Sniper Elite 4 is a third-person tactical shooter stealth game set in Italy in 1943 against the Nazi regime. The game focuses on shooting with sniper rifles in large sandbox levels, with an X-Ray kill cam that follows each bullet in slow-motion as it breaks through enemy skulls or internal organs.
Pro Satisfying slow-motion X-Ray kill shots
While killing enemies, the camera will slow down as the bullet crosses the map, outlining the target's skeleton and internal organs in an X-Ray view to show you exactly how the shot goes through them. Lining up the perfect sniper shot and watching as the bullet crosses the map and crushes through the enemy's skeleton and flesh is a visceral experience. The movement of the camera as it zooms in and captures the spattering blood and cracking bones is the most unique part of the gameplay. Getting to see that level of detail reinforces the importance of every shot, making each bullet more valuable.
Pro Freedom to tackle levels however you want
Sniper Elite 4 puts you in large, open sandbox levels with the freedom to achieve your objective in any way you want. If you're tasked with dispatching enemy units on the map, you can choose to take out the commander first to confuse everyone and lower their morale, or you can take everyone out one by one as you locate them. You can shoot at explosive barrels to eliminate a group of enemies all at once, aim for the engine of a vehicle for an ever bigger explosion, or go in guns blazing without stealth or sniper rifles.
Pro Stealth gameplay that rewards patience
Taking your time to sneak up to a vantage point and line up your sniper scope with the enemy's head pays off in Sniper Elite 4. Avoiding detection and sticking to high points will be your best bet for stealth gameplay, with options to climb up buildings or sneak through shrubbery or behind walls to get to where you need to be. If you're spotted, you can pull out a handgun and dispatch enemies that way, but it's not as efficient as sniping enemies from a safe distance and remaining undetected.
Pro Higher difficulties offer nuanced challenges
There are four difficulty levels: Cadet, Marksman, Sniper Elite, and Authentic, with the real challenges and unique changes starting at Sniper Elite. At this setting, there's no aim assist, and shots that are longer than 300 meters are much harder to pull off due to realistic ballistics in each sniper rifle. The Authentic difficulty ramps things up even more, with no aim assist and no UI elements on the interface.
Con Inconsistent AI competence
Sometimes the enemy AI is smart, calling in backup to surround you once you're spotted, or making clever sweeps throughout your last known location to find you. But other times, the enemy will stare right at you from only a few feet away, or remain knelt behind cover without noticing you dispatching other units right next to them.
Con Not much stat variety with guns
Your starter gear will likely stay with you throughout the entire game, as new guns you receive don't have too many boosts in power or precision. At most, you may choose another gun because of the way it looks, such as a camoflauge skin or an all-black rifle instead.
Con Standard World War II story
Sniper Elite 4 doesn't do much with its story beyond telling you where to go in order to kill more Nazis. The plot doesn't try to make any commentary on the necessity of war, and it doesn't do enough with groups like the Italian Resistance or the mafia. You won't find anything new or groundbreaking here with the writing or narrative.