WORLD WAR II RATING: 4/5
THE BASICS: Sniper Elite IV is a first-person shooter that puts players in the role of fictional OSS operative Karl Fairburne, a highly trained sniper sent on mission during the Italian campaign in World War II. Fairburne will combat Germans and interact with locals in order to accomplish a variety of tasks.
THE OBJECTIVE: The main objective is to prevent the Germans from deploying a new wunderwaffe. To do this Fairburne will need to snipe enemy soldiers, as well as complete additional tasks, like setting explosives at German bases, destroying propaganda cameras, and assassinating generals. This will require a combination of stealth, cunning, and, of course, marksmanship.
HISTORICAL ACCURACY: Sniper Elite IV does not authentically recreate any actual sniper operations in the war. The missions and their locales are entirely fictional; also the German’s secret weapon is a radio-controlled missile, which did exist, but which the Germans developed and deployed without Allied interference. That said, some aspects of the game are historically accurate, including weapons, uniforms, and equipment.
THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY: Sniper Elite IV falls short as an authentic sniping experience, but is still fun. Perhaps the only real criticism is the game’s enemy AI; German soldiers are not skilled in their tactics nor accurate with their fire. Also, gunfire and explosions at one place do not alert enemies in the next area. However, the ability to use tricks during missions makes the game entertaining. Players can use explosives to set traps, throw rocks to distract enemies, use ambient noise to cover gunshots, and shoot nearby objects, such as fuel drums, to get kills.
PLAYABILITY: As a sniping game, much of the mechanics involves choosing the right weapon, a target, a position to shoot from, accounting for wind and distance, and even controlling Fairburne’s breathing to enhance shooting accuracy. Different difficulty settings create some variation in the game.
THE BOTTOM LINE: Stripped down, Sniper Elite IV is for those who enjoy shooting games. But as a simulation, the game does not recreate reality in terms of what snipers did during actual World War II battles.
—Chris Ketcherside, a former Marine, is working on a PhD in military history.
This review was originally published in the October 2017 issue of World War II magazine. Subscribe here.