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Old 02-04-2018, 07:32 AM   #1
Platapus
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Icon14 Sniper Elite 4.... in a nutshell :)

There are generally two types of computer games that I am attracted to – sniping games and games where I can snipe. I think that is why I like Sub Sims as I believe at the basic level, submarine games are just a sniping game – sneak, maneuver, wait, plan, shoot. What is there not to love about that?


Recently, I decided to stick a crowbar in my wallet and buy Sniper Elite 4. I had played an earlier version of Sniper Elite, but not the previous one.


BLUF: I like this game a lot. I have already gotten my money’s worth and that’s saying a lot from a cheapskate like me.


I guess this game can be described as “open map”. It is not an open world as each mission is contained in an individual map. But it is not as linear as some sniping games. This really allows the player to literally approach the problem from different angles. Few things make me ireful thank a sniping game that constrains me concerning where I can go. This freedom, however, comes with consequences. Blazing your own path may (probably will) require a lot of backtracking to complete the objectives. On the very first mission I needed to backtrack a lot due to terrain issues.


Each mission has three types of objectives. There are the primary mission objectives. These can number about 3-4 and may be objective chains. There are then secondary objectives which are optional but this only means that you gotta do them, especially for players with CDO like I do. Finally, there are unmarked “collectables” Some of these are important, most of them are not, but all of them add depth to the game.


A good selection of these collectibles are in the form of letters. These letters are either from the person you just blew the head off, or addressed to the person you just blew the head off. They tend to make your “target” seem a little more human.. which in real life they were. It does, sometimes, gives the player pause to read a letter from a young man who does not want to fight this war but is looking forward to marrying his childhood sweetheart the following week…..well would have married her if you did not recently blow his head off that is. It is a nice touch. Sniping games are pretty brutal when you think about them. Evidently if you collect a certain amount of these collectibles you get some sort of achievement that means nothing. However, some collectibles give you information very important for the game so you are encouraged to “collect them all”. What is not explained in the game is that if you want to read a collectible that you have already collected, you have to hit the escape key and then go to your service record and find the letter and there you can read it. Once you have done that you can return to the game. A bit awkward but not a problem once you know about it.


Save your game before completing the final step in the primary objective! Another tip is to complete all the secondary missions and do your search for the collectibles before completing the primary objective. There is one mission where as soon as you complete the primary objective, the mission ends and you are taken to the cut scene. That has only happened once so far and I think it is poor programming. So far all the other missions require the player to move to an extraction position before the mission ends. This allows the player to clean up the other stuff before ending the mission.


Stealth plays an important part in any sniping game and this is no different. The stealth mechanics are rather simple. It is a third person viewpoint so that can help with situation awareness. Sound is modeled rather well. There are missions where you can use background sound to cover up the sounds of your shots. A good tip is to look for isolated sources of light. These will often have generators nearby. Walking up and kicking a generator will throw it out of balance and it will create a nice noise background. You can also sabotage a generator so that it will make a different noise and when a troop comes up to fix it, the generator blows up killing that person. This is a waste in my opinion as I have seldom seen more than two people respond to a noisy generator. You can generally kill more people using the generator as a noise source.


Speaking of which, plan on killing practically everyone in the game. This game does not have any missions where you can sneak into the facility, using either stealth or deception, and assassinate one person and then sneak out. You generally end up killing everyone on your way in, and then either killing or avoiding the stragglers on your way out.


Weapons


You can carry four weapons: Sniper rifle, Submachine gun, pistol, knife. With the exception of the knife, you have choices that you can either unlock or purchase using rewards you get for completing missions. There is a wide selection of sniper rifles, but initially are you issued a Springfield 1903, and so far, being about halfway through the game, I see no reason to change rifles. Supposedly, there is one rifle that has a slightly higher muzzle velocity which can help with windage using manual targeting, but I have not see the numbers that would make it that different. I think it is a personal choice. The game designers made a mistake in my opinion by making all rifle ammunition interchangeable. This removes the excitement of running out of ammunition and needing to switch to weapons your target may have dropped. So this is why I can be sent on a mission with only 15 Springfield rounds and be able to kill close to a hundred dudes. I really think they dropped the ball on this.


As you use your weapon (other than the knife) you can earn upgrade points. Shoot from long distances enough and you can get a scope upgrade. Complete three upgrades on a specific weapon and you unlock the Mastery upgrade which requires you to do more things. It seems that the reward for mastery is having a gold skin for your weapon. Really? I guess this is for the COD player base. Fortunately, the other three lower upgrades are actually useful. One of the hardest upgrades is the one that requires 50 kills using the sniper rifle in shoulder mode. That means not using the scope. The only reason you would not use the scope is if you are surprised by an enemy close up...or you need that upgrade to move to mastery. The problem is that it appears that the damage model changes if you use the scope or not. Based on my unscientific observations, if I shoot an enemy in the torso, using the scope, the target dies after 1-2 shots. Not using the scope it can take 3-4 shots. That’s not right. It is still the same bullet hitting the torso. This kinda bugs me as it means that this shoulder firing upgrade, which affects scope stability (go figure?) is very hard to do.


The game handles silenced weapons in an interesting way. It would be unrealistic and overpowered if the player could have a suppressor on their sniper rifle all the time. The way the game handles this is to have special “silenced ammo”, that when loaded into the sniper rifle magically causes a suppressor to appear at the end of the barrel. Riiiight. But, in the end it works out logically – you only have a limited number of “silenced” sniper shots. This is why using background noise is so handy. You can either find silenced rifle ammo (rare) or you can purchase it at your loadout screen. Your default pistol is the Welrod, which is a bolt action silenced pistol. Its only advantage is that it is always silenced. Its disadvantage is that it always sucks. Which is pretty realistic. If you can get a clean headshot (no helmet) is is possible to drop a target that is no more than 10 meters away. But there is a good chance you won’t drop them. If there is open terrain, you are better off rushing them and killing them with your knife. You can upgrade/find other pistols and you can find silenced ammunition which acts just like silenced rifle ammo. This has been a major disappointment for me as one of my favourite video game activities is sneaking up and shooting guys in the back of the head with a silenced pistole (yeah Fall out 4!) So far the most use I have gotten out of the Welrod is taking out lights.
In this game, it does not take long for the feces to hit the air circulation apparatus. I find that I use my secondary weapon, the submachine gun, a lot more often that I would like to in a sniping game. Fortunately, all submachine guns in this world use the same ammunition (facepalm) so there is no chance of running out of ammo. So far in this game, I have never ran out of ammo, although I have some close! Initially you are issued the Thompson Submachine gun, which is modeled a bit too optimistic in this game. Not a single jam! But it generally does its job. Like with the rifle and the pistol, there are three upgrades that are useful leading to a harder mastery accomplishment that is worthless.


This being a sniping game, it should be all about the ballistics and for the most part it is. Like subsims, you can either do manual targeting or assisted targeting. There are advantages and disadvantages to both.


In assisted targeting, which is on the first two difficulty levels, wind is eliminated from the game, and an aiming reticle, in the form of a diamond appears in your scope, put the diamond on the juicy parts of the ship… uh, I mean on the Nazi and pull the trigger.


In manual targeting, you have two choices. Either eyeball the offsets, or you can zero in your scope. You can zero in your scope in 100meter increments. This works great if your target is 200 meters away and less great if your target is 165 meters away. But it tends to work pretty well. You tend to not go for a lot of head shots but for a more realistic chest shot. There is a wind indicator but it gives you a general indication of the wind. Compensating is more about experience and judgment. Pretty realistic. Fortunately, the games gives you a chance to practice on some firing ranges. Not particularly fun, but necessary.


All in all, manual targeting in this game is easier than manually targeting in a Subsim. The primary problem is that it takes time. Well this is realistic as sniping is not a rush job. The problem is that after your first 3-4 shots, you will have enemies shooting back at you and running around. I have found that this makes the manual targeting a lot harder. Realistic. One tip is that there are no time limits so one viable but boring strategy is to find a place to hide (relocating is a good idea) and wait until everyone calms down. Like a lot of video games, the enemy is pretty stupid and will quickly forget that just a few minutes ago there is a sniper, but since it has been quite for 10 minutes, the sniper must have gone away. Most unrealistic. But then real snipers may wait 3-4 hours between shots, you can’t do that in a video game. While the AI is stupid when it comes to memory, don’t be lulled in to any false sense of security when it comes to AI response. Even on the easier difficulty levels the AI is pretty smart about finding you and killing you. There is no personal armour in this game. If you are found, you stand a good chance of being killed. This is not a COD type of guns a blazing game.


My ego requires me to only play using manual targeting, but I can see that the game would be challenging enough using assisted targeting. I plan on doing my first play though with assisted targeting and my next play through using manual targeting.


You can’t have a discussion on Sniper Elite 4 without mentioning the gratuitous disgusting detail in the X-ray kill animation. When turned on, when you snipe someone you have a kill cam animation showing the bullet tearing through organs and bone. On one hand it is gratuitous but on the other hand it does show the player what happens when people get shot. It is pretty nasty. Perhaps just like the letter, this graphic animation tends to humanize your target instead of just falling down quietly. In any case, you can turn off the x-ray camera.


I guess we have to talk about nut shots. While the designers skipped a lot of technical details about sniping, they spent a lot of time on modeling testicles. Yes, you can shoot Nazis in the nuts. The X-ray camera will show you a lot of detail of what happens when someone’s testicles are shot with a high power rifle. I guess this was put in place to entice the 12 year old COD players. You even get a small experience boost for every testicle shot. Fortunately, it appears that a testicle shot is an instant kill. Oh well.


One of the things I found overpowered was the binocular tagging system. Using your binoculars is important in this game as when ever you see a target (human or equipment) you can tag it. All tagged targets stay visible even if they move behind something. I guess this is to reflect your highly honed situation awareness but it is a bit overpowered. The problem is that if you want to use manual targeting, you need the range information from this binocular tagging.


One of the issues with this tagging is that when a target is obscured, it gets grayed out. However, this graying is the same if the target is obscured by folliage (and can be shot) or behind a wall (and can’t be shot). Often trying to understand why this target is gray was difficult to understand.


Once you kill a tagged target, the tag goes away. Tip: you can tag dead bodies. This is especially helpful when you kill officers as you really want to search all officers. Few things are more frustrating when when you snipe an officer from distance and when you get there, you can’t find the body that contains something you need. Get in to the habit of tagging dead officers. You can tag all dead bodies too as it is important to search every dead body to find ammo and collectibles.


All in all, I am happy with this game. It is a good sniper game. I paid full price for it and I was happy. That’s saying a lot as I am very cheap when it comes to buying video games.


The graphics were really nice. I actually caught myself pausing to admire the serene scenery… after I finished blowing the brains out of the Nazis of course. It is not a perfect sniping game nor is it the perfect stealth game. But so far it is a fun, enjoyable, and challenging game, and that’s all I ask for.
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Last edited by Platapus; 02-04-2018 at 09:46 AM.
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Old 02-26-2018, 06:03 PM   #2
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I am a big fan of the game - but I feel as if it gets a little repetitive. I think that boils down to the scenery, for me. I understand that the game has a theme, but it would be nice to have a little bit of variation here and there.

Or, perhaps even an alternate campaign. Such as how SH4 has the American campaign, and German U-Boat missions.

I also wish there were some added details here and there - like realistic gore, perhaps. Sounds morbid, but I believe that it can add a lot in terms of realism.

Overall - very good game. I got bored with the scenery and haven't return to finish off the campaign yet, but I'm sure I will at some point.
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Old 03-15-2018, 04:27 AM   #3
Eichhörnchen
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I've played other games where there's an extraction point that takes you on to the next mission. A great idea, since it does allow you to tidy up any loose ends, and it also lets you re-stock/change your equipment and ammo for both you and your squad, if you have one. This applies especially in those games where you find yourself starting mission 'B' carrying exactly what you had when you finished mission 'A', so you can now hunt around for a bazooka or a sniper rifle if you know you're likely to need these later.

I also favour the 'sandbox' game, which allows for any number of solutions to reach your objective... especially where you get the chance to equip with different ordnance and 'have another go'. This means that some games never lose their play value because each time it's different. Both Hidden & Dangerous and Death To Spies are like this, and I do return to these two over and over as my 'desert island' games.
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Old 03-16-2018, 02:53 PM   #4
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I could never get far in Death to Spies. That was one tough and unforgiving game.
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Old 03-22-2018, 06:06 PM   #5
Eichhörnchen
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It is very tough indeed; the feeling of being watched all the time can be almost unbearable. I seem to remember the only way I could get through it sometimes was by constantly saving and reloading

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Old 03-23-2018, 05:40 AM   #6
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Nice summary, now I want that game Looking forward to the weekend.
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Old 03-23-2018, 01:53 PM   #7
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radar till the winsucker speaks!

^ I hardly think u need the practice after your porcine-sounder-porkchop outing-a fair fight imho 'cause if you 'keel over' out there....the feral pigs will certainly nibble you!
Quote:
Originally Posted by OnkelNeal
After several hours of looking, found a medium sounder,
messing around a waterhole. In the first pic, you can see the first one I spotted about 140 yds off. I made my way in her direction, keeping those trees between us. But, after making up half the distance,
I walked up on two young boars about 35 feet away. One was merrily chowing down on some acorns,
the other was standing there looking at me, trying to decide whether to charge or run. Then the Windsucker spoke.
Could give ol Eich, acorn buff, the willy's!
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