REVIEW – Sniper Elite has always been an odd franchise. The first game was released back in the very first Xbox days, and then quickly forgotten, only for it to reappear on the Xbox 360/PS3 generation, with a remake of the first game, and way more gore added to the mix.
The franchise also had a weird spin-off similar to Call Of Duty’s zombie mode – not present in Sniper Elite 4. Here though you had four players going up against zombie hordes with sniper rifles mainly the main death dealer to the undead hordes. It was not anything special, and the X-Ray kills were sort of weird when it came to the zombie hordes, as it lacked a certain punch to the whole affair. Now it is time for once again to be realistic, bloody, and most of all to kick some Nazi ass as Karl Fairburne. The question is though if we should jump back for the fourth time into this franchise, or should we just ignore the entire thing and go play Hitman? Find out here!
V2s, and a Bunch of Wunder Weapons
The story of Sniper Elite 4 is a simple one, after the North African campaign, the Allies are gearing up for a potential Invasion of Italy. However, the Nazis have once again come up with a superweapon that might turn the war in favour of the Krauts. So it is up to Karl to infiltrate Italy and search for the top scientist to stop him from creating even deadlier weapons. On the way, Karl also tangles with some resistance fighters and the usual political intrigue that is par for the course in such a story.
There is nothing special here, but the run-of-the-mill bad guys, talk of freedom, and how resistance can overcome any fascist obstacle. It never goes anywhere too deep and feels like a generic action movie regarding narrative and characters. The voice acting is also horrendous, and the line delivery is extremely flat, and while the characters are well rendered the lip-synching plus the quality of the voice work feels like it was recorded in a soundproof studio room.
If you come looking for a deep narrative while shooting Nazis, do not expect too much, even Wolfenstein was able to surpass it in that department.
One Headshot, and Two Nut Shots
So the story is not the best which is a shame, but luckily Sniper Elite 4 excels in every other department. The hallmark of the series aka X-Ray kills are now back in all of its glory. Hearts explode, lungs get crushed, and testicles spill out as the sniper bullet passes through these body parts. All in its most gory forms that we can imagine. It reminded me of the old Soldier of Fortune series from the 90s where every shot would show their effect on the body in a spectacular and over-exaggerated way.
The same thing is shown in Sniper Elite 4, hell you can do double kills by having the bullet go through two people, or have it hit a soldier’s grenade and watch as his organs liquefy. Fun gameplay if you have the patience for it, or dare to try the higher difficulties. As there are four difficulty modes – Cadet (EASY), Marksman (Normal), Sniper Elite (Hard), Authentic (Hardcore), plus you can also set up custom difficulty settings via the custom menu. The difference between the four main difficulties is that as we go up the difficulty, it does not add enemy AI or more health to enemies. Instead, it will add more physics to the game, and less UI for the player.
For newcomers to the series I would recommend going with Cadet at least for the first mission, and then start playing on Marksman.
The levels also accommodate the gameplay well, as they are rather large with full of verticality for the players to enjoy. You can tackle an objective, or multiple goals any way you want to do so in a level. While you do have a sniper rifle, you can mess around with bombs, dynamites, booby traps, and even trip mines. A silenced pistol and an assortment of SMGs are also available that allows you to mix up the gameplay on the levels. Speaking of levels, the AI has also been updated and now will search for the player, try to flank them, and even use a variety of other tactics to make our life a living nightmare. The AI is also pretty accurate against the player, and while most games would just make the enemy miss the player constantly, here a shot or two even on normal difficulty will force you to reload a save.
The game also tracks all of your shots, achievements, and feats that you do during the levels. At the end of each level, you gain XP, which allows you to level up, gain new skills, and unlock new weapons and weapon skins. We also get cooperative mode and the usual Multiplayer modes that allow us to test our mettle against other players from around the world. While the game lacks a proper tutorial (if you mess up action, the game will readily allow you to read a quick hint card), it does have a shooting range which allows the player to test out their abilities before trying to hit Hitler’s hat from 1KM away.
The gameplay in Sniper Elite 4 while is nothing revolutionary, it is really fun to shoot the Nazis and see their heads explode, and over the course of eight missions that have large maps, the player will have a lot of opportunities to do so in any way they wish.
A Glint and You’re Dead
The graphics in Sniper Elite 4 look stunning, and the details of the environment are top-notch. Everything from the Italian city, to a forest filled with enemies, this game does not disappoint. The art direction is great, and animation also was done well from movement to death knells, to ragdoll physics. The only complaint I have is that some of the face character textures are not the best (especially when it comes to secondary characters). The game also supports 3D, so if you have a TV that supports this feature, turn it on, as this is well done here.
At the end of the day, Sniper Elite 4 is an okay game, with a large semi-open mission-based gameplay structure that is reminiscent of Hitman. Although here getting your cover blown will not result in instant death. While the game is good, it does have its issues, such as the lack of a true tutorial, horrible voice acting, and at time awkward controls. Still, if you have the itch to shoot some Nazis, and see their heads explode, you should try this game out!
+ Great gunplay and X-Ray kills are still awesome
+ Large maps, semi-open world, but not bloated (Focused)
+ Stunning graphics…
– …that sometimes fail when it comes to NPC texture
– The story is not the best
– Lack of a proper tutorial is annoying
Publisher: Rebellion, Sold Out
Genre: Tactical shooter
Release date: February 14, 2017