We’re having a hard time taking this seriously. It’s the height of World War II and we’re on the front lines of the Italian Campaign where over 200,000 soldiers between the Allied and German forces lost their lives. We’re deployed behind enemy lines to be a one-man army to uncover and stop new Nazi weaponry that would be a game changer on the battlefront. We’re surviving by the skin of our teeth but are pinned down by an enemy tank, which is slowly taking aim at our position. Just then, the game freezes as my buddy takes a critical shot. The bullet cam traces the path of the rifle round all the way through the tiniest hole in the tank’s lookout and provides a gory X-ray view as the ammo shatters the gunner’s jaw into a thousand pieces. Over my headset my partner is laughing his head off. He’s right — it’s hilarious. Here’s our review of Sniper Elite 4.
Our favorite WW shooter is back with another entry in the Sniper Elite series: Sniper Elite 4. We discovered this franchise back in 2012 with Sniper Elite 2 and were stunned then by how well the slow-paced tactical shooter worked when played cooperatively. Yes, these games have never been technical feats of wonder compared to comparable games out at the time (Sniper Elite resembles a PS3 game for instance) but the hilarious feedback loop of lining up the perfect shot along with the fatality style bullet camera never gets old.
There is a story here. As mentioned the Nazis have developed long range ballistics capable of sinking freighters from a distance and you’re sent in to eliminate the scientist behind such game-changing weaponry. From there you’ll encounter resistance fighters, learn about treachery within the ranks, and once again single-handedly save the day over and over again.
We know most of that, not because we played through the entire campaign (which we did), but from subsequently reading the summary on Wikipedia. See, as mentioned earlier, for us this game is fun coop shooter, not an interesting study on WW2 politics. This highlights perhaps the one biggest complaint we have about the game. Why so serious?
Sniper Elite 4 is hampered by its inability to just cut lose. The weapons you’ll unlock are all realistic to the time period with few being any better than your starting gear. You’ll encounter the same enemy types throughout the game with little variance in armor loadouts and the occasional tank. It introduces a series of characters and a long winded and completely unnecessary plot to get to the action. It feels like it wants to be taken seriously until you shoot a soldier’s balls off (yes, you can do that and receive an achievement for doing so). It’s like being in a dry lecture from a stuff professor who suddenly stops to do a version of The Aristocrats joke before going back into uninteresting materials. It’s a tonal disconnect that seems rather jarring here. Why not give us super powered silence weapons after we finish the game? Why not provide bonus levels that allow us to take ridiculous long shots across impossible distances over and over?
Don’t get us wrong, Sniper Elite 4 is a great experience, one we’re thrilled to recommend to any coop group out there. You’ll have a great 10-12 hour experience here which rivals games like Gears 4 for us. If you’ve played previous Sniper Elite games, you’ll be pleased to see how far the devs have come here with level design too. Each map is significantly larger and more intricate than in past games allowing for multiple routes and a much bigger playground to have fun in. We just wish sooner or later the developers would realize why we play these games and really lean into that with some additional content.
What works well
The fatality bullet cam view here is always entertaining and we’re starting to wonder if the devs patented it or something as this should absolutely be in all shooter games like The Division at this point. If you haven’t tried it yet, you should try this one especially if you can team up with someone.
What doesn’t work
We can look past the awkward controls or the spotty cover detection that caused us to take a few too many shots when we thought we were safe all for the fun we get playing this game. What we don’t understand is why the devs seem laser focused on avoiding anachronisms at the cost of gameplay.
Overall: Worth a rent
The self described “sniper paradise” is back and better than ever. Someday perhaps the devs will just have some fun with these games and give us a reason to keep playing long after the campaign is over.