When it comes to writing these retrospective Looking Back-type articles, every so often the stars align and a game is released that fits the spirit of its release day perfectly. Launching on Valentine’s Day 2017, what could be more romantic and lovey-dovey than a new entry in the Sniper Elite series, the fourth one to be precise? Well, just about anything to be honest, but as there is a (slim) multiplayer element to the game, I suppose I could try and spin it a little, urging you to take it in with your better half. After-all, the team that slays together stays together? So, let us head back to 2017 and take in the joys of the launch of Sniper Elite 4

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Now, Sniper Elite, the whole series of games, have always been about more than just sneaking about and reaching out like the finger of God with a sniper rifle from 500 yards away, rubbing someone out. First off, the people we are shooting are either Nazis in the main series of the games, or even worse, Nazi Zombies in the Zombie Army spin offs. These are not the subject of this article, however, and so we’ll concentrate on the real live (virtual) Nazi’s instead.

The thing that has always stood out about Sniper Elite is the slo-mo kill shots, with a fantastic X-ray effect showing exactly where on their body you shot the enemy. Seeing teeth fly, eyes pop and bullets penetrating craniums is gruesome enough, but the first time I ever hit a testicle shot I physically winced; it was so gory and seeing the body bits in question pop did me feel a little sick. After that, lung shots, heart shots, kidney shots…There was no stopping me. 

The story of Sniper Elite 4 was pretty good as well, and gave a nice setup to the shooting action on offer. Set in Italy, we, as crack operative Karl Fairburne, must track a massive conspiracy that unravels as we chase down high ranking Nazi officers, and persuade them, through the medium of high speed bits of lead, to cease and desist their nefarious activities. Add to this side missions to be found and completed, and the missions that “Mother Hen” gives you at the beginning of each mission, and you are never short of things to do and people to shoot. With a large amount of collectibles to find and acquire, including by taking them off the cold dead bodies of the enemies you perforate, the impetus is there to explore every nook and cranny of the map. My favourite mission always revolved around hunting enemy snipers; having to keep my head down, spot them, and then get into a position where I could shoot them without them shooting me. It felt very tense indeed. 

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With the game being set in Italy, there was no excuse for Sniper Elite 4 to not take advantage of the glorious countryside, and luckily Rebellion went to town here. Ranging from the coast and the beautiful Mediterranean, through the mountains and forests, right down to close combat in small mountain towns and Nazi mega structures, the graphics on display all look pretty; almost living and breathing. Soundwise the game is also bang on, and quite often you can hear the enemies before you can see them, hearing them chatting away in German is enough to put you on edge and ready to fight. The gunshot sounds are all bang on too, if you’ll pardon the pun, and the crunch as a bullet penetrates a skull I guess is right on the money. We’ll have to take Rebellion’s word for that though. 

Sneaking about, spotting enemies, taking them out in inventive ways is a lot of fun. Dropping a crate of shells on an enemy, exploding a barrel or an ammo box right in their face, and even taking out trucks and tanks with a well placed round is always endlessly entertaining. With a third person perspective, when not peeping down the sights of your rifle, the game is great to look at, and taking cover, spotting enemies and marking them with your binoculars before pulling off the perfect “Ghost” kill is very satisfying indeed. 

As you performed various kills with the different weapons, they gained XP too, and so could be upgraded to increase damage, clip size and so on. With a variety of weapons to use, finding a loadout that would suit your play style was pretty straightforward, with rifle, secondary and pistol classes to be chosen and used. It certainly becomes tense when you are down to a silenced single shot pistol and surrounded by enemies, let me tell you!

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There were multiplayer options for Sniper Elite 4, including PvP, which personally I think was the stupidest invention ever, at least before the advent of Battle Royale games (but that’s another story, and maybe another article). Playing the campaign in co-op was a lot more fun, and synchronizing your kills with your partner, having snuck into the best positions was a lot of fun. As I write this article, Sniper Elite 4 is actually on the Game Pass service, and so is currently free to play, in effect, if you are a subscriber. It’s one that shouldn’t be missed. 

DLC appeared in the shape of the “Target Fuhrer” missions, which enabled you to track Hitler through a Nazi base, and then kill him in a variety of interesting ways – with a torpedo, by dropping things on his head, even with a pot of soup, and as the pack added in a lot of achievements related to killing the nasty man in a variety of ways, it was a lot of fun working out how best to take him out. 

But, how about you guys out there? Did you play this game with your beloved? Did you play it first time around, or have you discovered its joys as part of Game Pass? Let us know in the comments!

And if you haven’t yet grabbed Sniper Elite 4, the Xbox Store page will sort you out.

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9 months ago

2017? Pffft! I just crushed Adolf under the sub again 30 minutes ago. I’m not ashamed to admit I’ve got 39 days 6 hours and 14 minutes in this game. Shooting Nazis in the face is always a good time.