Sniper Elite 5 is Rebellion’s newest entry in its long-running sniping franchise, and it brings with it all of the challenging gameplay and immense sense of reward that fans have come to know and love. Despite largely sticking to the established formula, there are a handful of fresh features in this outing–and perhaps none stick out as much as the game’s Axis Invasions.
Similar to the invasion mechanic seen in a game like Dark Souls or Deathloop, Sniper Elite 5’s Axis Invasions allow another player to enter your game as a Sniper Jäger and hunt you down using a variety of special skills. This often results in an extremely tense game of cat and mouse that can lead to a number of downright heart-stopping outcomes.
If you’re invaded, you’ll be up against quite a formidable foe, but defeating them in your game can earn you a bunch of XP and some occasional new character and weapon skins. If you invade another player and kill them, however, you’ll also unlock your own set of unique weapons, items, and skins.
The Axis Invasions feature can be toggled off and on in the Options menu, allowing you to opt for an entirely solo experience or leave yourself open to some deadly opponents.
What to know about invading
As an invader, you have access to multiple unique skills that help you to track, sabotage, and take down your target. Among these nine skills are four particularly important ones that will be vital to your success:
Sixth Sense will tell you when you’ve been tagged by the Allied Sniper. This allows you to know your location has been compromised and that you should reposition to better get the drop on your opponent.
Stay Sharp allows you to add increased awareness to nearby AI soldiers so that they’ll be able to become alerted more quickly to your foe’s presence. This can be extraordinarily helpful when the person you’ve invaded is lurking around nearby, giving you a little extra breathing room.
Thanks to Eagle Eyes, Axis soldiers who see your opponent will automatically report their last known location, giving you a good idea of where to look. Just don’t get complacent–a really skilled player may be good at diverting your attention to that location while pulling off an incredible escape so that they can sneak up behind you.
Wire Trapper is your best friend, as it lets you booby trap the various Invasion Phones located inside buildings located around the map. If your foe reaches these phones, they’ll be able to call for intel and reveal your location, so be sure that you make great use of this skill. Keep an eye and ear out, too, as the resulting explosion of the trap can alert you to precisely where your target is hanging out.
With those skills in mind, make the best of them while remaining as well-hidden as possible, hanging near other Axis soldiers whenever possible so as to blend in better. If you find yourself needing to cross over into a new building that may expose you briefly, you may sometimes want to walk slowly and robotically to give you the appearance of an AI enemy.
When you finally find your target, don’t be afraid to go loud with an SMG if they’re close to you. Since the AI soldiers around you are on your side, you don’t have to worry about alerting anyone, and the resulting scare could actually lead to the other sniper running into a pack of enemies and creating chaos that could get them indirectly killed. That being said, a quiet and sudden kill is most rewarding, so if you can line up that perfect sniper headshot, let ‘er rip.
What to know about being invaded
Being invaded can be a scary situation, as a skilled invader may scope you out from afar or close in on you quietly. This means that you have to rely on your gut and limited intel to try to find your enemy, all while making sure that you remain on the move fairly consistently rather than sitting by idly waiting for them to approach.
That last point is very important because, while you may initially feel safest setting up a perimeter with traps and limited entry points, staying in one place for too long will lead to you being punished for camping. At first, this will alert the enemy sniper to your location, but if you continue to camp in that area, you’ll eventually be auto-killed and grant an unearned victory to your invader, which can feel a bit embarrassing, to say the least.
You have the option of tracking down Invasion Phones, which can be found all around the map within buildings and will provide you with intel regarding the location of the invader, but bear in mind that these can be sabotaged. If an invader has booby-trapped the phone, it will explode and alert them to your location, and if they’re really close by, this can result in a sudden and unexpected death while you’re stumbling about trying to get your bearings again.
Beware also that using Invasion Phones too frequently will actually result in the invading sniper learning your location as well, which can put you in a tricky situation against one another that could lead to an awkward stalemate of sorts. In other words, when possible, make the most of the intel you get the first time and do your best to move in and make a kill.
Lastly, Axis Invasions can occur when playing co-op, too. Having that extra set of eyes when invaders pop into your game is invaluable, and it makes things even more stressful for the opposing sniper who now has to find a way to outsmart both of you.