Sniper Elite 4 Review
There is nothing quite like that moment when you find the perfect vantage point, take the perfect shot, and escape before anyone notices. Sniper Elite 4 is the latest title from Rebellion Developments, 3 years since Sniper Elite III released. Sniper Elite 4 brings about new changes while refining existing elements of the series. Sniping and stealth in video games has usually been a crowd pleaser, and Sniper Elite 4 does well in catering to this style of third-person shooter. For those that have not heard of the Sniper Elite franchise, you have probably seen the series’ familiar x-ray kill cam at one point.
Sniper Elite 4 puts you in the boots of series star, Karl Fairburne, an Office of Strategic Services agent, and sniper extraordinaire. Taking place right after the events of Sniper Elite III, you arrive in Italy in 1943, set to take on the Fascists alongside the Italian resistance. The story feels quite generic, you are essentially a lone wolf sniper set to take on the Nazis by yourself. Of course, there are NPCs and allies you will meet through the course of the story, but the real meat of this game is the gameplay.
“Sniper Elite 4 features some awesome sniping mechanics and kill cams that will have you busting a nut, literally.”
As the title suggests, Sniper Elite 4 features some awesome sniping mechanics and kill cams that will have you busting a nut, literally. Sniping can result in some awesomely satisfying x-ray kill cams ranging from headshots, kidney shots, and of course testicle shots. Kill cams are not limited to sniping enemies, but are also featured from environmental kills such as shooting a nearby gas tank or when stealth killing an enemy in close quarters. While sniping is the titular method of eliminating enemies in the game, stealth kills and utilizing secondary weapons such as the Thompson also feel fluid and effective when needed.
While sniping and eliminating enemies is great, there is more than simply pulling the trigger in Sniper Elite 4. Each mission throws you into an open world map, providing you with a set of objectives. From there, eliminating enemies will come through finding good vantage points, marking enemies, setting traps, accounting for noise and distance, and THEN pulling the trigger. As a side note, it was very refreshing to have smaller, self-contained open world maps than the vast maps we have come to expect. The details within the game mechanics are quite intricate, and displays the careful attention Rebellion Developments took when making the game. Things are not all bells and whistles, while sniping an officer and escaping before anyone realizes what happened is the dream scenario, often the officer (and the area he is in) holds key collectible items. Because of this, collectors will often have to sneak into an area and go unnoticed (or go full Rambo) to collect everything.
Sniper Elite 4 looks good, but not great. While the settings as a whole look splendid, the trees and foliage are a bit lacking. Overall though, the graphics do a good job in setting the atmosphere and do not detract from the gameplay. The HUD is also done well; despite the amount of information on screen (such as enemy markings, objectives, and environmental cues), the HUD never felt cluttered or overwhelming. Throughout my playthrough, bullet clipping issues were not present, though some continuity errors, such as enemies disappearing in some frames of environmental kills, did occur infrequently during kill cams.
The music in Sniper Elite 4 was suitable, the menu music sounded authentic to its setting, and the various background music during gameplay was appropriate and played a secondary audio role. Where the game’s audio truly shined was its used of audio cues in various manners. Perhaps the biggest use of audio in Sniper Elite 4 was for rifle shots, which alerted enemies to your position. Using suppressed ammo could lower the noise emitted from your gun, but environmental tools and indicators such as generators and planes flying overhead also helped to mask your presence. The use of audio in the game is quite understated, but is a part of the game’s overall polish.
“In a time where games rely on updates, patches, and DLC to become what the game should have been at launch, it was very refreshing to see Sniper Elite 4 release without any glaring weaknesses or issues.”
While I was unable to partake in the online co-op of Sniper Elite 4, the fact that you can complete the campaign in co-op mode is a huge plus in my eyes. In addition to campaign co-op, players can team up in a survival mode as well as sniper/spotter missions. Another facet of Sniper Elite 4 is the online multiplayer mode, which features a variety of modes centered around eliminating the other team. We tried our hand in a few games, and found that a sniping based multiplayer mode led to exactly what we expected. Games often reached the 20-minute mark, with players being understandably cautious as death comes in one bullet. Because of this, players would sometimes leave as the game would drag out, and if that player is the host, the game is simply ended.
In a time where games rely on updates, patches, and DLC to become what the game should have been at launch, it was very refreshing to see Sniper Elite 4 release without any glaring weaknesses or issues. Overall, the game is well polished and simply fun to play, without sacrificing intricate details for the sake of simplicity. Lastly, the title also features an authentic, hardcore difficulty for “sniping purists and masochists” which is sure to add many hours to a title already with lots of potential for replayability. Sniper Elite 4 took a shooter niche, sniping, and built an excellent title and solid franchise around it.
***A PS4 review code was provided by the publisher***
- Overall polished product
- Satisfying kill cams
- Impressive sandbox maps
- Co-op campaign
- Generic feeling story
- Slow multiplayer