A Well-Aimed Shot
HIGH Hitting an enemy sniper halfway across the map.
LOW Up-close combat not involving sniper rifles.
WTF The x-ray testicle shot. Ouch.
Sniper Elite 4 originally came out in 2017, and like many other previously-released efforts, it’s getting a Switch port. I can’t offer any comparison to the original release or the previous entries in the series, but overall this (wait for it…) hits the mark.
Sniper Elite 4 takes place in Italy during World War II. Players control a U.S. sniper making his way across enormous levels, with such locales as rural villages, coastal urban centers, and military bases. Gameplay is mostly third person, with a scope-centric, first-person view when needing to snipe a distant target.
Most missions are rather linear but the vastness of each stage, plus the addition of multiple sidequests, helps to make things feel more open-ended. Goals usually revolve around killing a certain person, but also things like sabotaging military equipment and intel reconnaissance. Add in dozens of stage-specific collectibles like journal entries and letters home, and players can spend hours in just a single map.
A good chunk of that time will be spent as a sniper, which is a good thing as sniping is the highlight of combat here. Precise controls mean successfully lining up a shot that hits a moving target halfway across the map is quite satisfying. I would have been perfectly content spending the entire game in sniper mode – it’s that good.
Players earn experience for well-placed shots, like the eye, heart, or even the testicles! Many of these hits are shown up close and personal with x-ray vision that appears as the bullet zooms towards the unfortunate recipient – bones shattering and organs being punctured are displayed in gory slow motion. This occasionally feels like overkill, but squeamish players can turn this option off if they so choose.
Unfortunately, combat when not sniping isn’t as gratifying. The third-person aiming is clunky and I found myself preferring to hide, rather than taking on soldiers face-to-face. Much of the campaign can be completed solely by sniping enemies from afar, but there are a few parts where close combat becomes a necessity. I was always pleased when these sections were over quickly.
My only other complaint about Sniper Elite 4 is that it’s not a complete package. Three years after initial release, the Switch version arrives with numerous DLC options that require additional purchase – none of which appear to be new content. I’m not completely against DLC, but it feels like players are being nickel-and-dimed here.
Fortunately, the core experience is enjoyable enough to look past these minor shortcomings, and more often than not, Sniper Elite 4 hits the bullseye.
Disclosures: This game is developed by and published by Rebellion. It is currently available on PS4, XBO, Switch, PC, and Stadia. This copy of the game was obtained via publisher and reviewed on the Switch. Approximately 15 hours of play were devoted to the single-player mode, and the game was completed. No time was spent in multiplayer modes.
Parents: According to the ESRB, this game is rated M and contains Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, and Language. A well-placed shot often results in an x-ray vision of splattered brains, ruptured intestines, punctured lungs, and shattered bones. Even with the option to turn off, the game can be overly violent. This game is definitely not for little kids.
Colorblind Modes: There are no colorblind modes available in the options.
Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers: Subtitles are on by default, but text size cannot be changed. The game appears to be fully captioned, as I noticed numerous dialogue additions (laughs, scoffs, etc.) allowing players to know what game characters are doing besides talking. In-game audio cues, like planes and tanks moving nearby, are shown on screen with a flashing icon. The game is fully accessible.
Remappable Controls: No, this game’s controls are not remappable. However, players can invert the Y axis and there are optional motion controls for aiming weapons.
When he does find time to play, Brian’s preferred games of choice are platformers, beat-‘em-ups, or a good adventure game.He still enjoys the retro gaming scene, could talk about the Nintendo 64 more than he might like to admit, and misses playing in actual arcades. Brian also gets to pass on his love of gaming, as his oldest son is just now starting to join the fun.
As for that GameBoy - it’s sitting in Brian’s nightstand, waiting patiently for four AA batteries.