It hasn’t been that long since we took ourselves off to the divine mountain views of the Italian landscapes, with Sniper Elite 4 only launching back in February. But that doesn’t mean we’ve had enough of the World War II shooter just yet. In fact, with the enjoyment we got from Karl’s adventure last time out you’d expect us to be jumping at the chance to return to action. Fortunately to help us expand that fine experience we had just a few months ago, Rebellion have brought the first major DLC to Sniper Elite 4. So I jumped back in to see if the engagement brought from the base game could be continued on throughout the DLC.
Deathstorm is the first of a three-part story DLC with the first part, Inception, taking us to the colder climates of Italy after some brutal and intense combat has forced the Nazis and Italian fascists back.
Inception once again places players into the shoes of series veteran and main game protagonist Karl Fairburne – as you’d expect given how far he’s come – and tasks you with a fresh set of objectives that would make anyone on the outside crumble under the weight.
The first task is to aid with Operation Strangle. The attempt to destroy the German base in which resources flow freely has been compromised by the stiff resistance of the naval blockade and air defences currently in place, it is therefore down to Karl to neutralise the defences and free the path for the bombing runs.
The second task however, is a much more daunting ask – the harbour at Rocca Sul Mare, the previously mentioned base which Operation Strangle is set to destroy – has a critical package arriving. That package is needed and it is down to Karl to infiltrate the base and intercept it using any means necessary. Why? Well, because it holds the important answers currently being searched for by those on the Alsos mission – an offshoot of the Manhattan Project – with that evidence being proof of the atomic bomb programme that could tear apart Europe as we know it.
Before I tell you about the gameplay then, there’s one thing that quickly struck me when starting the Deathstorm DLC, and that was how it felt like it was just part of the main game. Sure, accessing it takes a press of the X button on mission select to be granted the DLC section, but unlike many other content add-ons these days, the Deathstorm DLC starts off just like any other mission; you have your hand drawn intro and your mission objectives and you’re away. There’s no big scene declaring you joining the Deathstorm or any of that over advertised mumbo jumbo, and that really helps you to get your own sense of feeling and importance for the mission, rather than having it thrust upon you.
Now I have that bit out of the way, onto the gameplay.
Unlike the rest of Sniper Elite 4, in which starting a mission can see you needing to navigate the area before finding enemies, Inception starts you with nothing more than a slightly elevated runway to traverse – an area in which you have enough cover to scout out your route and gather your bearings as to where you are and what you’re going to do. Below are patrolling enemies and plenty of buildings, so whilst this may sound like the perfect place to hide in any game that requires vast amounts of stealth, the base of Rocco Sul Mare is heavily guarded, meaning pretty much any building you see will have some form of patrol ready to open fire, probably from the moment they spot your rather obvious outfit amongst the snow layered surroundings.
Whilst this doesn’t sound like much, those that have finished the main story will know just how important it is to blend in with the scenery, and in a game in which a few bullets can see you drop to the floor and forced to restart from the nearest checkpoint, this makes hiding even more important.
As for the mission, it’s a rather good one to say the least. Secondary objectives are scattered around enough to make you explore the whole area, but while most of us like to clear up all the extra bits, it’s the main objectives that had me most impressed. Inception is really all about grabbing the important package and clearing the way for the bombing run, but whilst you go along, it doesn’t take long to realise which objectives are regarded as most important.
For example, when navigating the edges of the area to find my way to the various AA guns I was asked to destroy, I would be able to slip by the odd guard unnoticed, before plugging the charge and slipping back out behind vehicles and into buildings with the job done reasonably easy.
The main objectives however are a different kettle of fish.
These require you to take down several enemies before you even hope to get close – mostly due to vehicle patrols and countless soldiers and snipers on watch. It will be rare to see even the best slip by without a raise of the alarm here, which was pleasantly surprising to see due to how well everything was guarded in the main game. On my initial playthrough it seemed everything was strapped with enough personnel to have me questioning my route, but the DLC seems to have fine-tuned that – even if only a little – enough to make a real difference and show you where the big goal is…which in turn helps a lot for those gunning down the Authentic difficulty.
Other than the well placed enemies, not much changes from that of the main game. The quality is just as strong, the story, whilst different, is just as enjoyable and even more intense and the gameplay stands up to everything we’ve already covered in our full review previously. But this is just the first part of three, and with the package containing the worrying details of the Todessturm, Part Two cannot come soon enough.
Alongside the first part of the mini campaign, arriving with the Deathstorm DLC was a new map and a new game mode for multiplayer, with Night Woods bringing night conflict into play as well as Elimination dropping us a fresh mode to the variety already available. Both of these are available as a free download to all players and whilst I was have only been able to get a few matches with the new game mode and map – due to a lack of players in the multiplayer – it’s worth noting that anyone with an interest in the multiplayer side of things will certainly not be disappointed with the dodgeball style game mode, in which each kill can see dead teammates resurrected providing plenty of fun for those playing in groups.
Overall then, and whilst the new DLC may only be one mission in length, it goes without saying it is a welcome addition and brings more quality content to an already fantastic game. With a new location providing a fresh experience from what we have become comfortable with, and impressive level design and enemy placement providing plenty of different routes in which to put together a plan, this is one content add-on you certainly won’t regret forking out for, even if you do think the price is a little on the high side.
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