Sniper Elite 4 Review
If you were going to pass on Sniper Elite 4 because of the slight debacle that was Sniper Elite 3, I would forgive you, although tell you that it was a terrible mistake. For everything that was wrong with Sniper Elite 3, the next iteration of the franchise has more than made up for it. Although not everything is perfect in Sniper Elite 4, I thoroughly enjoyed my time with game.
Set in Italy during World War 2, protagonist Karl Fairburne is on the job of finding important Intel, taking down key opponents, and taking down as many Nazi supporters as humanly possible. Oh ya, and he has to do this all virtually alone. As a talented sniper, Karl has all the capacity to get the job done, but it is up to you as the player to maneuver him through the open world to complete objectives, remain in the shadows, and do your part to take down Hitler’s Germany.
In that way, Sniper Elite 4 works so well. The maps you get to explore are very large, and since you will spend the majority of your time creeping – to not only keep your heart rate down, an important factor in this title, but also to remain unseen – the maps feel ever larger than they are. Because of the size of the areas you will get to explore, there is no right or wrong way to complete the objectives in Sniper Elite 4. I can tell you, though, that going in guns blazing will almost never work, unless you are playing on the easiest difficulty level; even then, things can get rough, fast.
The difficulty levels in Sniper Elite 4 should really be patience levels. The harder the difficulty, the more patient you will ultimately have to be. I’ve played the first scenario on every difficulty level to get a feel for the differences, and that was the main one. As a more brash individual, I choose for a medium difficulty which seemed to suite my style of play, keeping the enjoyment level high, but not making the experience to easy either. The nice added feature in Sniper Elite 4 is to tailor the difficulty to your desire, which includes adding a feature that will remove left over ammo in a cartridge if you choose to reload early.
The game play mechanics in Sniper Elite 4 are wonderful. The game uses the (very common) wheel design when choosing which weapons or throwable to use, and jumping in and out of the menu to swap between simple rocks and sticks of dynamic work really well, and quickly becomes second nature. Everything from the menus to the actual guns are detailed and easy to use. Understandably, your hear rate dictates your ability to make a good shot, as it would in real life. Determining when to sprint, for example, becomes a very important decision. In other shooter games, stamina and heart rate can often be two separate variables. For realism, Rebellion has made them one-in-the-same for Sniper Elite 4, as it should be.
The need for a strong game play mechanic is really obvious when you begin taking into account the games narratives, which frankly is pretty bad. Each scenario feels like its own small story and game, and when you group all the scenarios together, you don’t get the feeling a grand story is being told, outside of destroying Hitler’s Germany. In that way, the game feels a lot like the latest release of Hitman, although instead of monthly releases, Sniper Elite 4 comes as one, complete package.
The way each level is introduced, however, is brilliant, and incredibly well done. Through a voice over narratives and slides of hand sketches, each scenario is quickly brought up to speed with historic tales that accurately place Karl and give him his mission. At times, I really felt like I was playing someone’s life rather than a video game, and this is the highest praise. Unfortunately, you are quickly brought back to reality when you realize there is no character progression or growth for Karl, which is a big disappointment.
Still, the presentation more than makes up for some the lackluster moments in Sniper Elite 4. Kill Cams, for example – which will show the trajectory of your bullet, where it enters the enemy, and what internal damage it has done – is back and better than ever. In Sniper Elite 4, the cam has been upgraded to not only show sniper kills, but also melee kills and shrapnel kills as well. For every kill, you are rewarded experience points that will contribute to your overall rank in the allied army core, and will open up new opportunities for Karl. The better and more precise the kill, the more experience you will receive, which makes taking the extra few seconds to line up a better shot always worth it.
Cooperative and Multiplayer Features
While the game only boasts around a dozen scenarios for you to play through, each will take hours to complete, especially if you want to get all the collectibles in each world. If the single player content isn’t enough to entice you to purchase – in my opinion, it does – there is also a multiplayer and cooperative component. Unfortunately, we were not able to try either of these out as of yet, but will update this portion of the review once we have done so. That being said, we again emphasis that Sniper Elite 4 ads enough great content in the single player portion alone to make the purchase more than worthwhile.
Sniper Elite 4 is not an easy game in the slightest, and only the most patient players will make it through all the way to the end. However, it is an experience that anyone can enjoy, and that strikes a perfect balance between enjoyment and difficulty. If you’ve been looking for a stealth shooter to sink your teeth into, Sniper Elite 4 is that title. To their credit, Rebellion has done an excellent job.