The fourth installment of the Sniper Elite series takes Karl Fairburne off to Italy as he attempts to liberate it from the grip of Facism. Does Sniper Elite 4 hit the mark? Read our review to find out..
Players return as Karl Fairburne in Sniper Elite 4. Set in the aftermath of Sniper Elite 3, you’ll fight alongside the Italian Resistance in an effort to defeat a new threat that has the potential to stop the Allied fightback in Europe.
From the get-go you’ll notice the graphics are quite highly detailed, such as insects flying out of bushes when you climb in for cover, the sunlight reflecting off the water and the wind blowing through the trees and long grass. This will be more noticeable to those who have played the previous Sniper Elite games, although the visuals are let down by some screen tearing throughout the game.
The next thing to note, and you will definitely notice, is the sheer size of the campaign levels which are in fact at least 3 times larger than any level on the previous games in the series, after playing through the campaign multiple times I felt it had more of a sandbox feel, it made Sniper Elite 3 look a lot more linear in comparison, what helps this feeling is the ability to attack each level any which way you choose with a multitude of side missions to complete alongside the main mission, including hidden side missions which can be discovered whilst playing each level.
This gives the game a nice chunk of replay value as you will want to go back through the levels to find the collectables, complete challenges and attempt to approach the missions from a different perspective, you’ll also want to beat your overall time which on most missions will be in the hours rather than minutes that equates to how large the levels can be. In total you have 8 levels, you should be expecting to finish these in and around the 10 – 15 hour mark depending if you are playing alone or on a co-op session, this does seem like a short campaign length, but whilst playing, it does feel about right, as mentioned above you’ll be spending at least an hour per level.
A couple of niggles whilst playing, sometimes enemies line of sight would be a little inconsistent, sometimes appearing to see through walls, the other would be getting caught on small objects while moving around the map, it didn’t happen often but was a little bit of an annoyance when trying to move in to decent cover before being spotted
In addition to the existing Sniper Elite gameplay mechanics, players can now traverse the environment such as shimmying, leaps, ledge hangs and more, this will help you silently take down enemies whilst in cover, with this new addition along with the sandbox feel makes Sniper Elite 4 feel less restricted compared to the previous games, for me this made the game feel a little more closer to the Hitman games which if anything can only be taken as a compliment.
There’s three types of co-operative game modes, firstly, you can play the entire campaign in two player co-op, second, the Survival mode in which you have to fight a number of waves of enemies. Finally there’s Overwatch, a two player sniper and spotter game mode, which as the name suggests, one player is the Spotter, the other the Sniper, and have to work together to finish the level.
Sniper Elite 4 also features competitive multiplayer for up to 12 players across 6 game modes. The first two are the staple Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch modes. Distance King is playable as a team or free-for-all in which the winner is the team/player who scores the highest total kill distance. No Cross is like Team Deathmatch, except there’s a barrier between the teams so getting a good sniper spot and picking of your enemies from a distance is key. Finally there’s Control, a game mode in which radios are dropped in at random locations on the map, and you have to capture and defend them from the opposite team.
There’s a good amount of variations to the rules with these modes such as headshots only etc. There’s only 6 maps available from launch, although Rebellion has stated others will be released for free at a later date. My experience online in both co-op and competitive modes was pretty straight forward, with a solid connection all round with only a handful of people disconnecting before the game ended but did seem to be “rage quits”. Sniper Elite 4 also uses a ranking system that carries across all its game modes, it is used for earning skills for your character and unlocking new weapons. Weapons also have challenges attached to them in order to earn their upgrades. The visuals as mentioned above have highly detailed environments with really nice lighting effects, it’s a shame that it’s let down by some screen tearing, as for the audio you’ll find an ambient soundtrack playing throughout that varies per level.