Like every stealth game out there, you can play Sniper Elite 4 like the way Rebellion wanted, as a long drawn out game with each level taking up at least 2 hours as you take out Nazi stooges one after the other. Or, you can treat it like a brawler FPS and use your SMG over your rifle to have a more up and personal combat experience. We tried out both. There’s quite a lot of fun when you blitz across the map guns blazing but then you’d be playing any other game like Battlefield or … Call of (hic) Duty.
We liked the stealth approach and most of the game was played that way. Here’s how it went down for us.
Sniper Elite 4 Gameplay
The game starts out on an easy pace, the enemies are all stupid enough to not tell the difference between a rock and the player the moment you crouch. Sniper Elite 4 isn’t that different from Sniper Elite 3 except for the fact that Sniper Elite 3 sucked balls. Sniper Elite 4, on the other hand, is a massive improvement over Sniper Elite 3 in terms of the number of weapons you get to play around with and the size of the maps. The maps are huge and it actually feels like you are a sniper whose job is to finish the business from far far away. With the exception of the first level which is designed to make you comfortable with the game as if you’re new to the franchise, every other level is very well done. By that, we mean that there are multiple ways to get to your objective or vantage point and the amount of detail tells us that Rebellion put quite a lot of effort in the level design.
The game comes down to finding a few vantage spots to wipe out every visible enemy before switching to the next spot. Now, let’s say you don’t want to relocate i.e. you’re the cocky kind. Then there’s a little aspect built into the game which makes trainers and cheat codes redundant. It’s called crouching. There are these little patches of short shrubs which you can use to your advantage and the moment you drop down, the enemy loses all sight and logic goes out of the window. Class video game AI. Brutally killed their compatriot 5 minutes back? Doesn’t matter, they’re gonna forget everything and go right back to their patrol. Moreover, if you have set off maximum alert then stepping a few meters away and out of sight and then firing another weapon will reduce the alert level. Yep, firing a weapon a max alert level takes it down a notch. Weird logic.
Then comes the sniping part. If you’ve played Sniper Elite 3, then you aren’t missing out anything. It’s practically the same except for the maps are really large and the rifles now allow you to shoot halfway across the map. The farthest from where we managed to get a kill was 583.6 meters and we finished the campaign with a cumulative distance of over 50 kilometers. We could have got a longer shot but we got bored in the initial levels and went into close quarter combat mode with the SMG. Since most of the maps are roughly 500-700 meters wide and you lose bullet penetration over distance that’s how far you can shoot from, however, there is one level where you can get a shot from a kilometer away but that’s an outlier case.
Turns out you only gain an appreciation for the game towards the end as you encounter better enemies and the level design becomes more complex.
Sniper Elite 4 Campaign
The pace scales as you go through the levels and there aren’t that many levels to being with. The initial levels are so easy that we’d pretty much pigeon-holed the game as nothing but just two cutscenes sandwiched together with about 60-90 Nazis in between. Each level was like that until the Giovi Fiorini Mansion level which was a teensy bit better. It was mostly because the there were few of the low-level Nazi grunts and we’d to deal with higher ranked soldiers. Not only do their weapons pack a punch but they’re more likely to check out where that all too familiar ringing of a gunshot came from. You can either run and relocate or spend 15 seconds waiting for the alert level to die down before taking your next shot. And then your next, and then another one. Till you have the entirety of a Nazi battalion plastered all over the streets, walls, fences, ledges, … you get the drift.
Sniper Elite 4 DLC – Target Führer
If it’s a Sniper Elite game, then you know that there’s going to be a Hitler DLC. Ze Führer ist eenspekting a naval shipyard when a lone sniper completely oblivious to his presence comes to know of the Führer’s itinerary. Needless to say, your target, should you eliminate him, will end the war. The DLC is definitely worth the money given that the level is quite expansive, and the enemies are at par with what you have to deal with in the last two levels of the campaign. It would have been a lot better if we had a few more cutscenes to up the entertainment value.
The Führer’s security delegation is worse than the lowest tier of security we hand out to our politicians. This fact takes away from the difficulty aspect and makes Hitler the same as the other three-striped officers does irk us a little, especially since we’re paying over the game for this DLC.
Sniper Elite 4 Multiplayer
The multiplayer in Sniper Elite 4 can be frustrating, to begin with. The map key doesn’t work which means you have to spend a few rounds on each map getting used to the terrain and figuring out what all angles your position is open from. Then you need to figure out spawn locations of the enemy and start learning routes and regular camping spots. Do note, that all of this learning involves you dying a million times without even spotting who killed you. It can get on your nerves really fast.
However, once you do get the hang of the multiplayer maps, the fun starts scaling. You start to realise that the newbies are easy pickings and there are these 80-90 hour veterans who’ll kill you the moment you make the mistake of standing up. It really amps up the adrenaline level when you spot someone after lying prone for 5-10 minutes. However, there’s one pressing issue with the multiplayer mode – you hardly get any matches.
Sniper Elite 4 multiplayer is just a bunch of empty servers, a lot of empty servers.
Sniper Elite 4 Graphics
The game’s beautiful with the massive levels and the developers have put a lot of effort into their Asura engine. It’s not as impressive as Skyrim with mods, in fact, it’s far from it. The problem with large levels is that you have to scale down effects based on a number of things being rendered at any given time. So really large levels will require compromises to keep the frame rate high enough for fluid gameplay.
The characters don’t have a lot going for them, they look as if they belong in 2010 and the hardened egg-shell like clothing isn’t helping. Even the faces during cutscenes are cringe-inducing so we’d have appreciated a little extra effort into making the cutscenes more enjoyable.
We ran the game on a GTX 980 Ti and an RX 470 the eye candy was at par with every other AAA game we’ve seen over the past couple of years. Nothing spectacular when you look at each individual element, it’s the overall picture of the humongous level that pulls you in. Running the game at Ultra can be a little taxing on mid range cards but you don’t notice a massive difference when you take it down a notch with the anti-aliasing and motion blur.
Sniper Elite 4 Verdict
Sniper Elite 4 is a pretty good game overall, at least in comparison to the previous installment. The single player campaign has some really vast maps that earn the word “Sniper” in the title. The AI is dismal as always but you can surely max out the difficulty level and bring on the pain, however, the fact remains that if you do manage to get to a good spot and have enough ammo, then you’re as good as god. The game lives up to Sniper Elite V2’s reputation and the campaign DLC is a good buy. Except for a few kinks with the graphics and character design, we liked the game overall.
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