Sniper Elite 5

I grabbed this one off of my 3-months-for-a-buck Gamepass subscription. The previous instalments have been some of my favourite games. So far I have mixed feelings about this one though.

The premise is similar to the previous games. Karl Fairburne has now arrived in France, and the missions have an underlying plot line that loosely connects them. Karl is hunting down a Nazi villain hatching some ultra-heinous scheme, and in the process is meeting people who he’s clearly familiar with but whom I don’t remember from the previous games. The basics are familiar.

However, I found it really difficult to warm up to the game during the first mission, which took me some five hours and change to complete. If I had to try and pin down the reasons, I could narrow it down to this:

Firstly, while you have a sniper rifle clearly capable of taking out targets a few hundred metres away, opportunities to engage targets beyond 100m are few and far between. The landscape of the first map just doesn’t lend itself to that kind of gameplay. My M1911 pistol has seen more action than my rifle so far, and once you have it outfitted with both a scope and a suppressor (both of which are attainable during the first mission) that thing is more than capable of well-placed headshots over a few dozen metres.

The other, and way more frustrating issue is the invisible walls. Now the previous games always had ways to steer you through the map, intricately designed pathways making a map feel bigger than it actually is. Number five fairly blatantly uses both visible and invisible barriers to keep you from going where it doesn’t want you to go. If you see a hedge, perish the thought of being able to get through it. And even a lot of the hip-level walls can’t be vaulted over except in spots where the game wants you to do so. It may be my memory fading, but I don’t remember it being this egregious in the previous games.

The few opportunities to perform some decent sniping have been a bit less fun too where sound-masking with a sabotaged generator is involved. The problem for me is that when I zoom in with the scope, the ambient sound becomes muffled, which means that unless I am right next to the generator, I can’t hear the intermittent noise it makes, and have to rely on the visual cues which aren’t very reliable. Several shots I took under the impression that they were sound-masked turned out to not have been.

My dude is also somewhat unfit. As soon as he starts walking, the heart rate very quickly spikes up to 120, and that is the same whether he walks or jogs. It will go beyond that when you sprint, but either way it takes a moment to settle down back to 60. This May be by design, as there are skill tree upgrades which affect both your heart rate and the recovery thereof.

Mission 2 is more my jam, I can find my rhythm in it and the gameplay clicks a bit more. But the above issues are still present.

The reason I take so long to complete a mission is because I try to explore as much as possible, try to hit all the optional objectives, and find the secrets. And I go for the clean sweep - no Nazi left standing. Exploring is quite rewarding in this game, you can find useful equipment, different types of ammo for all weapon types (armour-piercing, subsonic, match grade and such), as well as armour workbenches where you can upgrade your gear. Upgrades are unlocked based on certain objectives, this includes new weapons.

For the clean sweep mode, I take out targets stealthily, but don’t bother cleaning up after myself. I don’t clear if the enemy knows I’m around, so long as they don’t see me. Let them trip over the dead bodies, I say. Now that part has become a bit more interesting, almost challenging. When the hostiles find something out of order, they fan out a lot further and search a lot more thoroughly. And if they keep tripping over corpses in the process, we’ll, there’s a bit of a domino effect there. I could also swear that, at least once or twice, the enemies changed their patrol patterns after being put on alert. All of a sudden there was a dude traipsing around an area where previously there was nothing. That’s actually pretty cool.

A stealth game is only as good as what happens when you break stealth. In this one, you can die very quickly if hostiles can get a bead on you and you don’t try to take action. Frontal engagement won’t work, but if you move fast, you can evade even a group of enemies on high alert. I once managed to do so by turning around, chucking a grenade at their feet, and then booking it to the other side of the map. Still, the patterns of the enemy, and how they searched the area, were very unpredictable in a good way. I’ve also had at least two enemies walk right into me while I was hiding in tall grass.

I have to get into the game a bit further than I am to come to a final verdict. After the first mission I was sort of like “I dunno man, not loving it.” The second mission is an improvement, and while still not yet loving it, at least I am liking it.

1 Like

I’ve seen some youtube videos of the invasion mechanic. I forget the actual name of it, but it’s where a random person can join your game and hunt you down. Or you do it to someone else. It looks fun.

Invasion is something I would try with a mate, but definitely not with randoms.

I played a bit further, am now almost 12 hours into the game and well into the third mission. And that one is a sniper’s paradise. It takes place on an island, which you have a full view of at the start of the mission, and you can spend some time taking out as many targets as you can spot. Planes are passing overhead regularly, providing sound masking. The area itself is massive and takes hours to explore and clear out. I’ve accidentally broken stealth a few times and had hostiles home in on me, and managed to evade every time. One of my favourite things to do now is to booby-trap the bodies. Someone is going to trip over it sooner rather than later…

1 Like

From what I understand, invasion is only randoms. There is apparently no way to determine who you invade. Also, this game is 20% off right now… Hmmmmm…

Pity, I thought you might volunteer as a target…

It’s busy installing. I’ll mess about with it and see what can be done.

“To invite a specific player, ask them for an Invite Code and choose Join In Invasion Mode”

That’s what it says on the Invasion screen, so it looks like you can actually play with friends.

If you go to Host Co-op game, you can then Invite Friend and get your invite code/paste an invite code.

Tried to have a look at the online stuff last night but for some reason the freshly updated game didn’t want to connect. Will give it another shot tonight.