There’s a slight breeze in the air, the sun is high in the sky, my heart is beating steadily, holding my breathe as I adjust my trigger finger. Waiting. Patiently. My target continues his patrol pattern but isn’t quite in my cross hairs yet. Just a few more paces. BOOM! CRACK! The camera pans outward from the barrel of my rifle, following the trajectory of the bullet I’ve just fired, soaring across a ravine and past the guard posts towards the viaduct guarded by an enemy sniper.
Just as my bullet makes contact with the soldiers’ head, he fades to a black sillhouette/X-Ray mode where the devastation of a high calibre round takes it toll on the soft tissue and bone of our poor enemy combatant. It’s horrific, the crunching and squelching coupled with the animation and physics at play. Gloriously horrifying. I couldn’t stop laughing. In fact with every headshot I made followed an evil chuckle to myself that clearly began to make the developer watching over me quite nervous.
Sniper Elite 4 is the next entry from Rebellion Games in a franchise that is steadily growing not just in popularity but in ambition and swagger. Rebellion are showing confidence in their execution by giving fans the playground of destruction they have been clamouring for.
“…the fuel can combined with those harmless tools were quickly transformed in to the shrapnel bomb from hell!”
In Sniper Elite 4 each level is massive, and I do mean MASSIVE. Far larger than any previous Sniper game before it and packed with opportunities to dispatch your targets in as many creative ways as possible. Fancy crawling your way through the underbrush completely unseen, with the only casualty being your assigned target? You can do that. Or if you want to take out a bridge with C4 explosives causing the most elaborate distraction to clear out a garrison, leaving your target with minimal protection, you can do that too. Why not save a bullet too? Sneak in using cover in the environment and knife poor gerry right in the lung to prevent him screaming for help. Such is the flexibility in approach that you can have some real fun with the missions, which have clearly been constructed with replayability and a sadistic mind.
“…a franchise that is steadily growing not just in popularity but in ambition and swagger.”
One of my favourite kills was a fuel can sitting next to some maintenance tools surrounded by 3 guards having a blether. The temptation was too good to pass up so under the noise cover provided by the intermittent cannon fire from a nearby AA gun, I could fire a shot without being heard. So I did. The result was the most glorious of explosions as the fuel can combined with those harmless tools were quickly transformed in to the shrapnel bomb from hell! And of course with any well executed kill, we are awarded a slow motion almost balletic view of the carnage unfolding.
Clearly I didn’t spend my 20 minutes of play time concentrating on the mission objectives, but that is perfectly fine because what I got to do in the Sniper Elite 4 demo meant this game has went from my not being interested in it to pre-ordered and cant wait to play more.
Rebellion have ramped up everything, the X-Ray kill cams, the ability to improvise, the smarter AI, the huge and varied environments and the new addition of co-op play. It’s in this latter feature that makes Sniper Elite 4 essential for me. Just imagine you and a buddy taking on a mission to knockout a battery of fortified artillery or a main supply route bridge. Heck thats the closest we’ve ever been to getting a game version of The Guns of Navarone or A Bridge Too Far so get your best Sean Connery and Gregory Peck impressions ready come February 14th.
You can follow progress on the gam on Twitter @SniperElite @Rebellion
For more on Sniper Elite 4 check out the website here