Sniper Elite 4
: No Privates, or privates, are safe…

Adam Mathew 20 January 2017

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We got to bust a few Nazi nasties with Sniper Elite 4.

Nazis. We hate these guys. They seem like regular people on the surface, but if you look deeper, well, their innards are just evil. Take this Kommandant’s privates, for example; thanks to Rebellion’s invasive X-ray kill cam, we can clearly see that he has the gonads of a genocidal maniac. Fortunately, we know a sure-fire way to neuter-alise this threat. *Chambers a round, aims low*.

A warning to you newcomers: as any fan of the series will tell you, Sniper Elite 4 is not for the faint of heart. If you want a third-person shooter where the bad guys just go “uhhh” and fall down after you pull the trigger, this ain’t it. You’re looking at a biology lesson. A WWII experience that makes Saving Private Ryan’s opening look like a beach party. It’s so violent, you’ll do the unthinkable: actually feel bad for the people trying to kill you.

We know this because we’ve annihilated our way through the entire first level of Sniper Elite 4 with a co-op partner. It really is the best way to play it, too. One player (in this case us) takes the high ground with a scoped Springfield, another player guards downstairs, hosing any responders with a Thompson SMG and a host of pre-set booby traps. Every gory kill cam the sharpshooter earns is broadcast to the guy running interference, and when an area is cleared, you change roles.

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You can expect to do a lot of these switcheroos. The maps in Sniper Elite 4 are roughly three times the size of what they were in the last outing. If you insist on doing things the brute force way, you can expect to undergo a number of entrenched firefights. The AI is improved, as enemies now react and flank on your position (rather than doing a bloody great conga line towards you). Worse, if you don’t take the time to identify and eliminate the officers out there, you can expect reinforcements aplenty.

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That said, there’s a shrewder way to go about this. Surgically killing the kraut commanders early will make his subordinates run for the hills. We found great success in using the high ground to purely target-mark patrols for a runner player doing a Solid Snake impression with a silenced pistol. Basic fire support can also be provided by the long-ranger whenever an aircraft flies over (engine sounds mask gunshots). In short order, your objective can be cleanly assassinated via a melee kill (these are also shown as bloody X-ray kills now) and then it’ll be extraction time. Pure ghost run, son. Satisfying as hell, too.

WAR IS schnitz-helL

So, what has changed from last time? Being transferred from the aridity of Africa into the lush, Mediterranean Italy is a welcome visual change. These still couldn’t be called cutting-edge visuals, but the improved polys and richer palette were not lost on us. The game also features night missions, in which players can remove light sources to hide their presence – something we didn’t sample, but are nonetheless amped to experience. Last but not least, we appreciated the upgraded binoculars. The more seconds you spend targeting an enemy, the more you learn about him. Rank, weapon-type, alertness, whether he has kids at home. Well, maybe not that last one.

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It’s clear that Rebellion has also been tuning up its CQC game, too. Previous Sniper titles would deliberately whack us over the head with clunky mechanics whenever our rifle got shouldered for any short-range gat. This time, player movement feels surer, cover usage more streamlined, and stealth infiltrations are more pleasurable as a result. Run-n-gun is still not advised; but creep-n-pop-heads is a solid alternative.

Call us old-fashioned, but after a slew of 2016 space-shooty things, we’re down for something like this. Battlefield 1 reminded us of the simple pleasures of slow-fire marksmanship. Sniper 4 is on target to deliver the hot bolt-action we crave.

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