The rifle is every soldier’s best friend, their companion. Their savior, And their protector. Every soldier, sailor, marine, airmen, and Coast Guardsmen will recite the Rifleman’s creed word for word, both during and long after their service. For the sniper, that relationship between weapon and soldier stands stronger. For a sniper and rifle, it is akin to a valiant archer and his bow. For the ability to strike targets at incredibly long distance, there is a steep learning curve to attain such a deadly skill. Temperature, the wind, the terrain, gravity, are all calculations a sniper must take into consideration.
Every piece of rifle must be inspected and well-maintained from the scope to the trigger to the barrel. Breathing must be in tempo and heartbeat must be relaxed. Every slight movement and adjustment can make the difference between a fatal shot or a mere flesh wound. To be the very best takes patience, precision, and discipline. For those that make it, they have the ability to strike targets from a mile away. They have the ability to know the enemy before the first encounter. They have the ability to make an enormous difference one shot at a time. Perhaps, with that one fateful shot, they can change the course of history itself, a power reserved to the sniper elite. For video game sniper Karl Fairburne, and ambitious players, the battle, reserved only for the elite, is set to begin once more in Sniper Elite IV, the fourth installment of the classic and revered sniper action franchise.
Sniper Elite IV puts players into the shoes of veteran sniper Karl Fairburne, distinguished for his actions in North Africa, during the events of Sniper Elite III. The year is 1943, and the allies are poised to take back Europe. In a secret meeting between President Franklin D Roosevelt and Prime Minster Winston Churchill, the best course to take down Nazi Germany is decided. It is determined that the best way to begin the reclamation of Europe, the allies must push through Italy, and soften the “underbelly” of Germany.
This will put the allies in a tremendous strike position as well as assist Russian and their Red Army. As a veteran Sniper, Karl is sent to Italy ahead of the main forces. Working with America’s Office of Strategic Services (OSS) and Britain’s Special Operations Executive (SOE), Karl will eliminate High-Value Targets, disrupt supply routes, rescue important personnel, and destroy Germany’s top-secret, deadly weapons.
The game promises to be much larger and wider than Sniper Elite III, which put players in the battlegrounds of North Africa and introduced a variety of unique combat scenarios as players eliminated targets in the desert. As players are fighting in Italy, expect higher elevations and unique urban warfare in this new experience. Additionally, players will also assist the local resistance, and have to battle both disease and fascist rule. Players will be tasked with a large variety of missions, and many of the great hallmarks of the series will come back, refined and ready for a new generation.
The Sniper Elite franchise began in 2005, towards the tail-end of the PlayStation 2’s glory days. The game introduced sniper simulator mechanics and was soon revered as a cult-classic. Over seven years, with the changing of the video game landscape, World War II shooters were retired, giving way to more modern military shooters, such as Call of Duty and Battlefield. With WWII shooters no longer present in the gaming landscape, the time was right for Sniper Elite to emerge from retirement. In 2012, 505 Games released Sniper Elite V2, a spiritual successor to the original.
Sniper Elite V2 put players into war-torn Berlin, as WWII was coming to an end in 1945. While the final shots of WWII were being fired, the first shots of the Cold War were just being loaded, with Karl at the trigger. As Germany collapsed, American and Russian officials sought to secure German scientists and rocket technology, as well as to put a permanent end to any loose ends coming from the capitulation of the Nazi army. Players were put through a series of dangerous missions in urban warfare and sniping to secure valuable data for the United States, as well as to permanently end the German War Machine.
Players had to factor in wind, gravity, elevation, and placement of their rounds. Each rifle was different from the other, and players had to plant traps to successfully defeat pursuing soldiers, should their position be compromised. Players would take on both Nazis, as well as Russian soldiers, which also included heavy weaponry and armored tanks. Even though Sniper Elite V2 is a sniping simulator, the difficulties made the game accessible to players of all skill levels. Easier difficulties would just use a marker to pinpoint where the bullet would land. Still, the game encouraged stealth tactics to succeed and survive.
Sniper Elite V2 was known for the aforementioned elements, but it became infamous for the satisfaction of every well-placed shot. Sniper Elite V2 introduced the X-Ray camera, which gave players an x-ray look into the damage their bullets did to the enemy. With every well-placed shot, a cinematic slow-motion camera is shown, and as the bullet approaches the target, we see the demise of the enemy in the form of an x-ray. In every excruciating detail, we see the bullet penetrate and shred the target, which includes bones, organs, and muscles. Furthermore, bullets could be used to incredible detail, such as shooting gas tanks or the pins of grenades being held at the waste of a Nazi soldier. Players could use loud sounds to mask their shots as well.
Sniper Elite V2 was an action-packed, incredibly rewarding, and successful game. It’s success lead to the creation of Sniper Elite III in 2014, which took players to events set before V2 in the sands of North Africa. The game introduced wider, more open battlegrounds, multiple ways to dispatch enemies, and newer mechanics. Of course, the infamous X-ray camera returned, which received a significant update. In fact, the mechanics were so well detailed; it was possible to shoot a Nazi in the genitalia. Sniper Elite III was also very well received. A Spinoff, Sniper Elite Zombies, was also released as well.
With the release of Sniper Elite IV around the corner, the franchise is poised to continue the legacy of incredible, tough-as-nails, sniper gameplay, where patience and smarts yield to deadly satisfying results. Sniper Elite IV will put the raw perspectives of WWII into the front, with the deadly patience of sniper marksmanship. Veterans players of the franchise have much to be excited about, and the wait is almost over.
Sniper Elite IV is slated for release on February 14, 2016, on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Steam platforms.