If you enjoy subtlety, then Sniper Elite 4 probably isn’t the game for you. By the same token, if you’re not a fan of gratuitous violence and graphic gore, you might want to give this one a wide berth.
However, if you’re ok with seeing various body parts blown to smithereens, slow motion, x-ray vision footage of brains, hearts, lungs and even testicles eviscerated by rifle bullets and countless Nazis slaughtered in the name of freedom, then Sniper Elite 4 is definitely for you.
Set directly following the events of Sniper Elite 3, 4 sees Fairburne tasked with getting behind enemy lines in Italy to assist the efforts of the resistance there against the Nazis. I’ll be honest, the plot seemed like a very thin window dressing and I’d struggle to be able to tell you what actually happened. It’s not that it was bad, I just really couldn’t have cared less, but only because the gameplay was so good.
Moving the established framework of Sniper Elite has done wonders for the franchise. The sandbox levels are massive, in comparison to the linear levels of old, and lend themselves to Sniper Elite’s slow, deliberate pace. Each mission comes with a main objective and several optional ones which can be completed in any order and as you see fit.
Rebellion has worked hard to remove restrictions from its fourth visit to World War II and has largely succeeded. You’re free to go where you want, when you want and do whatever you want. But it’s not without its downsides.
It’s true that the levels are large and open, but it’s also true that much of these levels are just empty. Sure, they’re pretty and the views are occasionally breathtaking, but when the pace is already so glacial, having to spend lots of time travelling to the next area with enemies can become tedious.
The non-linearity helps confound the issue. You can probably complete each of the eight missions in an hour a piece of you fly through and don’t worry about collectibles. If you’re a completionist though, you’re looking at closer to 2 or 3 hours per mission. And that’s on normal difficulty. Crank it up and you’re going to be spending a lot of time in Italy.
Look, having a game that takes a while to complete is obviously not a bad thing, and playing Sniper Elite 4, I definitely enjoyed myself, it’s just that being open-world removes some of the immediacy. I felt a bit lost while playing, sort of just wandering about, killing enemies and moving on. I never felt like anything I did needed to be done. I was just fort of…there.
Then again, just being there was pretty damn good in its own right, so who am I to complain? Sniper Elite’s most infamous feature — x-ray death cam — is back with a vengeance in Sniper Elite 4. I’d starting to worry that I’m a bit of a psychopath after playing.
Every time I shot off a Nazi’s jaw, saw his eyeballs explode (or his testicles for that matter), shredded his lungs, smashed his bones to pieces or even watched as shrapnel from a grenade or mine tore through his fragile body I laughed. I laughed a lot. Not because it was funny, but because I didn’t know what other reaction to have.
The kill cam is incredibly gruesome, incredibly detailed and incredibly disturbing; but I can’t look away. It adds to the satisfaction of lining up a perfect shot from 400m away to watch the full-scale damage of the bullet as it travels through the target’s head, ricochets off his helmet and travels through his buddy’s intestines.
I started to think of Sniper Elite more as a game of golf. Of sport instead of murder.
Aside from the campaign, that’ll keep you busy for at least a dozen hours, Sniper Elite 4 comes complete with co-op and multiplayer. It was incredibly tough to find a match pre-release, but hopefully once the game is out in the wild, there’ll be enough players to join in with.
Co-op is easily the pick of the multiplayer offerings, letting you and a friend team up and take on each level however you like. It’s exactly like single player, except now there are two of you!
Competitive multiplayer isn’t quite as good. I found that waiting around to get a kill was much less interesting when the targets knew I was after them. Most matches devolved into nobody moving until the timer ran out. Yawn.
For all my complaints, I had an absolute ball, um, blast…ahem, I really enjoyed Sniper Elite 4 and I will continue to for some time to come. It’s such an easy title to just pick up and play. I’d recommend upping the difficulty above where you’d think you’d sit, but beyond that dive-in and blow some Nazi brains out.
Sniper Elite 4 was reviewed using a digital promo code on PS4, provided to PowerUp! by the publisher.
Game Title: Sniper Elite 4
X-ray vision testicle kills - 10/10
Gravelly Batman voiced main character - 4.5/10
Elite Sniping - 8/10