The Sniper Elite series, coincidentally, is a franchise that I’ve never really dabbled too much into. I’ve reviewed the lamentable Sniper Elite V2 in the past (the ill-fated Wii U port to be exact) and while I saw potential in the franchise and the ideas it brought to the table there was something missing. Now, Sniper Elite 4 is here, and while it moves the tense action to the sunny coasts of Italy, it’s also the first game developed solely for the current generation of consoles which I find incredibly interesting.
What isn’t interesting about Sniper Elite 4 is its storyline, which hasn’t really changed that much since I played Sniper Elite V2 back in 2013. You play as OSS agent Karl Fairburne, who is assigned to work with the local resistance to fight against the fascist forces during the events of World War 2. The story, rife with stereotypes and tired war conventions, works as a nice window dressing to the action but is otherwise hard to really care about. Gruff, deep voiced American man fights against Nazis in Europe. That’s it.But there’s a lot more to Sniper Elite 4 than its rather pedestrian story. A typical third person shooter at heart, you are thrown into a level and given a set of objectives to complete. Karl can take cover, line up the perfect shot and utilise the environment to set up the perfect hiding spot, sniping spot or both.
The levels are well-designed and are more open than ever, presumably thanks to the games ditching the previous generation. Similarly, the levels are also designed with a sense of verticality to allow Karl to climb higher than in previous games. The level design is genuinely well executed – giving players opportunities to approach missions stealthily or go in guns blazing.As you’d expect, the major focus of Sniper Elite 4 is sniping, and the mechanics are executed in a very competent way. The attention to detail here is unparalleled, with the game using realistic physics to influence the way your bullets will travel. Such a system sounds like it might be so realistic that it’s not fun, but Sniper Elite 4 provides a bevy of customisation options so that series purists can play it more like a simulator while others can play it like a standard shooter with an emphasis on sniping. The flexibility to customise your experience is an awesome way to appeal to a more diverse audience without dumbing down the core gameplay.