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Sniper Elite 4 (PC) artwork

Sniper Elite 4 (PC) review

"itís basically more of SE3, whether or not thatís a negative is really up to you."

My journey with Sniper Elite began when some kind of promotion basically threw V2 at me for free and I donít know why. I think I might have bought the 3rd game and it just gave me V2. Nice of them. Tried it, didnít care for it, moved straight on to 3.

3 gave me a solid sniper game that the market does not have a lot of. Sure, thereís your Call of Dutyís and your Haloís that have that one obligatory stealth/sniper mission where if youíre caught itís generally an automatic failure of some variety. SE3 is basically those missions stretched across an entire game and, for the most part, I liked it.

This brings us to 4, which was wondrously gifted to me, full price, from an acquaintance I once co-opíd SE3 with for a few missions, possibly one or two years ago? It was mighty nice of them (Though I kind of wish they held out for the upcoming Mass Effect to gift me that instead. Insert sly smiley face here?) and I donít mind the game at all, but I do have some concerns.

Firstly, itís a solid game. Let me get that out of the way. There is a story here, youíre trying to counteract some radio-controlled missiles that the Nazis have developed. Thatís it. Thatís the summary of the story but nobody comes to Sniper Elite for a story, as the whole franchise works under its own alternate history where you assassinate Hitler (Or a multitude of body doubles) countless times. Still, every little cutscene hints at the story to a certain degree but the mid-mission cutscenes are usually there to pile optional objectives onto optional objectives. Not that this is a point against its favor, every map gives you plenty to do. This does however turn into a concern later on, as Iíll explain in a bit.

Sniper Elite 4 is more of 3 for the most part. All the motions are here. You sneak around foliage (A new addition, I donít recall any grass to hide in Africa) and walls. You use your binoculars to Ďscaní every enemy to get an idea of their inventory that you will inevitably pillage when you literally shoot their testicles off, and thereís another new addition; Scanning enemies gives you little blurbs to their traits reminiscent of Watch_Dogs. Scanning Nazis and their various Italian allies gives you things like ďHas a habit of stealing from comradesĒ or ďThinks his soldiers are all idiotsĒ and ďWrites poetryĒ. Iím not sure what the purpose of this is except trying to humanize fascists (For some reason?) I see ďWas in Hitler YouthĒ fairly often as well. I guess there is something to say about taking human life, no matter how racist or evil, still have as many memories and experiences as you do. Now they have none, because of you. (Fable 2 quote hooo!)

I do have one more point in its favor. A brief comparison to Assassinís Creed. Theyíre in the same Ďstealthí genre but yes, I do recognize theyíre completely different games. However as the AC series goes on, it had a habit of throwing all new toys and nonsense at you. I donít know of any friends that bothered to use the crafting system and bombs in Revelations beyond the smoke, and the hook blade was just a gimmick that allowed you to climb a couple inches higher than usual. Pointless, all of it.

SE4 brings in a few new toys but none of them feel forced, gimmicky, or wasteful. Every explosive now has two Ďmodesí you can set them too, like setting a mine to be double-tapped before exploding which might help you set up against multiple enemies rather than it exploding when just one guy runs over it. Another example is the healing items can heal your health directly or ďStabilizeĒ you which apparently removes some status effects from you. Iím not sure what that means because I donít explore any difficulties past Normal but it might be relevant against harsher enemies.
For luring, throwing a rock and whistles are also in the same slot, and a simple click is all you need to switch between the two.

No crafting nonsense, our protagonist (Whose name I cannot recall for the life of me) just tugs some wire and boom, the item is in a different mode.
As I said, a point in its favor.

If I had any problems with the game, itís probably that the game becomes rather... exhausting for a while. Itís difficult to play SE4 in bite-sized chunks as every map is almost too large. Thereís a ton of optional objectives to do which give you delicious chunks of experience and the maps are well designed enough to where you can do most, if not all of them, on your way to the one Ďrealí objective.

The problem with this is most maps take me 1-2 hours to do and for a single level, facing similar enemies, I find myself anxious for different scenery. I know it all takes place in 1940′s Italy so thereís only so many setpieces to go around but I eventually get so anxious that I tire of waiting for a singular Nazi to patrol out of my way so I can make a dash for foliage. I tire of waiting for that tank to slowly trudge along the path so I can place a mine there (Which doesnít always kill a tank but only serves to alert and annoy it). I tire of finding and kicking generators to give me a sound mask, only to find out the damn things have an abysmal range and thereís no enemies close enough for me to use it.

Every level Iíve played so far (About six or so), I ended up just going loud for the last area. Iím out of suppressed rifle ammo and Iím just tired. I want the level to be done and over with.

Basically, I only have the patience to play one, or even half a level per session before dropping it and finding something more engaging to play. This isnít the Thief problem, which I only played 2 hours of. SE4 can be plenty engaging but after a while, picking off a hundred Nazis Iím just so damn tired of it.

The only other complaint is that it doesnít bring much new to the table of its own franchise. I said earlier that itís basically more of 3, and whether or not thatís a negative is really up to the player. I usually find it a mixed bag. Even on a graphical level, it looks three years old but still decent enough for what it does. You donít really need hyper-realism in a game like this, so both of these negatives can be of mixed results.

Do I recommend it? Well, itís a lot more nuanced than other sniper-based games Iíve played. Thereís more to do in it, has a horde mode that could definitely be fun with friends, as well as story Co-op. Thereís plenty here for stealth-sniper lovers.

So hereís an obligatory slow mo shot that every Sniper Elite review must have according to law apparently. Frankly, he looks unbothered that is heart is in the process of exploding.


Zydrate's avatar
Community review by Zydrate (March 11, 2017)

Zydrate is most active on Steam and Tumblr.

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EmP posted March 16, 2017:

I feel like I should expand on the almost throwaway comment I made on the RotW topic. So Iím going to. Because it allows me to procrastinate!

I think tone is a really hard thing to nail down. It remains my biggest struggle in writing because I always want to default to grumpy unpleaseable snark mode and it doesnít always jam with the source material. Sometimes I have to remind myself that people are reading my reviews to learn about the game rather than sip cognac and chuckle at whatever vicious barb Iíve spat out that day. I mention that not only as an excuse to talk about me, but because I get a similar vibe from this review. Youíre nicer than me, so your default seems to be dropping into a conversational tone, which is great for making a review more personable and relatable, but this review tends to get a little saturated.

FOR EXAMPLE! An introduction talking about how you got this game and some other game by some method you donít recall which was probably a thing but may not have been as well as getting a gift you wish was another gift is a bit of a jumbled start. Thereís some important information in there thatís definitely worth mentioning, such as your pre-existing history with the series (which helps establish credibility) but its meaning and impact are dampened when you have to mentally dig it out. Likewise, I quite liked the Fable 2 quote, but the comment in brackets celebrating it came across as unneeded.

While weíre talking about that and Iím being a critical arse, you capitalise the starting word inside a bracket as if you are starting a new sentence, which you should only do if said word is a proper noun or adjective. So, for instance, this is correct (because this is an aside within the same sentence and not the start of a new one). Also, this is correct (Jason Venter dies a little inside every time he sees a grammar error, which is reason enough not to stop). But this is not (Because this is not a new sentence; itís a ham-fisted example).

I genuinely like your reviews, which is why Iíve worked with them on Steam, and thatís probably because your writing has a blog-like quality to it which is not always a bad thing. For example, I really liked the wrap up to this review ending on the indifferent soldier having his organs exploded. I think sometimes you get a little carried away though and overshare, which loses some of the focus on the game youíre talking about.

Like you said, though; you canít please everyone. Obtaining and accepting fair criticism is important but, at the end of the day, itís all about producing an end result that youíre happy with above anything else.
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Zydrate posted March 16, 2017:

Eyy, thanks for the feedback. So far I've only had a couple of people give me any direct feedback to some of my works. Most of them agree that my stuff 'flows' very well and I try to keep my stuff enjoyable and readable and I think I've accomplished that here. As a result, it's harder for me to mentally filter "too much" (like the whole fable quote thing) or "too familiar" (like the experience with previous Sniper games). It's all just the same to me.

Everything else is just grammatical, like my use of parenthesis, semicolons, and verb tense. Things that just were never really drilled into me in school because the American school system is still designed to put kids in factories. Topic for another day.

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