Busting Nazi ball bags. Who wouldn’t enjoy taking a 400 metre shot with a high-powered sniper rifle and then enjoying a slow motion, x-ray kill cam of your bullet obliterating a Nazi’s pair of testicles into a billion different pieces? That’s the big reason to play Sniper Elite 4.
Sniper Elite 4 is a third-person stealth shooter that takes place this time around in Italy, following the events of Sniper Elite 3. You take control of Kyle Fairburn an elite commando and trained sniper. Your mission is to save Italy from the grip of fascism by taking out high-ranking Nazi officials and to stop the Nazis from deploying a super weapon against the Allies. What can one sniper do by himself I hear you ask? Well it turns out, quite a lot.
Each mission is set in a huge environment, which I must say does look fantastic. The developers have done a really good job of making each level really immersive and making them beautiful to look at. Throughout every level you are tasked with a variety of objectives, ranging from, taking out Nazi Officers to blowing up motorcades and clearing checkpoints for Italian partisan fighters.
The way you tackle these objectives is completely up to you. Whether you want to snipe from a few hundred meters away or get up close and personal with some hand to hand combat and close range weapons. Sniper Elite 4 leaves this entirely up to you. The game tries to encourage you to act stealthily, with convenient planes flying above that will mask the sound of a sniper rifle and this is where that classic x-ray kill cam comes in. I have to say shooting Nazi testicles and watching them explode is one of the most satisfying experiences I have ever been a part of. In fact, the whole slow motion kill cam is just brilliant. Seeing your bullet that you shot from near on 500 metres away enter the skull of a Nazi officer and mash-up his brains is gruesomely awesome.
This is all well and good for the first twenty minutes or so. I soon got fed up of the repetitive sniping at a distance and moved in closer for some action that had a little more pace to it. However, the main fault with Sniper Elite 4 that I found was that there was no real penalty for being spotted. After I had my cover blown, Nazi soldiers would obviously try to gun you down, but you could easily dispatch ten or fifteen enemies with your sub machine gun even on the hardest setting. It all just felt a bit too easy even with enemies calling for reinforcements, I could just sit behind cover and pop out, fire a few rounds and happily sit there until another Nazi ran around the corner.
The objectives also felt a bit generic and repetitive. Pretty much every level you have to clear checkpoints of enemy soldier, or find a folder that some guy just left out in the open that contains some incredibly important intel. The objectives of each mission just felt a little bit unimaginative.
Going online is a completely different experience. Playing co-op with another person is really good fun. Both of you acting together to advance the story line really adds another element to the gameplay. Me and the random chap that I played with worked excellently as a team together, spotting enemies for one another and laying mines to cover our escape when we got spotted. It was an absolute joy to be able to team up and tactically plan out our murdering of Nazi foot soldiers.
Multiplayer is back with its classic game modes such as Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Distance King and Team Distance King (where players with the highest total kill distance wins), Control (basically capture the flag), and my personal favourite, No Cross, which places an impassable barrier in the middle of the map, forcing teams to snipe at each other. Now, I detest snipers in all multiplayer games. They camp, never play the objective and are an absolute menace if you come up against a team filled with them, but in No Cross it really is great fun, surveying the area, looking for that little bit of movement and then firing that fatal blow into your opponent. That waiting really creates a sense of tension which leads to a lot of excitement when you finally get a kill shot.
For both single player and multiplayer you can customise your load outs. This felt a bit lacklustre as there are not many rifles and weapons you can choose from and there is no real discernible difference between the weapons that are on offer anyway. I pretty much just stuck with the M1903 Springfield throughout my whole play through; both single player and online.
Sniper Elite 4 really is a great game to play. The level design is fantastic and gorgeously created, with plenty of sniping points to fire from. However, there doesn’t seem to be any real leap from Sniper Elite 3 that really sets its successor apart. The plot was lacking and very uninteresting, coupled with some pretty shoddy voice acting and generic objectives. The stealth elements are there, until ultimately you get bored with them, but with a great co-op mode; some fun multiplayer and that ever hilarious and gory kill cam, Sniper Elite 4 Is a game you need to add to your collection. Maybe don’t go out of your way and pay full price for it, but give it a month or two and it will have halved in price. Get it then.
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