Zydrate Reviews: Sniper Elite 4

My journey with Sniper Elite began when some kind of promotion basically threw V2 at me for free and I don't know why. I think I might have bought the 3rd game and it just gave me V2. Nice of them. Tried it, didn't 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, there's your Call of Duty's and your Halo's that have that one obligatory stealth/sniper mission where if you're caught it's 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-op'd 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 don't mind the game at all, but I do have some concerns.

Firstly, it's a solid game. Let me get that out of the way. There is a story here, you're trying to counteract some radio-controlled missiles that the Nazis have developed. That's it. That's 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 I'll 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 don't recall any grass to hide in Africa) and walls. You use your binoculars to 'scan' every enemy to get an idea of their inventory that you will inevitably pillage when you literally shoot their testicles off, and there's 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 "Has a habit of stealing from comrades" or "Thinks his soldiers are all idiots" and "Writes poetry". I'm not sure what the purpose of this is except trying to humanize fascists (For some reason?) I see "Was in Hitler Youth" 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!)

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I do have one more point in its favor. A brief comparison to Assassin's Creed. They're in the same 'stealth' genre but yes, I do recognize they're completely different games. However as the AC series goes on, it had a habit of throwing all new toys and nonsense at you. I don't 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 'modes' 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 "Stabilize" you which apparently removes some status effects from you. I'm not sure what that means because I don't 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.

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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, it's probably that the game becomes rather... exhausting for a while. It's difficult to play SE4 in bite-sized chunks as every map is almost too large. There's 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 'real' 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 there's 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 doesn't 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 there's no enemies close enough for me to use it.

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Every level I've played so far (About six or so), I ended up just going loud for the last area. I'm out of suppressed rifle ammo and I'm 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 isn't the Thief problem, which I only played 2 hours of. SE4 can be plenty engaging but after a while, picking off a hundred Nazis I'm just so damn tired of it.

The only other complaint is that it doesn't bring much new to the table of its own franchise. I said earlier that it's basically more of 3, and whether or not that's 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 don't really need hyper-realism in a game like this, so both of these negatives can be of mixed results.

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

So here's 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.

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