Sniper Elite 4 (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Sandy Kirchner-Wilson 16.11.2020

Review for Sniper Elite 4 on Nintendo Switch

Developer Rebellion has been slowly bringing the Sniper Elite series to the Nintendo Switch. Forgoing the norm, they are porting the games themselves without using a separate porting company. Sniper Elite 4 originally launched for PC, PS4 and Xbox One in 2017, now after 3 years this new port comes along. The third game's port was fantastic, hopefully this new entry follows suit.

Set in 1943, right after the events of the third game, this fourth Sniper Elite title follows protagonist Karl Fairburne as he shoots his way across San Celini Island just off the coast of Italy. He is sent there to investigate and remove a new threat to the allied forces: a new German designed remote control missile recently used to sink the Royal Navy freighter the Orchidea. The first target is General Tobias Schmidt who recorded the incident to use as propaganda. It is a very convincing opener to the story that sees Karl travel around other towns and areas of Italy assassinating like a cold and calculated killer the entire time. It's thrilling and the writing is surprisingly engrossing despite just being there with a goal of framing the gameplay and spurning players through the campaign. The game's multiplayer and challenges are also here, uncompromised.

New to this game is the map design. It's seen huge leaps in scale and verticality with Karl now being able to climb. This open map design is amazing to play through and opens up a world of opportunities while also allowing the developers to have a critical path to a target for those who want a faster game experience. The maps feel natural with cave networks, beaches with sheer cliffs,and little outbuildings in farmland. It's really impressive how this all creates a much more enjoyable level compared with the previous title. Environments also have a world of colour with vibrant foliage and a nice mix of materials on buildings. It even has amazing structures built into caves and tunnels. This more varied terrain also opens up new opportunities for enemy placement and extremely long shots.

Screenshot for Sniper Elite 4 on Nintendo Switch

The combat and movement feel very similar to the previous entry in the series. This is not a bad thing either, as the sniping has remained an incredibly fun and cathartic experience; finding a nice secluded high point in the new maps, scoping out the enemy positions with the binoculars, then going prone and slowly aiming, waiting for that moment where the gunshot's sound will be masked before pulling the trigger. Finally, after all the effort and meticulous planning there is a burst of satisfaction as the game shows the shot unfolding through a slow motion xray cam. The bullet is depicted smashing through bone and organs before blowing the enemy's hat off in a gloriously overly violent representation of being sniped. Obviously, for fear of sounding like a complete psychopath, this is a horrendously violent game and it is possible to turn these cameras off if they are considered to be immersion breaking or simply a step too far. For those who like them, however, it's a powerful feeling to get such a big payoff for all the planning and prep that goes into taking out enemies. It's the main unique draw of the series and looks like it is here to stay moving forward.

Screenshot for Sniper Elite 4 on Nintendo Switch

Scenario design seems to be much more free flowing in this entry as well, with each map sporting several optional targets and demonstrably larger numbers of enemy patrol groups. The AI was overhauled and on harder difficulties feels suitably smart. In many ways this is the game Metal Gear Solid V: Phantom Pain should have been. Sneaking has a whole new meaning with the new hiding in foliage, better definitions of when Karl is in shadow, among other cool tweaks; it feels fantastic. The verticality adds a lot to the stealth, forcing players to think about enemies patrolling from all directions including above and below. In the previous game there was an issue with limited enemy dialogue which could make them feel quite robotic. Here the enemies have a much larger variety of reactions, dialogue and personalities alleviating that problem entirely. It's now entertaining to watch the disarray spread through an enemy legion once they realise their general has just been taken out.

Screenshot for Sniper Elite 4 on Nintendo Switch

Graphically, this title reached a visual parity with its prequel. Some things are blurry or blocky but the things that count, like the characters, interactive objects and the xray cam, all receive a suitable bump in clarity compared with those background objects. The thing that stood out most was the foliage that adorns walls and cliffs. This can appear quite flat and it might have looked better had that plant life just been removed entirely but that is really nitpicking. The map designs obviously require a large distance to be rendered. Something that was worrying considering how close to choking the third game was with its smaller levels and lower fidelity. However, Rebellion managed to pull off an insane level of detail at long distances in this title. It looks fantastic and there is rarely an issue sniping someone from incredibly far away. Just enough detail to tag a head popping up with a wee bullet. This is all backed up by sumptuous lighting that makes the levels pop. The visuals in conjunction with some amazing sound design paint a very pretty picture for a portable game. Impressively, the sound is also amazingly sharp. Naturally, the Nintendo Switch's built in speakers are a bit tinny, lacking deep bass, but the positioning of sounds, the leveling and clarity are above average for a Nintendo Switch port and easily beat the previous title in terms of quality.

Screenshot for Sniper Elite 4 on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

9/10
Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

Going in it seemed like this was just going to be Sniper Elite 3 again but Sniper Elite 4 blows that game out of the water. It's such a complete package and one that feels so at home in portable mode that the absolute quality shining off this port easily puts it at the top of the war games available on the platform. Further highlighting developer Rebellion's fantastic work on the Nintendo Switch platform. Opening up the series to a completely new group of gamers who will hopefully love the brutal sniping action they have so sumptuously crafted. Don't sleep on this game.

Developer

Rebellion

Publisher

Rebellion

Genre

Action

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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