It’s that time of the year; Everything is red, an angel is shooting hearts and you get bonus points for killing every single Nazi with testicular precision. Forget about Valentine’s Day; I am talking about Sniper Elite 4! The only hearts you’ll see are the ones you obliterate with your well timed shot from a hidden sniper rifle one hundred yards away. But is it still fun bustin’ balls after 3 previous titles?
Harder better faster stronger
Let’s start with something that wasn’t fun at all; on PS4 when you download the game and it says it is ready to go, keep in mind that the only thing you can play from the first download segment is “the shooting range”. Now I do understand that this is probably meant to happen by the great guys at Rebellion but after 5 minutes fooling around in the range I really wanted to start my campaign. Be prepared to wait a while until the 2nd segment has been downloaded, at least on PS4 that is.
Once you start up your campaign you get some nice animated stills leading to the first Italian coast where the German officers film some propaganda by testing out their first radio controlled super missile by launching it at a allied spy communication ship. It is your task to find and destroy the propaganda cameras, kill the officers and have a lot of stealthy fun along the way!
The new and improved X ray kill cams are gory and satisfying and we’re all guilty of loving this major selling point that made the first in this series such a success! The X ray has been improved and the many camera angles and bullet/body physics really make sure every kill feels unique even if you have, like me, the kill cam frequency maxed out in the option menu. I started recording the cool ones but I stopped after an hour of playing because every single X ray was cool enough to be saved. My new guilty pleasure, they’re Nazis anyway!
The new AI is a challenge, even on normal settings!
From the start of the mission every single enemy will already have spawned and follow their routine. So when you alarm some enemies in your segment others further away might be alerted as well and come to reinforce your local foes. In previous games the enemies spawned at trigger points in the map when you passed a certain location. Enemies will throw grenades and triangulate on your position much more than they used to and you are forced even more into a stealthy approach if you want to pass the mission without dying. The normal setting is still the most enjoyable one for the standard player but know that the AI will react faster, and most of all, they will work together against you and your allied rebels.
Something you’ll want to do to avoid detection is hiding your victims’ bodies, time your shots with the ambient noise the levels offer and use the scarce muffled ammo only when necessary. Another gimmick the game likes to offer is the environmental damage you can unleash upon your enemies. I liked the barrels, and gas etc, but the hovering cranes felt a bit forced to me. But hey, you don’t have to use it, it all depends on how you want to tackle the enormous maps the game offers.
Bigger doens’t mean better…
But here it definitely does! The scale of the maps and the intricate level design with its difference in levels and caves makes the maps enjoyable horizontally by the vast scale of the maps for long range sniping. And when you use the vertical gameplay to your advantage you can bring the thunder from above on your unsuspecting enemies.
The scale really allows you to place tripwire, TNT and mines so when enemies follow you into retreat they lose one or two limbs for the Führer’s glory. The mines and other traps also trigger the X ray kill cam and offer a secondary effect from sticky to delayed explosions. So how you tackle the huge Axis playground really is up to you.
It looks like a ps2 game…
I saw this on some forums on the world wide nagging web; Yes it doesn’t look like the next Uncharted but it doesn’t have to. The game itself offers great gameplay and not once did I cringe when looking at the graphics. They are not the worst on the system and the engine plays well with the focal length to keep you looking at pretty things in front of you. There’s no popup worth mentioning and that’s what matters most in a sniper game. When spotting in the distance on the vast areas the game offers you will be able to see everything. The sound is really good too, from ambient noise you can use to your advantage to the kill cams and the German chatter, it alls sounds good and playing with your surround system/headset will pull you even deeper in this stealthy 3rd person shooter.
Multiplayer is laggy when players move further away from you…
Now this was all chocolate delish until now… Where I did frown a few times however was in multiplayer; Hardly any players in the objective focussed game modes and when I used the Quick Match option I noticed some lagging players which is ultimately annoying in a game where precision and timing are key to success. So my tactic was to hide in the foliage until an unsuspecting player joined me only to greet him with my knife to his throat. Now this isn’t anything a good patch can fix once the mass gets the game. The multiplayer modes sound very promising though. I might update this last bit once I get my hands on these modes.
Sniper Elite 4 is definitely a worthy addition to the series and while it lacks some graphical power it offers the typical gameplay we all love from the franchise and even improved the formula to boost the scale, the AI, the different ways to tackle objectives and the overall feel of the game. Theres a 4 player co-op survival if you’re feeling lucky as well. If you want to have close to real life physics you can turn up the difficulty and see how far you can get in this crazy hard setting. So there’s quite enough of replayabilily and challenge for the hardest veteran! The story elements work better this time around and Karl feels like a credible person with the motives that drive him. Multiplayer still needs a boost though but one thing hasn’t changed; Yes, you can shoot Hitler in the nuts and do it again, and again and again… And it will be different every time you do it. How else would you spend Valentine’s day anyways?