Rebellion return with their now well established Sniper Elite series with a new game set within an Italian flavoured World War II campaign. With lots to see and do and a more polished open play area to explore is this latest game worth checking out? Take a look at our Sniper Elite 4 review for the full picture.
Sniper Elite 4 Review:
Today we’re taking a look at Rebellion’s Sniper Elite 4 which sees American OSS secret agent and super sniper Karl Fairburne return into the fold in Italy 1943. Again, Karl is tasked with thwarting the German regime in the region as a solo operative although this time has partisan forces to be mindful of as well. The game plays pretty much the same as Sniper Elite 3 but there are several improvements to the game such as more verticality and extra moves. The core shooting mechanics with their slow motion bullet cam views remains but it’s an impressive attention to detail with the level design that makes Sniper Elite 4 stand out over its predecessors. Hats have to be taken off to the designers here for offering full on sandbox play areas to dive into and with Karl being a dab hand at a variety of approaches means players can adopt sniper techniques or stealth it for up close and personal silent take-downs. If the mood suits or Germans get on top then a good old fashioned shootout with machine guns and grenades is always an option.
Primarily due to the massive number of enemies filling each of the 10 levels it’s best to remain silent and deadly from afar. You’re equipped with all the right tools to handle whatever situation is thrown at you including mines, silenced pistol, satchel charges etc. Once again environmental sounds can be used to mask your shots given silent rounds are of limited supply. That said, the enemy AI has also been upgraded and will triangulate your location if you get too cocky or mess up with a shot. This adds some awesome tension to proceedings keeping players well on edge as they move around. On easier settings you are given quite a bit of leeway in terms of being spotted or enemies knowing where you are but crank the difficulty up and you’ll see a marked difference in how the game can be played.
Across the massive levels in which you’re free to move around at leisure, there are numerous objectives to either discover yourself on the fly or find out about during mission intermissions by talking to fellow resistance fighters. You’re then given the large play space to sneak around and do what you must, gaining experience points for pretty much everything you do. Some objectives might be louder than others such as taking out tanks but ultimately it’s up to the player what they get up to with only primary objectives being a requirement before being able to extract from the area. It’s the fact the maps are so well designed and objectives well thought out that makes the game so appealing and opens up for replaying over and over.
In terms of the game’s story it’s all a bit standard fare though with the usual good guys versus the Germans tropes being used here. It’s perhaps the weakest element to the game and for the most part can largely be ignored which is a shame really. That said, it’s all about simply getting stuck in to the maps and not worrying about the fluff which in some ways is what counts.
Visually, there are some good effects being used here to convey the Italian terrain with a neat mixture of night and daytime missions for variety. On PC at least the game runs relatively smooth even at 4K although in some instances high end graphics cards will struggle to reach 60 frames per second on max settings such is the nature of the open levels. That said, there are numerous options to tinker with to create a bespoke experience depending on the user’s system.
Audio comes in with some neat sound effects and an authentic set of German voices for the opposing force which is great to hear. The voice acting is a bit on the cliche side for the resistance characters but each person does their job if you’re not hitting the skip button. The sound effects and music compliment the gameplay well but it’s the fact players have to pay attention to every aural detail which makes this game thrilling to play.
As mentioned, there are 10 missions where each of these can take up to an hour depending on if you tackled all of the objectives and how careful you are. Purists can have a field day hunting for collectibles or not being detected at all and due to the nature of the open levels combined with several difficulty options means there’s enough meat here for the longer term. The toughest setting turns all the assists off for the most authentic experience but it’s as tough as nails and really should be tackled once some familiarity with the levels is gained. A survival mode also makes a return where players face-off against waves of attackers. Solo players will also level up their character by gaining ranks which in turn allow for upgrades and cosmetic skins to be used. There’s actually quite a lot to strive for here if aiming for 100% completion.
Sniper Elite 4 also allows for two player co-op of the campaign and survival mode which is an excellent addition. For more competitive players there are several multiplayer modes on offer to test your sniping prowess such as death match, team death match and distance king where the latter relies on the winner being the player who performs the longest range kill at the end of the round. So there’s enough here for players to sink their teeth into both on and offline.
Rebellion has done a fine job with Sniper Elite 4 and whilst the core element of shooting opponents at range remains the same as previous games in the series, the core game is spruced up with some excellent levels which can’t be expressed enough how well designed they are allowing for a much more broader set of play options. Aside from a lackluster story and a distinct lack of variety in mission objective actions such as kill this person, blow this up or collect this document, the essence of being able to sneak around or shoot your way through the game in an unscripted manner is pretty awesome. If you like stealth, then this is a must play game and if sniping is your thing then a game dedicated to it is most welcome. There’s pretty much something for everyone here and with many games opting for more modern or futuristic vibes a return to World War II is somewhat refreshing.