Title: Sniper Elite 4
Platform: PC, PS4 (reviewed) and Xbox One
Developer: Rebellion Developments
Publisher: Rebellion Developments / Sold Out
Release date: Out now
tl;dr: Sniping soldiers is fun
Price: $60 / £30
Family Focus: Click here for more information.

This latest entry in the sniping franchise takes place immediately following the events of 2014’s Sniper Elite III. Set in Italy in 1943, as Karl Fairburne, players are tasked to aid the Italian resistance force to fight against the Fascists in World War II. Fairburne’s mission will take him across vast Italian maps where players will need to use a strategic approach in order to take down the enemy forces.

Much like its predecessors, Sniper Elite 4 is a third person where the focus of the game is – you guessed it – sniping. As players approach their target, they need to strategically plan their attack. In order to do so, they can scope out the area with the binoculars and tag targets and useful items such as explosive barrels.

Fairburne also has a few aces up his sleeve. While his main weapon is the sniper rifle, if things get too close for comfort, he also has close range guns out of the gate, or he can pick up a vast arsenal of weapons in enemy camps.

Before tackling each mission, players can choose their loadout which includes a main rifle, sidearm and throwable items. Once players have chosen their arsenal, they are thrown into a vast map to tackle their objective(s). Each level is huge and can take up to one hour to successfully go through. Players can either go directly for the main objectives and finish it as soon as possible, or take on the map’s various optional objectives.

While the mission’s main objective(s) are clearly marked on the map, optional ones are identified by a circle covering a piece of the map with a question mark in the middle of it. Players are required to explore as much of the covered area in order to find the objective. Obviously, the game encourages players to do as much as possible in every mission as successfully completing objectives will reward players with XP. Leveling up allows players to access new and better gear to customize their loadout. Additionally, gaining levels rewards players with better skills such as improved heart-rate and increase bandages effect which can be equipped before being launched onto the battefield.

Completionists are going to have a field (pun intended) day with this one. Each huge map features main and optional objectives, along with a handful of collectibles to collect. Collectibles are both found hidden across the maps or on enemy soldiers, meaning that killing and searching enemy soldiers is vital for those who aim to 100% this game. Obviously, players have no clue which soldier is or isn’t carrying an collectible, so get to sniping! Oh, and the X-Ray Cam kills are as glorious as ever.

Unfortunately, one the game’s issue is the seemingly bullet-sponge enemies. Even while aiming perfectly for the head (with the red reticle to indicate a sure hit), some enemies will only be staggered and immediately stand up meaning they’ll require additional shots before going down.

And don’t expect to “Call of Duty” your way through this game. Even on the Normal difficulty setting, this game is quite challenging and requires patience. While players can tempt fate by going out blind and all-guns-blazing, it may work against 2-3 nearby enemies, but enemy snipers are well hidden and can easily take you out with a few shots from afar.

Once players are done with the story campaign – which can take anywhere between 7 and 10 hours – they can tackle a handful of additional modes either solo, with or against friends.

First off is Survival mode. This is basically the game’s equivalent to Gears of War’s Horde Mode. Players are tasked to survive a set number of waves (12) against a fixed number of enemies per wave. While taking down enemy forces, players must also protect the radio in their base. It’s a fun and addictive mode.

If you’re more of a competitive player, Sniper Elite 4 has you covered with a variety of online multiplayer modes:

  • Team Deathmatch: Pretty self-explanatory: two teams enter. The one that reaches the target score wins.
  • Deathmatch: Free for all mode. Every soldier for himself. First one to reach the target score wins
  • Team Distance King: In this mode, the team with the most distance from kills wins.
  • Distance King: See above but this time it’s everyone for themselves.
  • No Cross: This is basically Team Deathmatch from afar. Two teams need to snipe at each other as they are separated by an impassable “No man’s land”.
  • Control: This game’s version of King of the Hill: control a radio drop as long as you can.

The game’s multiplayer modes will provide a tense and exciting experience. While some gamers complain about Snipers in Call of Duty and Halo games, this game is made for campers/snipers. Some of the modes (mostly Deathmatch ones) will have players play it safe and try to find a well-hidden spot to take out the competition, others can try to run around on the field for an up-close personal experience.

On the other hand, if you’re more of a co-op player, this game has a few modes that are sure to please:

  • Campaign: Pretty self-explanatory: play the game’s campaign with a friend or stranger.
  • Survival: You and a friend (or stranger) take on waves of enemies
  • Overwatch: One player spots the enemies and the other shoots

Sniper Elite 4 won’t win any awards for its visuals, however, it is a step up from its predecessor. The foliage is beautifully done and the missions’ multiple environments are gorgeous. Enemy soldiers are a bit generic and look-a-like; there are some stronger Jäger classes, but besides the color of their outfit, nothing really varies. Obviously, Rebellion did a bang up with the slow motion kills of the X-Ray Kill Cam (so much so, it may make some gamers queasy). The minor hiccup is sometimes slowmo kills will occur in black and white. On the audio side of things, the score is perfectly matched. If players are found out, the music will ramp up louder in order to increase the game’s tension.

Voiceovers are iffy. The actor playing Fairburne does a well enough job, but enemy soldiers sound weird to the point it can be laughable.

Sniper Elite 4 is without a shadow of a doubt one best games to release in this still-early year. Everything about this game feels just right and perfectly balanced. Missions are huge and spread across vast areas peppered with a handful of required and optional objectives. Each mission can also be tackled in different ways giving players freedom to play as they see fit. Sure, they can’t go all “Call of Duty” on it, but no need to take three hours to do a single mission and snipe everything away. Sadly, the game does have a few flaws (such as those bullet-sponge enemies) a few visual hiccups, but these minor details won’t deter the experience. At all. If you’re looking to shoot stuff up, Sniper Elite 4 is a must play.

The Good

  • Great level/mission design
  • X-ray Kill Cam is back!

The Bad

  • Bullet sponge enemies
  • Minor visual hiccups

Family Focus

Sniper Elite 4 is rated M and PEGI16 due to the presence of blood, gore, intense violence and strong language. Oh yeah. Did I mention X-Ray Kill Cams? Yeah, that’s not for the young ones.

This review is based on a review copy of the game provided by the developer