Sniper Elite 4 is a third-person action game where an American sniper Karl Fairburne, code-named Red Fox, is sneaking around in a Second World War Italian landscape to slaughter Nazis. With a sniper rifle of course.
In Sniper Elite 4 player gets a mission that must be accomplished with the help of various weapons. Missions are full of amazingly cautious enemy soldiers that will notice every movement faster than crawling from hundreds of meters away. Missions can be accomplished by sneaking from bush to bush without attracting attention or with a rumble by submachine gun and hand grenades. Thus, the game reminds me of Hitman game series, but without the black suit and red tie.
The game has no actual story. Fairburne is thrown from mission to mission and time after time he has to eliminate important Nazi officers or destroy German experimental mass destruction weapons for the Italian resistance movement.
The beef of the game, precision shooting, has been sought to get as realistic as possible. Shooting in 300 meters is hard and the player must evaluate the distance of the target before moving the trigger finger. By holding the breath, the shooter’s hand stabilizes, and long shots get easier to perform. The player doesn’t have to take the wind into account on the first two difficulty levels, but at hard and hardcore wind can be measured.
In the beginning Sniper Elite 4 is more frustrating than enjoyable. Vigilant enemies notice every sneaking attempt almost instantly and the alarm summons dozens of enemies to the scene, causing a firefight that is hard to win.
The graphics of the game raise no heart rate, even though the landscapes are beautiful, and the colors remind of warm Sicily. The characters of the game look like wax figures and the variation of enemy movements is like yoga class repeating the same mantra. But landscapes and characters are not clearly the point of this game. The player gets rewarded from precise long-distance shots by slow motions of bullet trajectory and the hit. That is a dichotomous feature, because those presentations can also be interpreted as glorifying violence. Slow-motion can be turned off, and that’s a wise decision from game developers because not everyone wants to see violent and brutal destruction of the human body.
Rebellion Developments have not been using as many resources to the soundscape as shooting mechanism and slow motions. There is no other sound in the missions than rifle shots, a rustle of the bushes and nonsense discussions of German soldiers. In a very tight situation, loud action music starts playing, but it subsides as soon as enemy soldiers give up searching for the player.
Sniper Elite 4 has a poor story, difficult start and banal confrontation between Nazis and Yankees. Most of the game is waiting that enemies pass by or that soundscape covers rifle shots. Missions are pretty much pipe run, even though there are few options to complete the mission with. Sniper Elite 4 is a good simulation for long-distance shooting, but that’s pretty much it. I’d recommend this game for someone that wants to practice precise shooting, but not really to anyone else.
Publisher: Rebellion Developments
Developer: Rebellion Developments
Platforms: Windows, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 14.2.2017
Genres: Tactical shooting, stealth, action
All pictures taken by author.