online will make you an eagle eyed sharpshooter in no time.
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 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. What else are sniper games for? 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 to 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.
The Sniper: Ghost Warrior series might be a little shonky for most people’s tastes, but as sniper games go they are tough to beat. If you want more, then you might consider checking out Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 as it boasts a few significant shifts from the second game, such as an open-world map and mission design, crafting, and overhauled enemy AI. After a delay, there was even Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 multiplayer.
That’s your lot, a roundup of the best sniper games on PC. If, somehow, that hasn’t managed to slake your thirst then be sure to check out the best FPS games on PC for more of this sort of thing. You can stop holding your breath to steady your aim now, the list is finished.