I’ll be honest here, I do have a bit of a reputation on the Checkpoint team as the “go-to-girl” for shooting games. While I’m a massive fan of the genre, the Sniper Elite series is one I’ve never taken much of an interest in, until now. The fourth game in a franchise might seem to some like a bit of an odd place to jump into a pre-established franchise, but trust me here you’re all okay to just leap right in with me. In Sniper Elite 4 we see our protagonist OSS agent Karl Fairburne back in action ready to take out some Nazis.
In a time where most of us use games as a means of escapism from the current messed up state of the world, Sniper Elite 4 oddly enough has found itself being strangely relevant in today’s current political environment.
While 2016 was a year we just wanted to end because it took all of our favourite famous people away, only a month or so into 2017 and we are already questioning if it’s alright to punch a Nazi. This then prompts the questions: Is it acceptable to do your Nazi punching in cyberspace? And should we really be taking our political cues from a game with slow motion X-ray testicle shots? Perhaps not.
Sniper Elite 4 takes place in Italy in 1943, directly after the events of Sniper Elite III. Of course, it’s still in the middle of World War II, and the Italian resistance is putting up a fight against the Nazis and their allies.You’re tasked with helping the Italian resistance and eliminating key German targets. This seems simple enough and to be honest it actually is. Follow the basic principles of sniping and you’ll actually do quite well at this game, but be a Rambo and gun your way through the numerous units of enemy troops and you may hit a snag. Namely “oops I’m out of ammo, oh and now I’m dead.”
Sniper Elite 4 is basically the game every sniper from Battlefield or Call of Duty has been dreaming of. You can finally put your camping skills to good use and not get yelled at by your teammates or receive inbox hate mail from the opposing team.
“…you may now be in your little snipers nest but this doesn’t mean you can go and start shooting Nazis left right and centre.”
As an open level sniping paradise I was in heaven here, performing stealth take-downs on up close targets and promptly hiding there bodies. Making it to higher ground was my first main objective to get an eagle eye view of the landscape and start zeroing in on those key sniping targets. Once again stealth is key here, you may now be in your little snipers nest but this doesn’t mean you can go and start shooting Nazis left right and centre. You need to time your shots with the aircraft flying overhead for max noise dampening or use suppressed ammo.
Failing to do this can give your position away to the enemy and then you’ll find yourself having to relocate to avoid detection or worse in a fire fight you may not be prepared for. If you do find yourself in the later situation its important to remember you’re a sniper and not Rambo. Taking on the swarm of incoming troops with your secondary assault rifle will only further alert more troops to your position so make sure if this is your plan that you’re well prepared.
You really do have an impressive arsenal at your disposal here in the game; you’ve even got a great choice for secondary weapons which isn’t always the case in shooters. What’s even more impressive however is the number of explosives at your disposal. Sticky grenades, satchel charges, TNT, S mines, trip mines, even a rock! There’s no shortage of different options available to you with which to cause mayhem and confuse your enemies. You can even booby trap enemy bodies to explode once someone comes investigating to check for a pulse.
The customisation in Sniper Elite 4 is actually one of its best features, with the option to purchase weapons and skins to help you on your missions or unlock your favourite rifle to use freely. However, its prices are, like the game, World War II accurate. So unless you have a years supply of rations to sell on a black market somewhere, don’t expect to be buying all your favourite toys all at once.
As well as purchasing your weapons you can also upgrade them and improve Karl’s skills. Some weapons can only be unlocked by performing certain actions, such as melee killing enemy officers X number of times. Some mastery skins require you to unlock all add-ons to a weapon. Every fifth level, you are told to choose a new skill, such as increased maximum heart rate for sprinting longer distances, or acquiring enemy intel more quickly. You’ll only be able to choose one of two skills per tier, however you can switch these skills between missions to figure out which ones best suit how you play.
With so much to enjoy here its sad then that Sniper Elite 4 is let down by its lack of gripping storyline. I’m not sure if its simply the WWII storyline in gaming having been done to death or that it simply doesn’t grip me like it used to, but it didn’t engage me that much. The redeeming grace was every time I started to actually notice the impending lack of narrative or compelling storyline, I was gleefully sated with an X-ray Kill Cam. Just check out my skills below with this helmet shot!
Bang! The X-ray Kill Cam is the signature feature to the Sniper series. Famous online for its X-ray testicle shots, its clear to see why this feature gets everybody talking. My first Kill Cam experience in Sniper Elite 4 had me making noises like a giddy school kid and instantly wanting more.
The multiplayer options in Sniper Elite 4 are actually pretty impressive for a sniper based game. The campaign has now been designed to be played as two-player co-op as well as single player, which frankly is always a welcome addition. It’s worth noting though that this can result in shortened mission play time, but you’ll be able to perform synchronised kills. This can make you feel a kickass taking down the enemy in strategic duel strikes.
There’s also a somewhat traditional multiplayer featured in Sniper Elite 4, tailored to suit sniping gameplay. Distance King is an all out PVP death-match mode where a players total kill distance determines the matches winner, and No Cross is team based death-match with a similar premise, the level however being divided to separate the teams, basically creating a ‘no mans land’ in the middle which ensures all kills are performed at a distance.
The Bottom Line
The game’s enormous open levels ensure that you can approach each mission in whichever way you choose and there’s a far amount of skill and challenge for the player in lining up the perfect shot. If you are a fan of sniping or the WWII setting then this is most definitely the game for you. Even though the storyline for me in this game is a little lackluster. the gameplay is undoubtedly solid enough to hold Sniper Elite 4 up as a game worth playing.