The Sniper Elite series is a third-person stealth game that started all the way back in 2005, before quickly resurfacing again in 2012 and going from strength-to-strength ever since. This fourth entry is my first exposure to the series, which is silly when you consider the fact I’m a self-professed fan of stealth orientated video games. I thoroughly enjoy any game that lets me play without boundaries, as I continually retry a checkpoint for the 49th time when an enemy accidentally catches sight of me. I relish any game that rewards me for playing without being noticed and Sniper Elite 4’s gameplay is addictive because of that very fact.
Set in the middle of World War 2, this latest iteration has you helping out the Italian resistance as they fight against the Nazis. The game doesn’t hold back when it comes to killing them, either, especially when you set your sights and fire off a successful ‘kill-cam worthy’ shot.
Should you execute a particularly impressive sniper shot, time will slow down and follow your bullet’s trajectory all the way to its target. The kill shots in Sniper Elite are incredibly gruesome and take cues from Mortal Kombat’s x-ray camera. Once an impressive ‘bullet-time’ shot finds its target, sit back and watch as the enemy gets torn to shreds by the impact. It’s insanely graphic and satisfying all at the same time. This shouldn’t surprise you, given the premise, but despite pistols and machine guns lining your arsenal, sniping remains at the forefront of your combat options.
What impressed me the most throughout its eight mission campaign was the sheer amount of options available when it comes to planning out a strategy. As you level up you can customise your character through a simple but effective skill tree and each weapon also features its own upgrades. The in-game weapon wheel presents a host of additional equipment outside of your typical range of guns; this includes mines, grenades, and TNT. Each item has two functions and you can switch between them on-the-fly; your standard grenades can be made into sticky grenades, for instance. All of this and more can be customised in your loadout before you start a mission.
Multiplayer plays an integral role in Sniper Elite 4. You can play competitive matches online which allow up to a maximum of 12 people or, alternatively, team-up with up to 3 friends in its story campaign. I played the entire campaign with a friend and it felt incredible to work out the best approach to any given map. Being able to sync up our shots as we took down a squad of enemies, silently, was immense. Most of the time we would head to separate objectives in order to multitask and complete them faster, then again, most of the time we ended up getting caught. But it didn’t matter because we were having so much fun in the process. If I had to nitpick anything, it would be the game’s often waxy looking character models. Plus the fact I teared through the levels too quickly and I would have enjoyed more (it’s the game’s fault for being so addictive).