The Sniper Elite series has grown in scope and stature over the years, from its humble (almost niche) beginnings on the PC, to becoming the fun but not quite AAA experience we got with Afrika. Whichever generation of hardware it’s been on, the game has always kept its fundamental focus on the USP… gory x-ray bullet penetration. Where Sniper Elite 4 looks like it’s going is pretty much in the same direction as before, with Rebellion simply honing and refining the gameplay experience to offer more bombastic action, and more subtle stealth opportunities. Maybe they’ve been playing a bit too much Hitman.
Karl Fairburne is back and this time he’s being sent into Italy in the grip of Mussolini’s Fascist rule during 1943. Joining him is the superb ballistic physics that are the hallmark of the series, and the gruesome slow-motion kills that show you’ve really nailed a kill. They’re expanded further this time from purely sniper kills to include melee and explosions so they get the bloody and detailed treatment as well. The extra grunt from the current gen hardware coupled with the game engine continuing to benefit from the experience of the studio, means that we’re getting more bang for our buck this time.
Also getting an overhaul are the level design and the environments. Promising a more open world approach in what look to be richer, more colourful locale than the other games (most noticeably different from the dark, evil and relatively linear Zombie Army Trilogy); the levels are riddled with different routes, sniper spots, accident opportunities and setups for stealth kills. Take a look at the gameplay video below to really see what’s changed for Sniper Elite 4.
What stands out most of all with Sniper Elite 4 is the variation in gameplay. Given the title you’d expect that this will be nothing but a sniping simulator, and that is the key selling point. However, the third person action mechanics look to have been stepped up a notch, especially with the gadget use. Setting traps is still a core part of inching your way across the battlefield, and secondary weapons let you take the fight to the opposing forces if you need to get in close. That said, the most satisfying part of the series has always been finding the perfect vantage point, slowing your breath and lining up a sweet series of shots… and this time it looks like there might even be silenced rifles to confuse and disorient the enemy.
If the single player isn’t enough there’s the return of competitive multiplayer and survival/horde mode, as well as (fingers crossed at least) campaign co-op. Some of the most fun we’ve had here at Codec Moments has been working through bombed cities clearing the Nazi menace, then royally screwing up and having to panic defend our position. Finally, as with the last game, there’s a target the Fuhrer mission available as a pre-order bonus, and if it’s as good as Hunt the Grey Wolf it’ll be worth going for. Get your pre-order in for when Sniper Elite 4 crawls on to consoles and PC on the 14th February (a perfect Valentine’s Day present then) at the usual price for a new release. If you’re unsure on whether it’s in your sights, we’re aiming to get a review up as soon as we can, so check back soon.