‘Sniper Elite 4’ Review: A Definite Kill Shot From Any Distance

Let me say this right off the bat: I’ve never played a Sniper Elite game before. I have no previous experiences to draw back on, and no comparisons can be made to previous games in the series. I’m reviewing Sniper Elite 4 purely on its own merits, and I say this first and foremost, as Sniper Elite 4 is one of the best games I’ve ever played.

Sniper Elite 4 is nestled firmly in the wheelhouse of “my favorite” type of games. It has a open world full of myriad ingresses and egresses to areas and locations. It has a huge stealth component that drives the game’s story and gives all the power to the player — which is important in any game. And lastly, it has not only long range sniping, but a whole plethora of ways to kill Nazis, most of them ridiculous in their execution, all of them satisfying.

And those X-ray kill shot cams — I am 100 percent addicted to the kill shot cam. I love watching my enemy get perforated by a bullet from 300 yards, and then see what the damage inside looks like as the bullet travels through organs and bone in the most graphic way possible. Pulling off a cool looking kill shot has been the highlight of my day each day for the past week or so.

Sniper Elite 4 Review

Sniper Elite 4 picks up the story of Karl Fairburne, an OSS operative who is working deep behind enemy lines to stop the Nazis. In this fourth game, the action shifts to Italy, and Karl has to work in around fishing villages, mountain and forests regions, even bigger towns and cities as he pulls off mission objectives that aren’t always about assassinating the highest-ranking Nazi on the board. Karl has missions where he has to sabotage a rail gun that is keeping the allies at bay, or secure a high-value target before the Nazis do, and within the story, he sides with a group of Italian resistance fighters, pulling off missions to help their cause. There is a fully fleshed-out story here, and the additional side objectives that Karl picks up from “home camps” before each mission add so much more to each chapter.

Sniper Elite 4 Review

The ability to play like you want to is important in Sniper Elite 4. The player is rewarded XP for doing just about anything in each chapter. You get XP for a kill, but also for variables of the kill, as in distance, damage done, weapon used, and so forth. This gives so much control to the player. I’ve easily spent over five hours in one mission, sneaking around, biding my time to set up deadly traps, marking enemies, and both sniping from afar and sneaking up for a silent kill with my blade into the base of my enemy’s skull (which also gets an X-ray kill cam animation). One of the best kills I had was when I shot a ammo box from 200 yards and the explosion drove a hammer into the head of the Nazi, and the kill shot cam highlighted it in all its glory. I wish I had used the share button on my PS4 when it happened, so I would always have a record of it, but I was laughing too hard. I may have a problem.

Sniper Elite 4 Review

Even the various difficulty levels bring new play opportunities. The harder game modes take away the ease of snipe shots, and forces the player to adjust for elements and distance by tweaking their sights on the rifle. Playing a chapter at a harder difficulty takes away from the more fast-paced, run and gun gameplay, and adds a whole new level of preparation, as a missed shot could prove fatal as the enemy will seek out Karl from wherever he is camping. Suddenly, the fun, sneak-kill-shoot-kill game mechanic becomes a lesson in mathematics and always thinking a step ahead of the enemy. It changes Sniper Elite 4 in many ways, and most of them are good.

Sniper Elite 4 looks absolutely stunning on a PS4 Pro. The game is enhanced for the additional 4K power of Sony’s newest console, and the HDR effects really bring the game world to life. The artists at Rebellion, the developer, really flexed their muscles here, and this is one gorgeous environment to play in. And the various maps each have unique details the help make this an aesthetic masterpiece to play it. The fishing villages have colorful buildings and advertisements, and the forest levels have fully rendered trees and flora. Midway through the campaign there is a night mission, and the glow of campfires add so much to the level. I’ve only witnessed a few graphic issues, and it was usually texture pops when I was hiding in some brush, and it never pulled me out of the experience while playing.

Sniper Elite 4 Review

In addition to the robust campaign mode is a co-op mode that allows two players to complete the campaign together. Co-op also contains a Survival mode where up to three players work together to survive waves of enemies. Overwatch mode has two players working together as a sniper and a spotter to take out targets from afar.

There’s also a multiplayer mode, which includes the usual fare of match types, like Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, and Control. The interesting match types in Sniper Elite 4’s multiplayer are the long Distance King and No Cross games. Distance King is a free-for-all that rewards players for the longest distance kills. This is a sniper’s dream game. No Cross is a modified Team Deathmatch that includes a no man’s land that cannot be crossed, leaving the action up to the snipers instead of the run and gunners. The sniper-centric modes add new wrinkles — and strategy — to multiplayer games, and separate Sniper Elite 4 from the usual shooter games that we see released around every holiday season.

Sniper Elite 4 Review

I enjoy killing Nazis.

Sniper Elite 4 is also in line for DLC and a season pass. There are better weapons that can be purchased through DLC (or that come with the season pass), and there are weapon skins and better accessories/items that Karl can take on missions. As mentioned, Karl earns XP from doing just about anything in a chapter, and that XP can be used to unlock new skills in a skill tree. He also earns cash (in very small increments) that can be used to purchase new guns and items (save for the DLC-locked items). Most of the weapons available for purchase can be found in each chapter, but buying them unlocks them and allows the player to equip them in a permanent basis.

Sniper Elite 4 is my kind of game — if that hasn’t come out in the writing here. It’s equal parts Metal Gear Solid and Assassin’s Creed, with just enough Call of Duty to make it one of the best, most fun games I’ve played in months. I love taking my time in planning even the easiest kills, knowing how to escape after a shot, and setting up traps to take out any snooping enemies that might have delusions of grandeur. I don’t care that it may take five-plus hours to complete a chapter. That’s how I play; it’s my prerogative. And the fact that Sniper Elite 4 lets me play the game they way I want to is very important to me, and it’s one of the reasons why I love this game as much as I do.

Sniper Elite 4 is available now for the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One. This review is based off the PS4 version, using a code provided by the publisher.

Sniper Elite 4 Review
out of 5

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