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Preview: Sniper Elite 4 Improves as it Jumps to New Gen Platforms

by Raymond Garcia

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Sniper Elite 4 is coming to Ps4, XB1, and PC on February 14th 2017 with PS4 PRO compatibility features a possibility soon after that. After the success of the franchise as a whole, coupled with great game mechanics and a hard-working development team —  the next title is poised to be a fun winner. Rebellion recently invited us out too San Francisco to test out Sniper Elite 4 and see just what we thought ourselves of the game franchise that has sold over 10-million units. Having been in development for a couple of years now we were given the chance to try out a single player campaign level as well as two different multiplayer modes, although it must be noted everything we played and saw was pre-release footage and could change between now and the game’s release.

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You hear a whistling in the distance as you stand on the shore of a nice looking but nondescript beach. It draws your attention to a nearby person on a small wall. Climbing up to greet said person introduces us to one of Sniper Elite 4’s returning game play elements in single player, the X-ray kill. With the push of a button returning protagonist Karl Fairbourne can silently dispatch of his victim tossing their body aside.

The trademark X-Ray Kill returns with slight changes in Sniper Elite 4

But the X-ray kill is not limited to stealth kills, anytime a fatal blow is delivered there is a possibility the X-ray cam will kick in it showcasing whatever gruesome shot that has been managed. These kills can be turned both off and up allowing for a sliding scale to the level of brutality one must witness per kill.

The single player level we were allowed to preview was a large sandbox with multiple objectives, paths, and an enormous scale. The scope of said level made long shots like never before possible. Sniping is definitely the soup du juor despite having plenty of weapons at your disposal in case you do get yourself in a tight spot. Making use of your environment seemed to be a much larger focus this time around with the ability to take out multiple enemies, cause distractions, and fill level objectives while making use of things you would find around you.  Hidden in a sniper nest it was almost impossible not to shoot any red barrels or enemies one might see.

The “marking” system returns making use of binoculars to point on things of interest.  Although shooting from cover does run the risk of being triangulated, by which the enemy A.I. may gain a fix on your location and begin to hunt for you. A definite improvement over Sniper Elite 3 even in this preview build, the A.I. enemies in Sniper Elite 4 are brutal, seeking you out in groups as well as checking your last known previous location. This level we experienced seemed much more of one large area than previous titles, which employed more of a “connect the dots with corridors” kind of feel to it.  Sniper Elite 4 single player can be enjoyed with a friend with addition of coop. Rebellion was unable to comment on the exact number of levels that will make it into the finished game. Overall the single player experience was similar to 3 with minor changes made to the interface and difficulty through a smarter AI.

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Head of creative for Rebellion – Tim Jones when asked stated that not developing on the PS3/360 architecture has definitely helped Rebellion realize their goal of a “snipers paradise” with more open game play allowing them to take the gloves off to a certain extent. All of this single player content ran relatively smoothly. The controls felt spot on for a third person game.

Not developing for PS3/360 has definitely improved the quality for Sniper Elite 4

In addition to one single player level we were allowed to try the multiplayer portion of Sniper Elite 4 starting with a mode called “Control”. In a sort of king of the hill like match two teams take on each other in order to gain control over certain changing points on the map forcing opponents near each other.  The other mode we were allowed to try is called “Survival” and it charges you with killing wave after wave of enemies who progressively get harder as the waves go on. Survival mode can be finished with an ending happening once you reach and finish round 12, certainly a feat considering the difficulty we experienced.  Bringing the Sniper series closer in line to other modern hit online multiplayer shooters Sniper Elite 4 has an upgrade and armory select system that allows you to do things like pick your load out and pick what kinds of skills you think would be best to take into battle. One level up upgrade allows for your character to have a better heart rate allowing for more time with a shot.

Sniper Elite 4 in the form that was shown is a very serviceable game. Being that it’s only a couple of weeks away from launch that was to be expected. Although there were a few weird things to be found while playing such as not being able to interact with a quest object to disable it (a camera) without shooting it. Which we were told these minor issues would be fixed before release.

Overall, the staple sniping and gun play feel excellent in Sniper Elite 4. What was already great bullet mechanics have only been more refined.  If you had a good time sniping in in the previous Sniper Elite games, chances are your going to have continued fun here. While we didn’t get to check out the entirety of Sniper Elite 4, it’s definitely shaping up to be a fun experience for fans and newcomers alike.

Sniper Elite 4 is due out on Februrary 14th, 2017 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

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