What is Sniper Elite 4?
Sniper Elite 4 is a third person shooter set in World War 2 - and one that plays rather differently to most other shooters. As a specially trained sniper, it's up to you to head behind enemy lines in 1940s Italy, as you seek to disrupt, disable, and otherwise dismantle the Nazi war machine, all by yourself. Always outnumbered, but never outgunned, your sniper rifle becomes your difference maker, as you pick off soldiers from afar, whilst lurking in the shadows, and working your way towards your objective.
How do you play Sniper Elite 4?
In order to succeed in Sniper Elite 4, you'll need to think, and act like a sniper. For the most part, that means keeping your distance, choosing your shots wisely, and doing all you can to make it hard for your enemy to figure out where the fire's coming from. Each level is set over a huge, expansive area, giving you plenty of options, and many different routes to take. With each level coming with multiple objectives for you to complete, you're free to approach each stage however you see fit. Getting to height is one of the most important things you can do early on, so it's always wise to keep your eyes peeled for a rickety tower, a disused barn, or a handily placed cliff edge you can perch on, as from there you can really start to get to work, scouting the area out with your binoculars, and tagging the enemies you spot, before picking them off one by one with your sniper rifle, before they even know what hit them.
Although it's intended to be played as a stealth game, staying out of sight certainly isn't a necessity here. There's no real penalty for being spotted - and should you end up blowing your cover, you can simply switch to your machine gun, and engage in a ferocious firefight with the Nazis instead, as a perfectly viable plan B.
How easy is Sniper Elite 4 to pick up and play?
While Sniper Elite 4 does offer a more authentic take on the sniper experience, it also comes with four difficulty levels, which you can use to tailor your challenge. On easy, the game basically ignores all weapon ballistics, meaning no matter how far away your target is, your bullet will essentially fly in a perfectly straight line from the second it leaves your barrel. On both easy and normal, there's a handy map in the lower left corner that lets you see when enemies are nearby; visual prompts that pop up and warn you when an enemy thinks they've seen you; and you can tag enemies with your binoculars to track them, even when hidden behind cover.
On harder difficulties, the game slowly starts to make the bullet physics more realistic, and removes the various assists. On normal, you'll have account for how your shots will "drop", as the bullets lose velocity over longer distances. Luckily, in game, you can get an idea of exactly where it's going to land by pressing a button to "empty your lung", which makes your scope that much steadier, and brings up a marker showing where your bullet will hit. On harder difficulties, you'll have to take into account the wind speed, and also make do with much less in the way of visual prompts - enemies can't be tagged, there's no mini-map, and on the hardest difficulty, you'll have to make do with a much reduced zoom, too.
In terms of mature content, Sniper Elite 4 contains very strong, bloody violence and gore from the offset - although you do have the option to disable the worst of it.
As a game about sniping, gore is a frequent fixture in Sniper Elite 4, with the game by default showing you slow motion, "x-ray" replays of your best shots. Triggered automatically, these cameras show you the path your bullet takes towards your enemy, and let you watch the bullet go into, and through your foe, with a focus on the organs your bullet connects with. Hitting a critical organ (eye, brain, heart, lung, liver, intestine, testicle) will earn you bonus points, and will be more likely to trigger a slow-mo replay of your shot.
Before you even begin playing the game, though, you'll be given the option of turning these replays on or off. If you turn off x-rays, the game will still give you an instant replay of your best shots, but it'll disable the x-ray style view of internal organs - all you'll see is a little bit of blood as the bullet hits. You can also disable these instant replay cameras altogether, which drastically minimises the gore you'll experience in the game - when sniping soldiers from afar, only a slight puff of blood can sometimes be seen, meaning all you'll really see is the odd smear of blood on walls in game, where a group of enemies have been killed.
X-ray replays on:
X-ray replays off:
Beyond the violence and gore, though, there's little else in the way of mature content in Sniper Elite 4, with no sexual content to note, and only mild bad language like "son of a b*tch", "hell" and "dammit".
Format Reviewed: Playstation 4