Sniper Elite series returns on the PS4 and Xbox One with a new twist on the old formula. This is the first time the series has shifted towards a more open world approach and it surprisingly works well for it. The Kill Cams make a return as well and they are as satisfying as in the previous games.
Sniper Elite 4 is essentially a third person shooter at its core but what makes it unique and different from other similar games is its slow and methodological approach to stealth, sniping and its absolutely brutal X-ray kills that are usually triggered with a well timed and place shot with our sniper rifle. These X-ray kills bring to mind the Mortal Kombat X attacks that work in similar way except in Sniper Elite 4, we are using bullets to shot enemy in the guts, skull or even bladder.
The developers of the Sniper Elite series seem to know well what makes the games so fun and so with each iterative sequel, they have continued to improve it each time, working on the areas that need improvement and the results speak for themselves.
The gameplay featured in Sniper Elite series is mostly good even if not exactly mind blowing, it serves its purpose well. However what is clear from playing the past two games is that the developers need to have a much stronger focus on the story and narrative, and this is unfortunately one of the area which is still lacking in their new game.
It is hard to care for the characters or the story in Sniper Elite 4 as majority of the focus and emphasis is placed on the gameplay and carefully designed enemy encounters. The sequel now gives us a bigger playing field where we are free to approach the enemy as we desire. Whether we try to snipe them from a distance or go for some close encounter, it is all up to the player.
There are a total of 8 levels in the game and while this number might seem short at first, keep in mind that these levels are all open with an expansive level design that provides the player multiplayer ways of approaching their objectives. This serves the purpose of enhancing the replay value of the game as a whole. There is also the ability to play the game with co-op so the value proposition here is not that terrible as it sounds.
The improvements that are made in this sequel are not limited to level design but also to some of the gameplay mechanics and computer controlled AI, which makes for a better experience this time around. The improved closed quarter combat makes it much easier to deal with enemies without having to resort to stealth while the better AI makes it harder to break the game. However just as it is the case with every other game, we can argue that players will find ways to fool the AI. Still in my case, as someone who played the past two games in the series, I found the AI better than before as they not only listened to the sounds that I made, they were also more alert than before and actively searched for me if I made the mistake of leaving a dead body.
The game’s main missions are not strictly A to B affair as there are side objectives given during each mission. Depending on how we approach each of the level, there are potentially interesting way to perform the side missions while also making way for the main objectives. There is a similarity to how the AI operates with Metal Gear Solid V and the addition of side missions is also another factor here, as it enhances the overall experience and rewards exploration.
I have talked about the co-op before but I will bring it up here again, because it is something I love in a game and it appears to be well designed in Sniper Elite 4. We can tackle the whole campaign with a co-op partner or we can play a set of multiplayer modes like Survival Mode or try the all new Overwatch mode, which divides a variety of tasks between the two players prompting them to team up in order to succeed. Unfortunately while the game is fun in co-op, the same cannot be said for its multiplayer mode that offers a variety of different modes including the classic Deathmatch and Dominion but also has some new additions like Distance King and No Cross mode. However while they are fun time wasters, they still pale in comparison to the co-op modes on offer here.
Speaking of the visuals, there is not really a big jump here from its predecessor, but it still looks great and with an unlocked frame rate on the Pro, the game feels much more smoother to play. I tried the game on my PS4 Pro and was happy to find out that there are some visual enhancements on offer for the PS4 Pro users. While the regular PS4 version is not that bad, the PS4 Pro version also seems to be well supported here.
Sniper Elite 4 feels like a game where the developers have taken the feedback from fans and worked on it for the sequel. It is improved in almost every way however it still has some flaws, mainly related to its lack of story and narrative, that makes it far from perfect. If you are just looking for a good third person shooter, and especially one with a co-op mode, I highly recommended to get Sniper Elite 4.
Sniper Elite 4 Review (PS4)
Game Reviewed on: PS4
Game description: Sniper Elite 4 (also known as Sniper Elite 4: ITALIA) is a third-person tactical shooter stealth video game developed by Rebellion Developments.
Sniper Elite 4 is a fun and rewarding shooter and now with the addition of open world, it offers multiple possibilities in approaching each enemy encounter.