These Sniper Elite 5 tips will help with the latest instalment of the sharp shooter series that packs in more guns, more stealth kills and more exploding body parts than you can shake an M1917 Enfield rifle at. As you may have read in our Sniper Elite 5 review, the latest entry to Rebellion’s long standing tactical shooter series is the best of the lot – but it’s also the biggest and most involved. Which means there’s plenty to consider when scoping out enemies, camping in long grass, uncovering vital World War 2 intel, and/or dangling precariously from a third floor window ledge of a Nazi-occupied chateau in central France. Oh, and watch out for Sniper Elite 5’s new player invasions. They’re suitably wonderful and terrifying. Here are 10 things we wished we knew before refilling the shoes of Karl Fairburne.
1. Mix and match stealth and action when needed
They say variety is the spice of life, and, having suffered many times through my own stubbornness in Sniper Elite 5, I couldn’t agree more with the age-old adage. With multiple routes to success (and failure), as well as facing off against the most intelligent AI the series has ever seen, being flexible in Sniper Elite 5 is key. You might see yourself as a stealth supreme through-and-through, but more often than not, missions here will demand a fluid approach that blends ghost kills with gung-ho in a moment’s notice. Don’t be afraid to mix up your approach, and plan ahead whenever you can – you never know when things might go south, despite your best intentions. Mixing up your offence is especially important when faced with an unpredictable Axis Invasion, a new game mode that lets players invade your campaign.
2. Stay put and wait for invading players to come to you
When other players inevitably invade your campaign, you best expect the unexpected. That’s terrible advice, right? But in our experience, player invasions via Sniper Elite 5’s new Axis Invasion mode are so unpredictable that it’s hard to offer definitive tips for success when on the receiving end. In order to give yourself the best chance of survival, though, we recommend staying put whenever you realise you’re being invaded. If the invader is familiar with the order of the mission, pressing on will make your location easier to identify; whereas their sole purpose here is to seek you out and kill you. Invading players are on the same side as enemy NPCs, so finding a quiet spot away from the action is preferable. Make sure you hide any dead NPC bodies away too, so as to throw the invader off the scent, and consider boobie-trapping any nearby locator telephones used by the invader to track your movements. And, as above, be prepared to ditch any best laid plans if it means saving your skin. Good luck!
3. Use the environment to your advantage
Sniper Elite 5 features the series’ biggest, most explorable, and, crucially, most traversable maps – so use them to your advantage! In practice, that might see you simply using cover to circumvent a patrolling soldier. It might see you shooting out the glaring bulb of a watchtower spotlight. It might see you army-crawling in a prone position through a wheat field’s long grass. It might see you using the Nazi’s bunkers against them, as a means of keeping low and unseen. It might even see you scaling a wall or elevated structure via vines, exposed plasterboard, and rainwater drain pipes among other less conventional means.
4. Get familiar with traps and distractions to move enemies around
Like many stealth games, luring unsuspecting foes to their demise is not just a viable means of progression but can also be great fun. This tactic is especially helpful when trying to circumvent patrolling enemy soldiers, and often requires creativity and inventiveness on the player’s part. Protagonist Karl Fairburne comes equipped with a whistle as standard, which can be used for pulling foes out of position. Bottles do the same, with the obvious bonus of being throwable. Fused lure is, in essence, a bottle strapped with firecrackers which, once ignited, provides a sustained sound distraction; while pressure mines, TNT, and Schu-mines all have timed-explosive options, should you need to make yourself scarce in a hurry. Fold in environmental distractions – such as soundmasks, which can either be used to divert attention or mask the sound of noisy bullets – and there’s plenty to experiment with while leading enemies down the deadly garden path.
5. Use suppressed ammo whenever possible
This might seem like a no-brainer, but using silencers and suppressed ammo whenever possible can be the difference between life and death. Pay close attention to pre-mission loadouts, especially ahead of later game missions, as standard ammo can often either be supplemented with quiet hardware or swapped out entirely. Moreover, be smart with the weapons you yield in any given situation. Too often I found myself reaching for my rifle at close range, when a pistol or semi-automatic machine gun equipped with a suppressor would have been the better option. Again, this may seem obvious, but firing a sniper rifle indoors will be invariably louder than doing so out in the open (I speak from unfortunate experience here), so be sure to pick the right tool for the job each time.
6. Clean up and hide bodies to avoid raising alarms
Another obvious one when said aloud, but leaving dead bodies strewn around the place is a sure-fire way to put your still-living Nazi adversaries on red-alert. As you might expect, enemies notice when their pals have been shot dead – or, in the more brutal cases, had their testicles obliterated – so you’d do well to hide the evidence. After you’ve dropped any given baddie, hoist them onto your shoulder and place (or toss, if you feel inclined) their stiffening body out of sight. Long grass and from atop mountains into choppy waters are among my own favourite impromptu burial sites, but, so long as they can’t be rediscovered, anything works. Before you do all of this, be sure to loot every corpse for ammo, health supplies and key items – you never know what goodies you might find.
7. Plan your escape before you need to make it
This fundamentally ties into numbers 1 and 3 on this list, and is something you should be mindful of at all times. Sniper Elite 5’s sandbox maps are the biggest the series has seen, which means there’s often several paths to whichever goal you’re chasing. More often than not, it’s possible to evade enemy onslaughts from multiple directions, thus before you wade in too deep, having an idea of where you plan to flee to if things don’t work out makes sense. After uncovering top-secret intel deep within a Nazi-occupied mansion during one mission, for example, I tried and failed several times to escape through the front door. Instead, I wound up clambering into the building’s attic space, jumping out a skylight and sliding down a drainpipe into the estate’s gardens.
8. Search off the beaten track for intel, collectibles, resources and more
With the series’ biggest maps, comes even more nooks and crannies that are worth exploring. In Sniper Elite 5, wandering off the beaten track can be a great way to uncover new intel pertaining to sidequests, collectibles that’ll help you unlock end-of-mission achievements and trophies, and, most crucially, caches of ammo and health supplies to get you back up and running when the chips are down. Sniper Elite 5’s step up to new-gen hardware means each sunkissed or storm-swept battle zone is not only a joy to look at, but a joy to probe and to plunder.
9. Unlock shortcuts through exploring to make levels easier to traverse
The benefits of exploring in Sniper Elite 5 aren’t confined to acquiring material goods either. While you’ll always start each mission at a default, pre-set infiltration point, each map has two or more surplus gates of entry that can only be unlocked by discovering them in the wild. These invariably take you closer to the action, meaning if you find yourself struggling during any given mission, unlocking these gives you the option to start afresh, with a full complement of ammo and supplies, and with less enemies between you and your goal. In one mission, for example, doing so cuts out a long, exposed strait of land that’s overlooked by literally dozens of snipers, and plants you just behind the mission’s first target location. You’re required to seek this entry point first, of course, but doing and then resetting makes the mission so much easier from thereon.
10. Invade other players games to explore levels unbothered by enemies
One of Sniper Elite 5’s crowning features is its new Axis Invasion mode, which lets players drop into other folk’s single-player and co-op campaigns with a taste for blood. As outlined above, defending against these random assaults can be a fraught process, but launching them as the elusive elite German marksman, the Sniper Jager, is a lot of fun. Playing for the other side also means otherwise hostile NPCs now leave you alone, in turn making exploration so much easier. Use your time as an invader to familiarise yourself with each map’s less trodden paths – or, should you get dropped into a later mission sandbox you’re yet to reach in your own campaign, get familiar with an all-new level entirely. Conversely, if you’ve already completed the level you get dropped into, use your knowledge of the setting, and the order of missions themselves, to get the drop on your target.
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