Unlike Sniper Elite 3 which was based in an African style environment, Sniper Elite 4 is based in Italy, lending it’s hand to some pretty amazing, and at times, breathtaking views as you sneak around areas from vineyards to old castles. These environments are jam packed with amazing detail and are pretty large.
Now as you may or may not know, Sniper Elite 4 is best know for it’s brutal, slow-motion x-ray kills. Whether you’re taking a shot hundreds of meters away or just sneaking up on someone with a knife, if you pull off a kill hitting any vital organ the camera will follow the bullet before entering and piercing through your enemy showing the devastation unfold in all its glory. Something new to the Sniper Elite series this time around are your close quarters melee finishers which now get the x-ray treatment as well, with any perfectly landed grenade or timed explosion. Land or trigger these in just the right place near enemies, the camera will zoom in as you watch shards of shrapnel tear through flesh and shatter bones. It makes every kill that much more satisfying and never gets old.
Other than the close quarters melee kills, you are now able to arm yourself with silenced pistols and even use silenced rounds in your sniper rifle. This gives you plenty of different ways to approach situations. After a while I found myself getting my creep on and started sneaking around the maps picking off enemies up close and personal. Just be sure to either hide the bodies or change your location before someone spots a dead body. If someone does stumble along one of your unlucky victims, why not leave a gift for them before you leave by booby trapping it with a trip mine.
Each map/level will have you spending anywhere from 1 to 2 hours wondering around completing objectives before moving onto the next mission. Missions themselves consists of primary objectives and optional objectives. When you're not sitting back taking out nazi enemies, you’ll find yourself storming enemy compounds destroying equipment, stealing documents or assassinating important high ranking figures. You can tackle these in any order you like though the primary objectives must be completed at the end of the level, so I do recommend completing the optional objectives first as they will give you experience bonuses before moving onto the main objectives.
The AI in Sniper Elite 4 are smarter than in previous games. If your cover is blown and they don’t seem to be having much luck getting to you from one angle, they’ll start to move around the back of you hoping to flank you from behind, so masking your rifle shots with environmental sounds is very important so that your position isn’t given away too quickly. While sniping, just like in previous titles, you’ll need to take wind and/or bullet drop into consideration before taking your shot, so you’ll be required to aim slightly above and/or to one side of your target get the kill.
In Sniper Elite 4 a friend can join you in the campaign mode. This makes the experience play out a little different, though you still have the same freedom of movement in co-op as you would playing on your own, it just means you can both go your own separate ways to try out smart and confuse the enemies. Other then being able to play the story in co-op, you can also play another co-op option called Survival mode. This is pretty much just Sniper Elite’s take on Horde Mode. This mode lets you and up to four friends try to survive up to 12 waves of enemies. Then you have the games online PVP multiplayer. This is pretty much just a game of cat and mouse, who can spot who first and get the kill, and has all the standard type of game modes we're use to seeing. Games can be a little slow, though once I got a feel for it I started to have some fun with it.
So, how does it stack up to it’s older brother? Well, Sniper Elite 4 is a solid stealth/action game with large maps that are visually beautiful and well designed giving you unlimted ways to complete your objectives. With it's brutal, over the top x-ray kills, Sniper Elite 4 will have you itching to land that next perfect shot.