Sniper Elite might not be the biggest or most prominent name out there, but it’s got a special place in the hearts of many, thanks to its captivating blend of sandbox stealth, tactical shooting, and sniping. It’s newest entry, Sniper Elite 5, is the best realization of that formula yet, and ahead of its imminent launch, here, we’re going to go over a few basic pointers that should help you get to grips with a game a little more easily as you dive into its offerings.
Weapon customization has taken a much more prominent role in Sniper Elite 5 than its predecessors, and a byproduct of that is weapon workbenches. There are three of these scattered throughout each of the game’s eight missions, and barring one or two, finding nearly all of them is entirely optional. Even so, our recommendation would be to go seek these out. These are, of course, great places for you to modify the weapons in your arsenal, and quite often, new unlocks for weapons or attachments are also tied to finding specific workbenches.
Customization itself is much more important in Sniper Elite 5 than in past games, especially if you’re playing the game on harder difficulties. As you progress further into the game, you’ll be presented with numerous options for various weapon attachments, from stocks and barrels to scopes and muzzles, and much more, each of them offering not only tangible stat changes, but also their own significant pros and cons. Tailoring your weapons to your current objectives and your play style is crucial in Sniper Elite 5, so make sure to adjust your loadout not only every time you encounter a workbench, but also before you begin each mission.
While customization and weapon upgrades in Sniper Elite 5 can offer quite a bit of depth, character progression is a lot shallower and, in turn, less engaging. Even so, while none of the upgrades you unlock with your skill points ever feel crucial, a couple of them can be quite important. For instance, it goes without saying that stealth is king in Sniper Elite 5, so prioritizing stealth-based upgrades should be the way to go when you play. Expanding the range of your listening ability can be particularly useful, especially in areas that are crowded with enemies that you might not necessarily be able to keep in sight at all times.
Sniper Elite 5 also offers an expanded range of movement options, and while it never gets too crazy on that front, the level design does encourage you to always keep those options in mind. You can climb certain walls and vines, you can shimmy along ledges, climb through windows, and use the occasional zipline, among other things. Keeping an eye out for places where you can do that is important, then, because more often than not, these will greatly help you out when you’re trying to sneak in or out of heavily defended areas.
Like its predecessor, Sniper Elite 5’s maps are large and meticulously crafted, and though there’s nothing stopping you from simply blowing through each one and sticking exclusively to the critical path, if you want to get the most out of the game, we’d strongly recommended against that. Each of the game’s missions is brimming with optional content and side missions and collectibles and what have you, and the game is at its best when you’re carefully combing through the map and taking on these optional activities as well. There are, of course, actual, tangible benefits of doing that as well. Let’s speak about a couple of those…
Doing optional objectives could easily be recommended purely on the back of how well designed and fun they are, but if you’re looking for material rewards, Sniper Elite 5’s side activities aren’t lacking in that either. They contribute to the game’s meta-progression, of course, helping you level up and unlock more medals. Meanwhile, tackling side objectives can also often unlock things such as new weapons and enemy attachments. Simply put, there’s plenty to be gained from veering off the critical path in Sniper Elite 5, so make sure you’re not just doing the main objective and then beelining it to the exfiltration point.
Sniper Elite 5’s levels are large and intricate, but beyond simply exploring them on your own, there are other ways to learn their ins and outs as well. Gathering intel is an important part of the gameplay loop here, especially if you’re engaging with more than just the main mission. You should always be on the lookout for documents scattered around environments for that very purpose. Meanwhile, if you ever find enemies having conversations with each other, make sure to hide somewhere and listen in on what they’re saying to gather more intel.
Like most stealth games, Sniper Elite 5 rewards you for taking the non-lethal approach. Among other things, for instance, each enemy that’s left unconscious at the end of a mission will grant you bonus XP. Thankfully, there are several ways to take enemies out of the equation without killing them- besides using your fists instead of your knife, of course. You can use soft point bullets instead of, say armour piercing rounds, while schu mines are also a great way to not just knock enemies out, but also lure them to a specific point. Of course, the game doesn’t punish you if you decide to go on a murderous rampage, but taking the non-lethal route is generally the recommended option.
Quite often in Sniper Elite 5, you’ll find yourself in areas that are absolutely crawling with enemies, making it difficult to sneak past a specific spot or through into a specific area. As is the rule of thumb in most stealth games, distractions are key in such situations. Tried and tested tricks like throwing a bottle or luring enemies away from you with a well-placed grenade work like a charm here, of course, but there are other ways to distract enemies as well. You can look for things in the environment that you can shoot or destroy to draw their attention, you can set mines or charges with short or long fuses and then run away before they explore, or you can even place an enemy’s body out in a specific spot out in the open so that it pulls other foes away from a spot that you’re trying to get to.
Given how large, densely packed, and intricately designed Sniper Elite 5’s missions are, it shouldn’t be surprising that each of them also offers a ton of replay value. It’s always a good idea to go back to missions to try things out a different way with different items, weapons, and customizations in your loadout, not just because you get to experience more of what the game has on offer, but also because you can learn new things and make progress towards new unlocks. None of this will ever feel crucial, so it’s not like the game forces you to replay missions, but if you do decide to do that, you’re almost always appropriately rewarded- at least up to a certain point.