Editor’s Note: This review covers the single player campaign and co-op features for Sniper Elite 4. A review covering multiplayer will be posted later this week.
There is a certain thrill that comes with controlling a sniper. It draws countless gamers to play as a scout/sniper class whenever a new shooter comes out. There is something about finding that perfect hiding spot and taking out enemies from long distances. It’s exhilarating, tactical, and, to be honest, brings a lot of joy when you snipe someone from afar and hear their rage over the headset. Although sniping is fun in a multiplayer setting, can it resonate with single players and provide hours of engaging gameplay? Well, it is definitely possible, thanks to the variety and fun that can be found in Rebellion’s Sniper Elite 4.
Sniper Elite 4 is the newest edition to the franchise and first ever on current gen consoles. You play Karl Fairburne, an elite marksman and agent working in 1943 Italy. Your mission is to stop the Nazi’s from unleash a devastating weapon and fight with the Italian Resistance to free Italy from the tyrannical hands of the Fascists. I’m going to keep this review spoiler free, but let’s just say the Nazi’s are planning something big and Italy is in a world of hurt. You interact with many men and women who are struggling to free Italy from enemy hands. There are times when the story feels a little hollow. We don’t see a lot of successful transitions from mission to mission, which doesn’t help the story flow smoothly. Also throw in the fact that Fairburne is about as monotone as you can get. Side characters are more successful than Fairburne at showing emotion. To be fair, snipers probably can’t afford to be emotional, so we will give Fairburne a break. Even though I wasn’t really emotionally invested in the story, it still kept me engaged and gave Fairburne a solid reason to take out the Nazis.
Throughout the game, you are tasked with completing main objectives and optional side missions. The side missions aren’t necessary, but help you gain experience points which help you level up and expand your skill set. Side missions are given to you by members of the Italian resistance. These side missions range from assassinating a target to investigating specific areas. The side missions and main objectives are well thought out and not tedious at all. I had not problem completing every objective in my playthrough. Keep in mind that you may have to cover a huge area to get to each mission. The maps are HUGE!!! I easily spent an hour and a half completing each mission. Keep in mind that your playthrough may not exactly match mine, which speaks to how Rebellion spent a lot of time giving you multiple ways to navigate each map and engage with the enemy.
I can’t thank Rebellion enough for taking the time to give me exactly what I want in a game, which is variety. Sniping is not the only option! You can run and gun with a machine gun. You can utilize stealth and melee enemy soldiers. Or, take one of the different types of sniper rifles and go to work. The levels are not linear at all. You can go a variety of different directions and still accomplish your objectives. I tried going different routes and found different sight lines, vantage points, and different ways to kill the enemy. The variety in the gameplay easily one of the best features of the game.
The variety is also found in your weapons. Each weapon has at two different options. You have regular rounds and suppressed rounds. You can use regular or sticky grenades. You can put timers on TNT or throw it by a tank and shoot it manually. I loved being able to pick and choose which mode will fit my needs. Yes, you can play the game with regular rounds. However, AI will EASILY spot you unless you play smart. If you don’t use suppressed rounds, then you can time your shots with environmental sounds. I was able to discreetly kill enemy soldiers as planes flew over head. I could lay a body near soldiers and booby trap it with a mine. I can use rocks to lure enemies to me and kill them with my melee attacks. I cannot stress enough that you have a ton of variety in Sniper Elite 4!
Another great feature is the return of the X-Ray Kill Cam. Typical games will give you some kind of indicator if you nail a headshot. But Sniper Elite 4 goes one step further. It will not only tell you exactly what you shot, but it will show you how your bullet killed an enemy in brutal x-ray vision. You can see the bullet enter the skull or chest and destroy the brain or lungs. I saw eyeballs get shot out. I saw bullets eviscerate kidneys and intestines. And, I saw my bullets end any chance of a soldier having kids. Yes, that’s right, there are testicle shots in Sniper Elite 4. Seeing the testicles shatter was hilarious and cringe-worthy. The x-ray vision also works for melee kills. You can see where your knife enters the body and see what part of the body breaks as you punch or kick an enemy.
The game offers single, multiplayer, and co-op. The co-op modes are pretty standard. You have the option to play the campaign online or play a survival mode that pits you against wave after wave of enemy soldiers. Co-op really appeals to me, especially with the size of the maps. You can cover more ground if you play co-op and split up. Or, stay together and wreak havoc on the enemies. Either way, you will have a great time with your friends. There is a quick match option if you are looking to jump into a quick game. When the game officially launches, I will put together a multiplayer review and talk about the different game modes and server stability.
The game runs really well. I played it on Xbox One, and the load times were surprisingly quick. I was not expecting that with how big each map is. Graphically, the character animations are good. I notices some clipping in certain parts of the game like my rifle going through a barricade and not over it. There were also a few lighting issues. To be honest, these anomalies were not very common and did not distract from the gameplay. The maps and environments are absolutely beautiful. The sound design is top notch. The environmental sounds were very realistic, especially when you hear distant planes flying overhead. The gunshots sounded very realistic as well.
Sniper Elite 4 gave me exactly what I wanted – the opportunity to be the baddest sniper who ever lived. I could kill the enemy in any way that I saw fit. The maps are well made and massive. While the story is weak, the heart of the game is in the gameplay. You will spend hours upon hours in Sniper Elite 4. You do NOT want to miss this game!
Sniper Elite 4 is available February 14th for $59.99.
If you are still unsure about Sniper Elite 4, check out the first 30 minutes of the game right here!
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Brutal X-Ray Kill Cams
Graphical Hiccups here and there